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BLM postponing wild horse adoption in Ravalli County

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 15:05:59-04


The Bureau of Land Management tells MTN one of the horses brought to Montana for the adoption event died Thursday and another was euthanized because they showed signs of disease.

Veterinary officials say all of the other horses and burros appear to be healthy. They don’t think the problem will spread.

However, as a precaution, they are being isolated from other animals until they are given a clean bill of health.

The state veterinarian’s office has been notified, and lab tests are pending.

BLM says the animals will be available to bring home at a future adoption event.

The animals came from wild herds in California and Oregon.

HAMILTON – The Bureau of Land Management brought in wild horses from California and Oregon along with wild burros from across the southwest to hold an adoption event to try and find them homes here in Western Montana.

It is all taking place at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds.

The Bureau of Land Management is traveling to 17 different locations across the USA trying to find homes for wild horses and burros that were wrangled in for population control.

The horses come from California and Oregon. Here in Western Montana, they can fill very specific needs.

“Here you guys do a lot of packing a lot of Mountainy horse trail back rides so they like big strong feet. Bigger horses basically,” said Blair Street, Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Range Technician.  “Oregon and California naturally have bigger horses so that’s why we brought them in and then the burros people think they are cute and fuzzy and they want to bring them home.”

There are requirements to bringing one of these animals home. The two big ones are that candidates must have at least a 400 square foot plot of land and no history of animal abuse.

Wild horses respond differently than domestic horses in terms of training, but they also offer a trait that will bring you a friend for life.

“Their trust is a lot different than a domestic horse in my opinion they have something different about them so once I feel like you earn their trust they are going to do basically anything that you want them to do,” Street added. “Some horses they are going to be a little more difficult but they are going to be the best friend you thought you never had.”

Training a wild horse or burro might take a long time but BLM has a piece of advice for anybody committed to these animals.

“The biggest thing I can tell people is just spend time with them. Because they are so unsure about their surroundings about everything else.  hey are just like “ah I dont know.” If I go out and sit with horses in a pen for awhile they will get curious,” Street commented. “They will come up to you and sniff you and sometimes they will let you touch them. Its just spending time with them making sure that they are comfortable.”

You have until Sunday, June 23 at noon to come down to the Ravalli County Fairgrounds and pick out a horse or burro.

After Sunday, the BLM takes the show on the road to Kallispell before heading to Coeur d’Alene.

Along with the background requirements all it costs to bring one of the animals home is $25. You will actually receive $1,000 from the federal government to bring on of these animals home in two $500-installments over a year-long period.

Story by Connor McCauley, MTN News