‘It was very close to being too late’

Editor:

As NMA members we would like to offer a response to Wendy Williams’ comments concerning her surrendering of the three Spring Creek Basin mustangs. First, Wendy did the right thing to surrender her horses and BLM did the right thing to contact her. The condition of her horses was dismal and the one mare (who was on the lowest of the conditioning scale) may have suffered permanent and debilitating damage at that level of starvation. It was very close to being too late for some of these animals.

There are a few points in the article we would like to clarify.

1. There is a clear BLM protocol (in writing) given to all individuals adopting mustangs. The protocol clearly states “if an adopter can no longer care for adopted horses, the animal can be returned to the BLM.” The Williamses knew BLM protocol. Wendy Williams pointed to BLM fencing regulations in the commentary.

2. They also had conversations with and were familiar with several members of the NMA prior to, at the adoption, and over the past year. An NMA member spoke with the Williamses in a local ranch store only a few months ago and was told the mustangs were “doing great.” They could have approached either of these organizations for help at anytime this past year.

3. The logistics of the property where the horses were kept did not make it accessible for people (community) to see the plight of the horses and respond.

When an animal, child, or adult is in serious jeopardy the correct course of action is to first and foremost remove them from the situation. This is exactly what happened and BLM did an excellent job in acting according to their protocol. A picture of these emaciated horses was circulated by a concerned citizen and BLM took the correct and immediate action to approach the Williamses about surrendering them.

We cannot speak to why neighbors, friends, relatives or others did not reach out to help these people during a very difficult life situation. We also cannot speak to the actions of her employer terminating her position. We can however wonder why, when working in the position she did, she did not seek help or medical assistance for the horses who she stated were in very poor condition. Asking for help at any point would have averted a distressing and embarrassing situation for the Williamses and would have allowed these horses to have adequate care. If “doing your best” is allowing starvation, suffering and neglect then it simply is not good enough.

This unfortunate incident can be used to help others in two important ways. First, if you, as a concerned community member, see a situation where you believe neglect or abuse is occurring — even if it is a result of someone’s life crisis — please step in and offer help. Your intervention may save a life. Secondly, if you can no longer care for an animal due to extenuating circumstances, please contact someone (organizations, individuals or authorities) before something serious happens.

If you are an owner or concerned citizen dealing with a mustang from the Spring Creek Basin Herd please contact BLM or NMA.

Pati Temple

Lynda Larsen

Nancy Schaufele

National Mustang Association