Arizona is famous for its picturesque beauty and often conjures up images of the wild west and a time that seems so far away. One of the key parts of this image is the wild horses that roam here. There used to be countless horses and now there are only a few surrounding two rivers in Mesa. Forest officials are wanting to remove this horses without a public vote.
Chandler Mundy with the Forest Service explains why the feral animals are not pets and cause a danger to humans. He always says he understands people love them and want them to be treated humanely.
As members of Arizona’s congressional delegation sought to delay or halt the removal of 100 free-roaming horses in the Tonto National Forest, a state lawmaker said Wednesday she had been promised no removals would take place until at least September.
“We are assured that no action will be taken to round up or remove the Salt River horses before the U.S. Congress comes back into session in early September,” state Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said late Wednesday. Townsend said she was given the assurance after meetings with U.S. Forest Service officials.
Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake sent a letter to Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth and Arizona Department of Agriculture Director Mark Killian earlier Wednesday calling for a postponement of the roundups, which had been legally posted to begin Friday.
“A growing number of our constituents have expressed deep reservations about the Forest Service’s intent to gather these horses and transfer them to the Arizona Department of Agriculture,” the senators said in the letter.
MONTINI: Politicians lamely try to hop a ride
The Tonto National Forest said there are no plans to begin removals on Friday and no contractor has been selected to do the work.
Republican Reps. David Schweikert and Matt Salmon and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also requesting a halt in plans to remove the horses.
“Wild horses are an integral part of the history of America’s West, and the latest move by the U.S. Forest Service to impound the herd that roams near Mesa, Arizona, shows a disappointing lack of understanding of the priorities and needs of the local community,” Salmon said in a statement.
Spokeswoman Carrie Templin said the Forest Service has not yet received the letters and will “try to address any concerns” after the service has reviewed the letters.
Simone Netherlands, president of Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, said her team filed a request for an injunction Wednesday afternoon in federal court in a bid to legally halt the round-ups. The matter is expected to be assigned to a judge Thursday morning.
An injunction would force a legal debate on the merits of the Forest Service’s proposed action. The voluntary halt touted by Townsend will allow time to seek a political compromise.
“Now that we know that there is some breathing room — hopefully we can come to good solution in this matter,” Townsend said.
Images of the horses of Salt River
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/1SQePmy