UPDATE: April 2, 2017: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision to dismiss this lawsuit, finding that the plaintiff "seeks judicial oversight and direction of virtually the entire federal wild horse and burro management program in Nevada,” which is not the judiciary’s role.
On December 30, 2013, the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Nevada Farm Bureau, acting on behalf of ranchers who graze livestock on public land, filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking to compel the government to remove thousands of wild horses from public lands in Nevada and to sell captured mustangs for slaughter. The lawsuit is part of a strategy by Western ranchers to sue the BLM, knowing the agency will capitulate to their demands without mounting a serious legal defense. In Wyoming, a similar lawsuit was actually invited by Interior Department officials, and resulted in a Consent Decree in which the government agreed to drastically reduce wild horse populations in southwestern Wyoming, including the "zeroing out" of several large and important Herd Management Areas.
On April 3, 2014, the U.S. District Court District of Nevada granted AWHPC, joined by renowned author and Nevada resident Terri Farley and nationally-acclaimed wild horse photographer Mark Terrell, the right to intervene in the lawsuit. On May 29, 2014, AWHPC, Farley and Terrell filed a motion to dismiss the case based on its lack of legal merit and the plaintiffs' lack of standing to bring the case in the first place.
The following month, AWHPC, Farley and Terrell filed a motion to dismiss the NACO case, and on March 12, 2015 the court granted AWHPC's motion, dismissing the case "with prejudice," which means that the case cannot be amended or re-filed. AWHPC et. al. were represented in the case by the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal.
NACO and the Farm Bureau have appealed this case, and AWHPC is now defending the lower court verdict in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Ninth Circuit Rejects Efforts By Livestock Owners, Nevada Counties And Nevada Farm Bureau Federation To Remove Wild Horses From Public And Private Lands In Nevada
- Court denies mustang appeal sought by Nevada counties
- Court Denies Appeal Seeking To Round Up Federally Protected Wild Mustangs
- Advocates join wild horse lawsuit
- Elko County agrees to give up to $10,000 in wild horse lawsuit
- Nevada Association of Counties, Farm Bureau sue feds over wild horse management
- Wild Horse Advocates Urge Dismissal of Lawsuit Using Same Logic that Sunk Theirs
- Judge sides with wild horse advocates against ranchers
- Judge Lets Wild Horses Stay Put
- Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of Rancher Anti-Mustang Lawsuit
- Federal Court Dismisses Nevada Cattlemen’s Anti-Mustang Lawsuit
- Federal Court Asked to Toss Ranchers' Anti-Mustang Lawsuit
- Federal Court Grants Wild Horse Advocates’ Request to Intervene in Nevada Ranchers’ Lawsuit Against Wild Horses
NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
- NACO vs. DOI Complaint
- AWHPC Motion to Intervene
- Order Granting AWHPC, et. al. Intervenor Status
- AWHPC, et. al., Motion to Dismiss
- Government Motion to Dismiss
- Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
- Government Reply in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
- NACO Awhpc Motion to Deny Motion to Stay
- NACO Motion to Stay
- Decision Granting Motion to Dismiss