Roundup of wild horses to begin in Iron County

Posted at 10:07 PM, Apr 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-09 00:07:05-04

CEDAR CITY -- Iron county commissioners are going forward with a plan to round up hundreds of wild horses.

It comes after several meetings with Bureau of Land Management administrators.

Commissioner Dave Miller said they’ve become frustrated with empty promises from the BLM to remove feral horses from open rangeland, and are taking on the task themselves.

“We are committed enough to making sure this happens,” Miller said. “We will step in and start mobilizing this coming week.”

Miller said groups will start on Thursday to bring down the number of wild horses.
It’s a battle the county has been fighting for several years, but came to a head last week when the BLM took action against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

The BLM claims Bundy used open rangeland for cattle grazing illegally and are forcibly removing hundreds of the ranger’s cattle, at a cost of several million dollars.

“They’re appropriating tremendous amounts of money to bring in compliance a rancher who is, by their own estimation has been trespassing or out of compliance with the law,” Miller said.

That doesn’t sit well with commissioners, who have been asking the BLM to do their job and take care of the feral horse populations.

Commissioners estimate they need to round up around 1,700 horses to bring the population down to an acceptable number of about 300. And they say it needs to be done soon.

“The range itself is suffering,” Miller said. “And when the habitat and the entire source of food and quality of the soil is impacted, its toll is taken on everything.”

For now, short term agreements with the BLM will allow the horses to go to holding facilities in Gunnison and Delta, until they can decide what to do with the wild animals.