U.S. wild horse transfer concerns ranchers

March 17, 2013 at 8:41 PM

ENNIS, Mont., March 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government has begun transferring hundreds of wild horses to its new holding facility in Montana despite a pending appeal by four neighboring ranchers.

Stephen Wood, whose ranch is adjacent to the government's 15,456-acre Spanish Q Ranch outside Ennis, said he was surprised the Bureau of Land Management went forward with the transfer of geldings before there is a ruling on the appeal filed in December, The (Butte) Montana Standard reported Saturday.

It appears the appeal may not be decided the federal Interior Board of Land Appeal for at least a year, the Standard said.

Since Feb. 27, 500 of 700 horses have been sent to the Spanish Q, which has been designated as a long-term facility for the animals. The rest of them are scheduled to arrive by March 22.

Wood said his chief issues are proper fencing and his fears that wolves may be attracted to the horses and therefore endangering his cattle.

Wood said another concern is the nature of the animals, many of which have been in holding facilities for most of their lives and some of which were born in the facilities.

"There are a lot of unknowns with these horses and a lot of misunderstanding. They are not wild wild horses. They have been in corrals for most of their lives," Wood said.

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