Louisiana’s Heritage Horses and the Struggle to Protect Them | The Timeline

This is a working document… a summarized timeline of our struggle to protect the Heritage Horses at US Army base in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

It is documented that horses were distributed across the Kisatchie region as early as mid 1600’s when the Caddoan tribes traded A type of horse commonly  referred to as Spanish Colonial Horses  with French settlers the kisatchie  region, an area known as the Neutral Zone or No Man’s Land all part of the Louisiana Purchase, which is documented as early as 1682 by the USFS.

This small, compact horse is found in the wild herds in Peason Ridge, LA and in the remote areas down toward Fort Polk, LA.

This area is also known historically as the Old Beef Trail or Burrs Ferry Road. Where Horses and Cattle were driven from the Piney woods of East Texas into the Vernon Parish Area.

As settlers moved to the region and made farming their livelihood, they documented the numbers of livestock produced (r2). In the mid 1800’s, thousands of horses were free ranged with no fencing on vast grazing areas in today’s Sabine, Vernon, Beauregard, Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, Webster, Claiborne and Winn Parishes, Leesville, and Fort Polk, LA.

Horses were in the area long before Louisiana became a state in 1812.

Auction and estate sale records show hundreds of saddle horses and wild horses were sold in these areas. Horses and mules also came by railroad and were transportation for the area’s sawmill towns and massive logging industry.

When commercial logging subsided, some were relesaed with existing wild horses, others were left behind when the army took over Heritage Families’ land by eminent domain (r3).

Horses of every size and age were also utilized by the military from locals and used as “remounts” and service animals because of the shortage of regulation cavalry horses. Hundreds served alongside the cavalry horses during the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941 involving over 400,000 men (17,000 mounted Cavalry Troops) in preparation for WWII.

Historical Court Documents 1993-2010

1993 Kim Reischling, spokeswoman for Fort Polk said a roundup in 1993 snared 41 horses, which were placed with two local ranches. What is not discussed in the article are the cruel methods used to capture these horses, from tranquilizing and tying to trees to dragging them into trailers and I would love to know the who were 2 local “ranches” they were placed with……  https://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/08/12/army-says-nay-700-feral-horses-roaming-louisiana-base/31539995/

2000 placed only eight with new owners

November 2000 – Docket# 01-31361 https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXacWQ3X0NDdFBJeG8

July 25, 2002 NEPA Settlement Agreement with COLAA  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaZjFDVUxQYTNzejQ

2004 AR-News: Louisiana Wild Horses (need to be saved from destruction) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXab0VLN3FjZkdrQUE

2009 Article by Tulanes Adam Babich http://www.law.tulane.edu/uploadedfiles/academics/clinics/documents/illegal_perm.pdf

2010 Army Decision FNSI https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaU2F6RzFxb2FmMkk

2010 Letter to Col Burns https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaSGZTYVhORWJzQUE

Events of 2015 – Present

8/12/2015 KLAB Article http://www.kalb.com/home/headlines/Army-says-nay-to-700-feral-horses-roaming-Louisiana-base-321596462.html?device=phone&c=y

ARMYtimes http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/08/12/army-says-nay-700-feral-horses-roaming-louisiana-base/31539995/

8/13/2015 Public Hearing held in Leesville. See Update posted to our facebook page after the hearing: https://www.facebook.com/1484973435133037/photos/a.1484975115132869.1073741827.1484973435133037/1485056251791422/?type=3&theater

8/14/2015 Article in Leesville Leader & Comment https://www.facebook.com/1484973435133037/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1485738005056580/?type=3&theater

First glimmer of hope is that Ft. Polk representatives have stated they are collecting comments until September 2nd on behalf of solutions for their horse herd management and dispersal. This should mean that no action will be taken until such time, our fear is that kill buyers will not honor that deadline.

KALB http://www.kalb.com/home/headlines/Army-seeks-public-input-on-how-to-resolve-feral-horse-issue-321839032.html

8/18/2015 We start receiving conflicting information; pictures of existing catch pens on Peason Ridge.

Facebook Update

We are receiving conflicting information about the time table for Ft Polk Cavalry horse removal and believe the Ft Polk Cavalry descended herd to be in immediate jeopardy.

Ft Polk Game Warden Mr. Baldwin confirmed that a single Permit for Equine Capture allows up to 50 horse per year and that this has already taken effect. The Game Warden said there are WELL over 700 horses for the taking. You must catch them yourself anytime between 8-4 M-F. Again, these horses are in the Peason Ridge Wildlife area, not on the Ft Polk base whose horses seem to be currently less at risk.

Fort Polk game warden also confirmed you can get 50/yr max You have to catch them yourself. No QT or vet prior to taking the horses

Yes there are stipulations on the permit stating no sale to slaughter, but there seem to be no safeguards to know who is requesting permits. Kill buyers can easily hire others to take out permits. We are unaware of registering or photographing of captured horses to show evidence if they are found in a kill pen. We are talking about a kill buyer’s dream here – if you get 50 today, then just fill out a permit in another name you can get another 50 tomorrow.

