A Brief History – Louisiana’s Hertiage Horses 


Public Comment Deadline, June 17th 2016

To understand the importance of these horses, a brief history is in order. Some horses in the Kisatchie region are believed to be descendants of those that had been brought there long ago. This region holds much Native American history and is one of the settlement cradles in early America that hunters came through, while others raised families, farmed and raised livestock through generations, including the logging and livestock railroad trade era of the early 1900’s. Horses and mules were released into the forest in Peason Ridge to run with existing wild horses after logging ceased in the 1920’s: http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Publications/region/8/kisatchie/History_1994/A_History_of_Kisatchie.pdf

Others were later loosed when heritage families left after their farms and land were taken for Camp Polk’s military training use in the 1930s: http://www.polkhistory.org/publications/Publications/Remembering%20Fort%20Polk%20Heritage%202007.pdf

Equines freely roamed the Kisatchie National Forest after the WWI and WWII eras. Hundreds of horses, along with mules that belonged to heritage families and civilians were pressed into service at Camp Polk, because of the shortage of cavalry horses. They were used as remounts. Unlike cavalry horses that were retired at Fort Riley, Kansas, many were reportedly loosed when the army no longer had use for them and locals contend the horses have lived peacefully in the grassy and wooded Kisatchie areas for as long as their ancestors could remember. There is no evidence whatsoever that the horses ever left and even the army historically had referred to the free roaming herds, as “Wild Horses.” In addition to the FOIA request for information including training accident statistics involving horses, PEGA also sent cease and desist request letters October and December of 2015, in an effort to communicate to the Federal Government that the Army’s Equine Capture program is in violation of state and federal regulations. A complaint that included an application for a temporary restraining order in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Louisiana was filed on December 21, 2015. The action was filed against the U.S. Army, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service to make them aware of concerns, and to stop plans to remove the horses. PEGA’S suit also requested the army’s current equine capture program cease until the matter was ruled on by the court. Further, an educational institution and an attorney from an organization that provides legal defense on behalf of animal welfare issues, also issued two other FOIA requests earlier this year. While the suit PEGA filed was not resolved, the FOIA responses submitted by these institutions were also received, but the army and other involved parties again did not fully comply with providing the requested information. Federal and state animal cruelty laws contain legal mandates for humane handling of equines, which PEGA believes are not being followed by those the army has allowed to capture the horses. PEGA contends the army and its agents are not exempt from compliance with these laws, and seeks the immediate halt of the captures. Not only do the captured equines carry no identification, but no documentation is provided to validate their whereabouts. PEGA also asserts that the captures violate Louisiana humane animal welfare laws and the interests of local citizens, whose ancestors were a part of early Louisiana. https://www.animallaw.info/statute/la-cruelty-consolidated-cruelty-statutes
PEGA and other advocates would like to see the horses remain as free- roaming and possibly be relocated to another area of Kisatchie National Forest. PEGA and several working together with the army and KNF, could serve as a resource to help humanely manage animals that truly are in need of care or adoption, through the use of low stress livestock handling techniques, wherever human intervention is actually needed. Immediate public support and help is needed to help insure an open dialogue with the U.S. Army and U.S. Forestry Service, so that best practice actions achieve non-harming, humane treatment of the equines and their habitat is preserved, while the safety of those enlisted at Fort Polk remains paramount. Please see below for submitting comments. Please be respectful so you CAN be their Voice!!!  

Submit Public Comment to Fort Polk Army per their request to the email:

usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil 

To make sure YOUR VOICE IS HEARD….. When you email, feel free to copy 

Kisatchiehorses@gmail.com

edwardsj@legis.la.gov

ltgov@crt.la.gov

email@billynungesser.com
You can mail comments to the address below. All comments with post mark on or before June 17th will be considered

JRTC and Fort Polk

Public Affairs Office, Attention: Public Response 

7033 Magnolia Drive, Building 4919

Fort Polk, LA 71459-5342

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