The National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC) is the largest BLM “preparation” facility in the country. Horses and burros at this facility are rounded up from public lands in Nevada and other nearby states. Nevada contains more than 50% of the country’s wild horses and burros with approximately 83 herd management areas throughout the state.
Although the BLM requires that adopters’ shelter to have a minimum of two sides with a roof, they themselves do not offer ANY shade for the horses and burros in their care.
When our investigators visited the Palomino Valley facility on May 22 and 23 of this year, they observed several horses with overgrown hooves and at least one that appeared to have a tooth abscess.
With a limited staff observing and feeding the horses and burros on a daily basis, we believe it would be quite difficult to monitor so many horses to ensure adequate vet care and early detection of issues.
While at the facility, we spoke directly to Zachary Reichold, Acting Deputy Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. He offered to give us a tour and while he was forthcoming with information, the conversation left us with more questions than answers. These concerns have prompted us to schedule further investigations.
An additional concern at this facility is its mortality rate. According to Beatrice Wade, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, there were 19 reported deaths between January 1 and April 30, 2014. There were 1227 equine (1180 horses, 47 burros) accounted for during the same period.
Understanding that the BLM doesn’t report the deaths of unmarked foals, the mortality figure supplied to us by Wade may not account for all of the animals that died at Palomino Valley during that period. Animals’ Angels has already reported on the inaccurate record keeping protocols of the BLM as it pertains to mortality rates. More information on that issue is available here.
The BLM undoubtedly needs additional monitoring from unbiased and unpaid sources. Animals’ Angels will be conducting additional research into the BLM’s practices.