This is a travesty. For those with a hunting or fishing license with a WMA permit, the permit to get the horse is free. Others pay $9.50 per permit

 

8/30/2015 KTBS Article & Interview with Mary Brocato, PEGA Board Member

http://www.ktbs.com/story/29917762/an-uncertain-future-for-ft-polks-horses

 9/1/2015 Proposal submitted to General Timothy P McGuire & Wayne Fariss (emailed, fedex, and had delivered)

9/5/2015 Proposal Deadline

9/7/2015 KATC Article & Interview

  1. http://www.katc.com/story/29972481/fighting-to-keep-horses-at-kisatchie-national-forest
  2. http://www.katc.com/story/29971598/horses-of-kisatchie-national-forest

9/10/2015 Received this email from an individual who received it from Range Mgmt Authority,  Ronald W Semerena. We found this disturbing because the Army previously implied that they were waiting till Jan 2016 before anything would be done.

ronald.w.semerena.civ@mail.mil

> To: 

> Subject: Horse Capture Program

> Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 

> Rotational Cleanup is currently scheduled through the 16th of SEP.The 17th is the earliest I can allow outside activities, providing all goes accordingly and another unit does not reserve the training area. Should access be allowed earlier, I will notify you by email or phone.

> The new procedures have NOT been approved yet but I expect they will be similar to the following:

> The right of entry may not be used for any other purpose. 

> The right of entry is only valid when used in conjunction with a Training Area POV Pass issued by DPTMS, Range Operations, located at Building # 3225, 7487 Georgia Avenue, Fort Polk, LA 71459. Passes are issued for specific periods and must be obtained in person at Range Control, Mon-Fri0800-1630, telephone (337) 531-5445.

> You would agree to comply with the following:

> 1. Will not access any impact area or other area marked as off-limits. 

> 2. Will only access installation areas expressly open for equine capture as identified by Range Control (531-5445).

> 3. Will physically check-in with Range Control at building # 3225, 7487 Georgia Avenue, Fort Polk, LA 71459 prior to entering the training area. 

> 4. To check-out, horses must be visually counted by Range Control at their office or by DES at any manned Access Control Point.

> 5. Will not sell, donate or loan captured equine to any person or entity for uses prohibited by this agreement. 

> 6. Will not use any captured equine for rodeo stock or other similar enterprises. 

> 7. Will not slaughter, or permit the slaughter, of any captured equine for the purpose of production of goods, including, but not limited to glue and dog food. 

> 8. Will immediately remove all property and-or equipment and vacate the installation upon notification of the revocation or temporary cancelation of this right of entry, or the closure of the installation to equine capture.

> Regards, 

> Ronald W. Semerena

> Fort Polk Range Management Authority

> DSN 863

 

9/15/2015 FedEx’d copies of proposal and letters to Sec. of Defense and Sec of Army

9/16/2015 Facebook Update:

We have followed the Army’s directions, submitted proposals with COMPREHENSIVE solutions, both for the short term & LONG TERM issues with Horses in #‎FortPolk #‎Kisatchie #‎PeasonRidge

A lot of folks were under the impression that NO ACTION would be taken until Jan 1 2016 which is what was said or implied by Army Officials (at the Public hearing on Aug13th, to reporters, as well as to individuals).

This is not the case. They begin to allow horses to be adopted under an agreement that is lacking to say the least.

#FortPolk #Kisatchie #PeasonRidge will continue to be a dumping ground for horses … breeding ground for horses unmanaged. In 5 years we will have the same issue. They are just patching the problem and it seems the ONLY ones to suffer will be the HORSES.

9/18/2015 Facebook Update: 

“Investigative reporter/anchor Elsa Gillis and investigative reporter/researcher Vickie Welborne, KTBS TV News, reported recently from Peason Ridge area on the historic war horse herd at Fort Polk.We now have confirmation that people who don’t even have a drivers lic will be allowed on base to get a horse. Tell me how does one get a permit without a license? There is real fear that the horses will suffer if we try to stop the removal, but in order to formulate a good ethical plan?

Wouldn’t there need to be a halt to issuing permit, providing time to properly vet out an ethical solution?

Revise permits, closing any loop holes that exist?

What about quickly repair fencing, ensuring the soldiers and citizens are safe?

This is all moving too fast and if we don’t get some more attention on this it will certainly end badly for the Horses. It is known that Fort Polk horses have already been sent to slaughter previously under the current army issued permits. The very same agreement which they themselves admitted has NO ENFORCEMENT. This admission was on camera, see interview link.

KTBS (ABC) http://www.ktbs.com/story/29917762/an-uncertain-future-for-ft-polks-horses

Why arent the local officials and law enforcement focusing their energy on preventing the problem from the source, instead of making the animals suffer.

What are they going to do to prevent dumping?

What are they going to do … recklessly send them off … replacing them with Privately Owned Cattle!!! “

 9/21/2015 Received the following report from a local that lives in the area. We have photographic evidence as well as a video. Local kill buyer even tried to come through the ladys car windows and grab her phone.

