By Pat Raia, Horse Welfare News
(January 2, 2020) A group of so-called “Three-Striker” horses residing at the National Forest Service (NFS) Double Devil Wild Horse Corral in Arcturus, California are currently available for purchase with limitation.
All the available horses are younger than 10 year-old. Three-Strike status indicates that the horses were passed over for adoption during previous adoption events.
According to NFS Public Affairs Officer Ken Sandusky, the horses are from the Devil's Garden Horses derived from working horses.
“At the time of the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (of 1971), there were actually two separate herds: The western herd was draft stock and the eastern saddle," Sandusky said. "They have since become one herd and traits are intermixed."
About 230 are currently offered for purchase with limitations for $25 each. On Jan.9, 2020, the horses will be available for purchase with limitations for $1, Sandusky said.
The animals available for purchase are among 344 Devil's Garden Herd gathered in 2019 and kept at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corral. Of those, 90 horses have been relocated into new homes, the NFS said in a written statement.
Sandusky said that herd growth prompted the gather.
"The Devil's Garden Wild Horse Herd is now five-to-ten times the size the land can support," he said. "Appropriate Management Level is 206-402 (horses) and there are at least 1,800 and possible as many as 3,000."
Some wild horse advocates criticize the round-up system in general.
"It's a shame to see our iconic American wild horses removed from their natural habitat," said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action.
According to the NFS, under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros act, wild horse managers must offer all horses younger than 10-years be made available for sale with limitations after three adoption attempts. Under terms of the sales, horses must be sold to those intent on keeping and caring for the animals.
But some wild horse advocates argue that the low price diminishes the animals' value, and makes the horses more likely to enter the so-called 'slaughter pipeline."
This is unconscionable," said Suzanne Roy, of the American Wild Horse Campaign. "The Forest Service's sale of these national treasures for $1 apiece sends a strong message that California's most historic wild horses lack any value, (and) this decision is the Forest Service's way of sidestepping the sale without limitations prohibition imposed by Congress."
To learn more about sales with limitations, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd656533.pdf. Those interested in purchasing a Devil's Garden Wild Horse should complete the request form found at https://go.usa.gov/xQ3r3 and return it to SM.FS.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 530/233-8738 for more information or to schedule a viewing and selection appointment.