I-Team: Nevada BLM's Wild Horses Money, Where Is It? - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

I-Team: Nevada BLM's Wild Horses Money, Where Is It?

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Wild horse advocates think the Bureau of Land Management is systematically trying to eliminate mustangs from the open ranges of Nevada.

The most telling sign, they say, is the BLM's lack of interest in promoting horse adoptions.

This is a wild horse story that isn't about wild horses. It's about the agency, which is supposed to manage the herds and what it does with millions of taxpayer dollars.

We asked the BLM what we thought was a simple question. How much do you spend on rounding up horses and on finding them homes? Both responsibilities are outlined in federal law.

You might think it would be easy for BLM to retrieve those numbers, but it took the I-Team seven months and numerous phone calls emails and letters to get the data. Essentially, the figures confirm the suspicions of the critics.

BLM spends a bundle on rounding up horses -- about $2 million a year in Nevada -- but only one-twentieth as much on adoptions. The result is a huge backlog of horses in government pens and feeding them costs even more millions.

Wild horse advocate Jerry Reynoldson said, "There's a lot of ill will out there. It's unfortunate. I can tell you who's suffering as a result, and it's these animals. That's why there's 1,200 in Ridgecrest, 2,000 in Fallon, Palomino standing in centers and longtime holding because we're at odds with each other."

But more than being bad for horses, it's bad for taxpayers. Two thirds of the national wild horse budget goes to feeding horses that are being held in pens.

Email your comments to Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp.

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