Objections to the March 9th Report and Recommendation were filed on March 23rd, 2018
Link to Objections here: https://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/03-23-18-68-1-mem-re-objections-to-rr-1.pdf
Link to Report and Recommendation here: https://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/03-09-18-67-rr-on-pi1.pdf
On Friday, March 9, on narrow grounds a Western District U.S. Magistrate Judge chose not to recommend that the Court stop the elimination of wild and free roaming horses at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
However the Court denied the Army’s two motions attempting to block Pegasus’s evidence on the issue and accepted the evidence on the record of the preliminary injunction.
The Magistrate Judge relied on two factors to find that harm to the plaintiff is not “irreparable”: Pegasus had not proven that the Army will eliminate all of the horses before the Court could rule on the merits. And Army clarified on the record that it will not remove any horses from the surrounding Kisatchie Forest land (including the land used by the Army for training). Because of this, the Magistrate Judge would not recommend the “extraordinary remedy” of a preliminary injunction against the Army at this time.
It should be noted that the Court did not find that Pegasus failed to prove the other three elements of the Preliminary Injunction: likelihood to prevail on the merits, public interest, and balance of harms.
Additionally, the Court has not yet ruled on the merits or on which extra-record evidence will be allowed in the record on the merits.
A few items of consideration: While it is true that volumes of horses have already been removed from areas near or from elaborate catch pen and corral system on army drop zone land (that borders Kisatchie National Forest), it should be understood that like other migratory grazing wildlife, wild horses do not stay in one area on tens of thousands of acres. Rather, they migrate between foraging areas, water sources and tree cover of Kisatchie National Forest and army land. Because the wild and free roaming horses don’t know where unfenced boundaries between Kisatchie National Forest and army drop zone areas are, they could continue to be removed, as long as the migratory horses are in the area.
The majority of the general public is against the systematic removal of Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming Horses, from these wildlife areas, tracing their existence back decades, in this historic region of precolonial Louisiana.
It is vital that the public CONTINUE to engage State and Federal Officials ( contact info below)
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Advocates Urge Court to Immediately Stop Army’s Illegal Seizure of Horses, Slaughter Plan
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association files preliminary injunction motion to protect Ft. Polk horses
January 9, 2018
New Orleans — This week animal advocates filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking a federal court to take immediate steps to stop the Army’s illegal roundup and sale of Louisiana’s wild horses pending their lawsuit’s resolution.
In 2016, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA), led by attorneys with the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, sued the Army over plans to evict roughly 700 wild horses from a western Louisiana Army base and national forest areas that are used in trainings. The lawsuit alleges the Army violated laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, by asserting it did not need to prepare an environmental impact statement for the removal of the horses. The Army also omitted other requirements, such as ensuring nonprofit organizations could put groups of horses up for adoption, rather than the horses being sold for slaughter.
The plaintiffs filed today’s motion in an attempt to restrict the Army from moving forward with its plan, pending the lawsuit’s resolution. The Army has recently ramped up its efforts to evict the horses, leading to speculation it will try to moot the lawsuit by completing its plan before the issues can he heard.
For decades the horses have been living on, and part of, historic Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest areas. Horses have ranged free on this property long before Fort Polk existed. Animal advocates fear that the Army’s current, controversial plan will result in the slaughter of the majority — if not all — the wild horses due to the difficulty in rehoming horses who have been wild for generations.
“There are several unique herds of truly wild horses in Louisiana, that are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans,” says Amy Hanchey of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association. “The horses should be preserved and protected. Regardless if they have been abandoned, generationally wild or otherwise wild, their welfare is at stake.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund works with law schools across the country to expand their curriculum of animal law related classes and clinics. The organization’s expert animal law attorneys provide support and advice to programs, such as Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.