A new very important post in the Straight from the Horse’s Heart blog by R. T. Fitch
BLM Pilot Conduct Ruled “Inhumane” at Triple B Wild Horse Hearing
For Immediate Release: August 31, 2011
Contact: R.T. Fitch, President WHFF, 281-766-7566
Laura Leigh, Vice President WHFF, 800-974-3684
Federal Judge “Deeply Concerned” Over BLM Defense
HOUSTON, (WHFF) – Yesterday, August 30th 2011 in a Reno Nevada Federal Courtroom the Honorable Judge Howard McKibben granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the continuation of documented helicopter pilot conduct at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Triple B wild horse roundup in Eastern Nevada. Citing his authority as a Federal Judge to enjoin an agency’s conduct where their actions have been demonstrated to be “in violation of an Act” Judge McKibben issued the TRO.
“I am deeply concerned,” Judge Mckibben stated to Eric Petersen, BLM’s legal counsel, “that declarations presented to the Court by the Agency do not address the issue, but simply deny wrong doing.”
Judge Mckibben went on to recite the only declaration, of the four presented to the Court, that addressed an instance where video taken by Plaintiff Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education (WHE) and the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) shows a BLM contract pilot coming dangerously close to an exhausted horse apparently making contact with the animal was in direct contrast to what was recorded. He stated that the declaration by Defendant was not what he observed in the video as he could see an exhausted animal and the pilot apparently making contact. He said he did not appreciate the “blame the horse” direction of the Defendant’s statements.
Although McKibben did not rule in Plaintiff’s favor on other cited alleged violations he did verbally address the Defendants. For example in the insufficient water assertion McKIbben did say that if the horses drain the water they should simply be given more.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to bring these issues into the Courtroom,” stated Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno “this is a beginning to addressing this most basic premise of an Act of Congress that still has significant public interest.”
Mckibben also noted that if the BLM brings a helicopter contractor back to Triple B, as stated in Alan Shepherd’s (BLM) declaration, “this Court will be watching.”
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS – TRO Hearing held on 8/30/2011 before Judge Howard D. McKibben. Crtrm Administrator: Dionna Negrete; Pla Counsel: Gordon Cowan; Def Counsel: Erik Petersen by telephone; Court Reporter/FTR #: Kathryn French; Time of Hearing: 1:28 – 2:26 p.m.; Courtroom: 4. At 1:28 p.m., the Court convenes. Counsel are present as indicated. The Court recites the matter on calendar, and further indicates he is familiar with the pleadings, photos, and videos in this matter. Mr. Cowen presents argument in support of Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order . Mr. Petersen responds on behalf of the Government. Mr. Cowen replies. The Court recites it’s findings on the record, IT IS ORDERED that the Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. It is GRANTED as to the use of the helicopter as demonstrated on 8/11/11, that is, striking horses with the skid or flying the skid or part of the helicopter being dangerously or unreasonably close to the horses during the remainder of the first phase of the round up at the Triple B Complex. Motion for injunctive relief is DENIED in all other aspects. This order does not preclude the Defendants from proceeding with the Triple B round up as represented by Defendant’s counsel, that there will be no further use of helicopters for the remainder of the round up scheduled to end 8/31/11. Should the Defendants contemplate the use of helicopters on the Triple B Complex in the future, they will need to address the concerns raised by this Court or be subject to possible additional intervention by this Court in the future. IT IS SO ORDERED. The Court further addresses counsel, indicates that this order shall remain in effect until the end of the round up on 8/31/11, and recites closing comments. At 2:26 p.m., the Court adjourns. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF – DBN)
Click (HERE) for AP story on Hearing
Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with 501c3 status pending. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horses and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.
Links of Interest:
Wild Horse Education ~ http://wildhorseeducation.org
Wild Horse Freedom Federation ~ http://www.wildhorsefreedom.org
Video of horse being hit ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXB0Wq3nRE
Straight from the Horse’s Heart Blog ~ http://rtfitch.wordpress.com
Laura Leigh’s Blog ~ http://artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com/
Equine Welfare Alliance ~ http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org