The Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest contains one of California’s largest and most significant remaining mustang populations. Despite being protected under federal law, these horses have been under attack.
In 2012, the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest near Alturas, significantly reduced the size of the mustangs’ habitat. AWHC sued. Represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and our legal team at Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks, we prevailed last October when the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Forest Service’s decision to cut out the middle section of the territory.
Fast forward to 2018, and livestock permittees in Devil’s Garden have filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service, seeking the immediate removal of over 2,000 wild horses from their home on the range in the Modoc National Forest. AWHC has again teamed up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Ms. Bowers, represented again by Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks, we filed a motion to intervene in the case. Our goal is to defend the interests of this federally protected wild horse herd and ensure that the government does not strike an unfair deal with the ranchers that will harm the horses.
In August 2019, the court granted our motion to intervene and now we must mount a vigorous legal defense for the mustangs of the Modoc National Forest. Our vision for these wild horses is a humane management program that all stakeholders can support and be involved in; that won’t be possible if the ranchers succeed in forcing the massive roundup of these beautiful mustangs.