United States District Judge Susan P. Watters has ruled in favor of Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation in their efforts to protect the Pryor Mountain wild mustang herd from capture and removal stating, “Plaintiffs’ application for TRO (temporary restraining order) is granted. Defendants are hereby enjoined from conducting the wild horse gather set for Sept. 2, 2018, pending a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.”
The Foundation announced the decision in an August 31 press release.
“We won,” said a jubilant Ginger Kathrens, who brought the herd to international prominence with her documentaries about Cloud, a palomino stallion she documented from the day he was born. “I hope that the TRO and what we believe will be a permanent decision later next month will ensure a lasting future for this unique Spanish herd.”
In her ruling Judge Watters acknowledged that the Bureau of Land Management fell short in managing for both rare genetics and the unusual colors, the press release states.
The Pryor Mustangs are descended of Crow Indian horses and, before that, the horses of the Conquistadors, the Foundation stated, adding that genetic and color experts have concluded that the horses make up “a rare Spanish Colonial herd.” Their range is located on the Montana/Wyoming border north of Lovell.
Kathrens, who began her journey with wild horses in 1994, stated, “I hope this is a turning point for America’s beleaguered wild horse herds that have been so cruelly treated, and that the BLM will finally adopt humane methods of management that take into account the essential need for family structures and the basic right to live in freedom as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended.”
In her decision to grant the TRO Judge Watters stated: “BLM argues that one removal action will not result in the permanent loss of genetic diversity of the Pryor Herd. … This conclusion is contrary to the evidence before the court. Extinction of a bloodline or phenotype is, by its nature, loss of genetic diversity. And extinction, meaning forever, is certainly a long duration. This court finds that Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of irreparable harm absent a TRO.”
“We could not have brought this suit without a high level of confidence in our donors,” Kathrens continued. “Cloud fans are loyal to wild horses and understand that maintaining the family structure and genetic strength are the essentials to living wild. This one’s for you, Cloud!”
“2018 is the 50th anniversary of the creation of the first nationally designated area established to provide a home for free roaming horses. What a grand way to celebrate!” Kathrens concluded.
The hearing in Billings is set for Sept. 28 at 9:30 a.m.
The Cloud Foundation is being represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington, D.C. public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks.