Cloud Foundation wins reprieve for horses

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.

Pryor Mountain wild horses graze along the shoreline near Crooked Creek Bay Friday. A judge has at least temporarily put a halt to the current BLM removal plan.
Courtesy Ron McClure

“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.

8 comments

  1. I am encouraged and yet still very worried about the future of our wild herds of horses. The BLM is not following the Wild Horse and Burro act mandate to protect our herds, not remove them from the small tracts of land left to them. Perhaps we need to find some other organization to manage our herds instead of the BLM. We don’t have too many horses, we have too many fences.

  2. Thank you
    Judge Watters, Katherine M, Elizabeth L. and Ginger Kathrens
    for fighting the fight for freedom
    We pray and hope it becomes a permanent solution for freedom
    thank you again
    suzanne

  3. So happy for this herd. If we could just keep going forward and making it possible for wild horses to live their lives, and not in holding pens, or horse slaughter we will be a better humans.

  4. Finally some good news. Thanks to this Judge & all who fight to save our precious wild horses of America. BLM is wrong & cruel in their lack of humane management ! Americans are being forced to pay for something we do not want to have happening to America’s wild horses! Thank you so much to the Cloud Foundation & a fair & honorable judge. We need this hope!

  5. Thank God for the attorneys handling this case, the judge with intelligence and heart, the woman who started all this and all the donors.

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