Controversial Wild Horse Roundup in Cold Creek, Nevada - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter

Controversial Wild Horse Roundup in Cold Creek, Nevada

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"We have plenty of water, but according to BLM and what they can use, if it's on private property, they can't use if, although the horses do drink it," said Rhea Little, Cold Creek resident. "We have plenty of water, but according to BLM and what they can use, if it's on private property, they can't use if, although the horses do drink it," said Rhea Little, Cold Creek resident.

Another roundup of wild horses is in the works, this time in the community of Cold Creek, north of Las Vegas.

A few hundred people live in Cold Creek. Many of them say they moved here because of the wild horses that wander through their property almost every evening. The locals know the horses so well they've given names to most of them.

They've been hearing about a proposed roundup for months now, so Wednesday night, residents packed the fire station to find out what the BLM has in mind. They checked out the exhibits, ate the government cookies, and waited to speak their mind. The moment never came.

The BLM hired a professional meeting facilitator to run the show. Anyone with questions should submit them in writing, Carla Sanda told the audience.

Families with kids sat for more than two hours before the question and answer period even began, and those who wanted to make a public comment about wild horses never got the chance to speak before the group. Instead, at the end of the night, they were told to make their comments to a court reporter over in the corner.

BLM got to speak, though, for hours.   The big questions, about how many horses would be rounded up or why there was even going to be roundup, were not answered.

Residents were told one reason is the shortage of water, even though Cold Creek has a lot of it.

"We have plenty of water, but according to BLM and what they can use, if it's on private property, they can't use if, although the horses do drink it," said Rhea Little, Cold Creek resident.

In other words, when BLM is calculating the water resources of the area to determine how many horses must go, it ignores water that is on land other than its own, even though horses use that water every day.

The BLM said it wants to try approaches other than simply gathering horses, which has always been its tactic of choice in Nevada, such as contraception and more adoptions but it has a limited budget.

"Last year we only had $118,000 and that's for salaries, vehicles, cell phones, gathers, monitoring and adoptions," said Karla Norris, BLM.

In reality, the BLM's state office pays for the gathers. And the local office spent almost nothing on adoptions of the horses it rounds up. Only eight were adopted this past year. But BLM had the money to hire a meeting coordinator and will soon pay for yet another study of wild horse issues.

As for the Cold Creek horses, residents have no doubt that BLM will take whatever number of horses it wants, no matter what the public said or didn't say.

The most likely plan would be to gather about 95-percent of so-called "excess animals", which would mean the removal of more than 300 horses and more than 500 wild burros.

Email your comments to Investigative Reporter George Knapp.

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