On October 19, 2018, AWHC, joined by ALDF and Carla Bowers, filed a complaint challenging the recent decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to sell federally-protected wild horses “without limitation.”
Although the USFS never engaged in any notice-and-comment decisionmaking concerning the possibility of selling excess wild horses “without limitation” for the first time in agency history (and in the history of the federal government), the USFS announced in a September 25, 2018 press release that it would begin rounding up and removing nearly 1,000 excess horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory, and that those horses would be made available for adoption and sale. At the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Placement Group Conference Call that took place the same day, USFS officials (Ken Sandusky and Leigh Sevy) explained to the Placement Group (including Plaintiff Carla Bowers) that the agency had decided to sell excess horses with limitations (i.e., not for slaughter for human consumption) for the first thirty days for $25 per horse for up to 24 horses per day per buyer, and that after thirty days the USFS would sell older horses without limitation for $25 per horse for up to 36 horses per buyer per week.
We asked that the court (1) set aside the challenged agency decision for failing to comply with federal law and the agency’s own Forest Plan and remand the decision for further consideration by the USFS. We also asked (2) that the court enjoin the defendants from taking any further action to implement the decision to sell without limitations until the agency has fully complied with the laws.