The following article is from Tri-State Livestock News:
Hundreds of privately owned horses roaming the Crow Indian Reservation east of Billings, MT, are scheduled to be removed according to a Feb. 2, 2011 solicitation notice posted by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The action comes in response to on-going infractions and complaints involving horses owned or managed by James H. Leachman.
Although the plight of the horses caught the public’s attention in late January 2011, neighboring ranchers and law enforcement agencies have been dealing with the situation for months, and in some cases, years. Approximately 700 animals – some suggest the number may be as high as 900 – have been roaming pastures, fields and Conservation Reserve Program acreage, competing for forage with other livestock and wildlife.
A series of news reports brought the condition of the horses into question prompting emergency feeding directed by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and organized by the Billings-based Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE). Initial reports suggested 450 horses owned by Leachman were in danger of death from starvation and dehydration on the property known as the Home Place Ranch.
In a statement released Jan. 28, Leachman laid the blame for the circumstances on the ranch’s new owners for moving the horses without his authorization; confining them in pastures without adequate forage. In a Feb. 7 phone interview, Leachman said there are approximately 150 aged mares in the herd that are thin. But, he maintains, if they had been left to roam, their conditions wouldn’t have been compromised.
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Posted by Haylie Shipp