UNAUTHORIZED HORSES TO BE REMOVED FROM THE NATIONAL FOREST
The press release stated there were “approximately 300 horses” that were grazing a portion of the Rodeo/Chediski burned area near Heber. It claimed the horses came from “adjacent lands” and they were unable to locate their owners for the most part. It went on to say “Significant numbers of stray, domestic horses were in the area before the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002” but since the fire there had been more horses. The Forest Service did not consider the horses to be wild and therefore not eligible for adoption. The horses would be sent to auction for sale to the highest bidder.
In an attempt to save the Heber wild horse herd advocates filed a complaint against the Forest Service seeking a preliminary injunction which alleged the USFS had not conducted a census, inventory, or any other kind of survey in order to determine if the horses seen were “wild free-roaming” horses and entitled to protection. The plaintiffs were successful. The court granted an injunction which prevented the defendants from conducting roundups and removals of any horses from the forest.