PRESS RELEASE: Louisiana’s Historic Horses Face Imminent Danger

Public Concern Esclates for the  Welfare of Louisiana’s Free-Roaming Heritage Horses.

Public support is urgently needed.

Comment Before June 17th, 2016

Public Comment Deadline 6/17/16 

EMAIL Army (copy and paste the email address below)
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil 

To make sure YOUR voice is heard, feel free to copy email addresses below: 
kisatchiehorses@gmail.com
edwardsj@legis.la.gov      
ltgov@crt.la.gov
email@billynungesser.com 

For Conventional Mail:
JRTC and Fort Polk                                
Public Affairs Office, Attention: Public Response                                                      
7033 Magnolia Drive, Building 4919
Fort Polk, LA 71459-5342

Fort Polk, Louisiana – Heritage Horses in Fort Polk , Louisiana located in Kisatchie National Forest are at risk of being shipped to slaughter in Mexico. Public support to save these historical free-roaming equines is needed by June 17th, 2016 to be considered as part of the Public Response portion of the current  Environmental Assessment released May 4th, 2016. 

Fort Polk Army Officials released the announcement of the intent to “get rid of them”. The order was given by Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire, who has since relinquished his command of Fort Polk, Joint Readiness Training Center to incoming Brig. Gen. Gary Brito.

Public concern has been raised because under McGuire’s command, Fort Polk army officials indicated in August of last year that no action would be taken until after their announcement. Yet eyewitnesses from the community and surrounding areas claim the army not only had been allowing the horses to be captured by individuals, including horse traders that sell horses for slaughter, but many horses had been removed for decades. Reports also indicate that captures included the use of tranquilizer darts and some capture attempts resulted in injuries, or in the animals’ deaths. By the army’s own admission, no effort has been made to track the animals’ whereabouts after their removal, or to prevent them from being shipped to slaughter after future transfers of ownership occur.

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, (PEGA) a registered Louisiana non-profit organization asserts that the free roaming herds have been a part of Louisiana’s local culture that shaped the history of parishes in and around Kisatchie National Forest since its early beginnings, and that if the removals are not stopped, the horses may be gone before any plan to save or move them can be put into action. At one time last year, their numbers were estimated to be at least 450. However, there now may be less than half remaining. Some locals contend the horses have lived peacefully in the remote, grassy and wooded Kisatchie areas for as long as anyone could remember. Even the army historically had referred to the free roaming herds, as “Wild Horses.” To understand the importance of these horses a brief history is in order, said President of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association.

The horses are believed by many to be descendants of equines that had been there since the logging and livestock railroad trading era of the early 1900’s. Some 90 years ago, horses and mules were released into the forest in Peason Ridge to run with existing wild horses after heavy logging work ceased. 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. Reports indicate equines roamed freely the Kisatchie National Forest after the WWI and WWII eras. Hundreds of horses, along with mules that belonged to civilians were pressed into service at Camp Polk, because of the shortage of cavalry horses. They were used as remount horses. Some were loosed when the army had no further use for them. Their descendants roam in remote areas of Kisatchie National Forest today.

PEGA sent cease and desist request letters October and December of last year 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 was also filed on December 21, 2015 that included an application for a temporary restraining order in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Louisiana. 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 any plans to remove the horses entirely. This action also requested Army’s current equine capture program cease until the matter was ruled on by the court. Additional FOIA requests were filed by at least two creditable institutions. 

Although the army had historically referred to the horses as “wild”, they attempted to declare them as “trespass horses” in an effort to strip them of any protection from their elimination, that would be afforded under the Federal Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act. While the federal government alleges removal of the horses is necessary for the safety of its military training exercises, multiple on site reports consistently have indicated scarce amounts (or no horses) in the training areas. Further, PEGA sent a request for public records including “statistics regarding the number of accidents that occurred as a result of the roaming horses on the Fort Polk Base”, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, no records provided by the army indicated any connection between any horses and it’s training accidents.

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 currently allows to catch 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 humane animal welfare laws and the interests of local citizens, whose ancestors were a part of early Louisiana. 

In the wake of the 05/01/2016 announcement of the army’s intent to “get rid of” the horses, PEGA and other advocates would like to see the horses that have not been removed stay in Kisatchie, but they could serve as a resource to help humanely manage those 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.

The public’s outcry and immediate engagement 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, according to, PEGA Spokesperson.

Public Comment Deadline 6/17/16 

EMAIL Army (copy and paste the email address below)
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil 

To make sure YOUR voice is heard,  feel free to copy email addresses below: 
kisatchiehorses@gmail.com
edwardsj@legis.la.gov      
ltgov@crt.la.gov
email@billynungesser.com 

For Conventional Mail (must be post marked by the 17th): 

JRTC and Fort Polk                                
Public Affairs Office, Attention: Public Response                                                      
7033 Magnolia Drive, Building 4919
Fort Polk, LA 71459-5342

Facebook Page Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie 

Petition to Congress


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3 thoughts on “PRESS RELEASE: Louisiana’s Historic Horses Face Imminent Danger

  1. We ask that you give us horse Advocates a chance to get them removed, if your thinking of slaughtering them? Please work with us citizens of America and stop the slaughter and inhumane action on these beautiful horses.

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  2. These horses do not deserve to go to kill buyers or feed lots they are part of American History not to be tossed like trash. They
    are descendants of World War II Military horses which helped this nation and in War Time Truly they are Vets themselves look at there history
    they were part of military It sad they are not protected as they should be they are American History. Just like men and women Vets which do not
    get fair treatment And God knows they deserve the best treatment cause they fought for this country and protected our freedom. Now are animal vets are treated unfairly and forgotten. I wish for all mIlitary to be treated good and with respect they are the ones who put there lives on the line so we can have freedom the men and women and animals that serve. And the ones that served in the past should not be forgotten and that includes the Fort Polk Horses cause they are part of Fort Polk History . Please do not let these horses fall into bad hands like kill buyers slaughter pens cause they will try to get them cause they don’t care about them only to ship them across the border to unspeakable horrible cruel barbaric deaths in Mexico where they do not care they want to make money off them that’s it and it is barbaric. Please Louisiana and Please Fort Polk save a part of your history these horses are descendants of horses that helped military so many years ago and was out in the field with soldier boys. Please don’t let kill buyers get them and let end up in slaughter cause they will try. Thank You ! Please don’t let them be destroyed Remember how the military saved the Lippzane Horses those beautiful white horses in Europe from Germans so many years ago Just please don’t let Fort Polk Horses end in a bad way they are a part of Louisiana History and American History Thank You !

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