“There is a guy that is catching horses from fort Polk… we have spoken with him and he says he is allowed to take 4 per day an what he can’t break to ride he is sending to Mexico. An if I recall the only reason they sent over there is for slaughter… please help! The horses out in the training box has been there for years an so many people takes their kids an goes an watches them an even feeds them… we the people want to put a stop to these types of people. Please help

We have all seen him an even talked to him. That’s how we know what’s going on

East gate

He is trailing feed into a fab

An catching them as they enter”

The big fab out at the air strip. It has a concrete bridge going to it

 9/22/2015 Update:

Local well known kill buyer was rounding up horses. Tried to take the phone of a concerned citizen. Range control was called and he was forced to release horses and leave. Which he did, only to return an hour or so later to catch more horses.

9/23/2015 Town Talk Article

http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/news/2015/09/23/army-closer-decision-fort-polk-horses/72688274/

9/24/2015 Beauregard Daily News Article http://www.beauregarddailynews.net/article/20150924/NEWS/150929873

9/27/2015 Facebook Update:

Reports of a Gray mare entangled in ropes.  Horses being tranquilized for capture by local kill buyer crew, Not Lic vet present. this is entirely premature and unprofessional to allow these horses to be removed prior to a proper evaluation and documentation.

I also think it is unrealistic to expect that we are going to find homes for a majority of the horses, especially in this manner when the army has consistently implied they were following a timeline, but in reality they are not.

Locally known self-proclaimed kill buyers were among the first who were issued permits. Not to mention numerous locals have reported people illegally parking near the base and rounding up horses. This was confirmed by a conversation with Col Athey on Oct 6th Meeting at Fort Polk.

HSUS has even recommended a cessation of the current Horse Capture Program due to the fact that you cant properly asses herd(s) of horses if horses are being removed. This is a statement by HSUS.

Not only that but we also have reports of horses being tranquilized unsuccessfully, meaning there are horses out there with darts in them because the tranq didnt work.

As well as horses being caught by in ground buckets of feed which snares the horse around the neck when it tries to eat the feed. Locals have reached out to me via our facebook because the range control and army officials are allowing a free-for-all and ignoring their calls.

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9/29/15 PEGA Sends FOIA to Fort Polk.

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 9/29/2015 Article and Interview with Mary Brocato, PEGA Board Member

http://klax-tv.com/fate-of-fort-polk-horses-still-undecided/

9/30/2015 Article on KPLC ABC

http://www.kplctv.com/story/30158213/fate-for-horses-at-fort-polk

10/03/2015 Laura Leigh Article on HorseBackMagazine

http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/45487

 10/06/2015   Met with General McGuire, Col Athey, Col Sullivan, Troy Darr & Wayne Fariss @ Fort Polk

It was confirmed at this meeting that a “group of individuals” were caught corralling a large amount of horses.

We were told that these individuals were “banned” from the base. However, I suspect they were allowed to leave with the captured horses, because locals reported seeing “trailers of horses leaving the area of fort polk, headed in the direction of Pineville.

 10/08/2015 Article in MetroLeader (local news)

http://www.sbmetroleader.com/news/local/military-advocates-discuss-fate-of-fort-polk-horses/

 

10/11/2015 Report from local:

Army allowing people to go in and capture horses, scheduled for 10/17 & 10/18

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10/14/2015 Message HSUS Rep.

“While we have consulted with them about the benefits of adopting fertility control on the base, which they are currently pursuing in conjunction with LSU, unfortunately, we’re not in a better situation to manage their actions than anyone else, particularly because they are acting under the belief that they are complying with their last NEPA analysis – and can do so until the new NEPA document comes out in January.  In this respect, we’ve requested the cessation of the removal program because even if they believe it’s legal, it’s complicated to pursue a fertility control program while simultaneously removing animals.

While we’ve also pushed for sanctuary status for the horses, and the utilization of a humane adoption network if removal is pursued, and offered our services in this respect (via our comments, and conversations) we are not consulting them on this- though we have offered to, and would like to.”

 10/14/15 Cease & Desist sent to Army

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 10/15/2015 Horses Captured by locally known kill-buyer are up for sale online.

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 10/16/2015

Friday nite at 7 pm the helicopter came from checking the horse herds on Peason Ridge. Word that there was no round up scheduled for 17th and 18th …Only to find out there was plans for the 19th-31st

General Russel Honore’ joins advocates asking for a moratorium on Fort Polk ‘trespass’ horse capture permits.

http://www.westcentralsbest.com/news/honore-joins-advocates-asking-for-a-moratorium-on-fort-polk/article_c2d36f38-7407-11e5-af68-5f416c997a95.html#.ViEKc8IpE_o.facebook

 Rt Fitch Article http://rtfitchauthor.com/2015/10/16/fort-polk-horses-need-your-help

 FPHK Launched our See Something, Say Something, Do Something Campaign.

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 10/19/2015   Conflicting reports tell us that the Army is NOT putting a stop to the unethical actions of capturing horses and transporting without Coggins, even after multiple organizations have recommended a cessation to all activity around horse capture.

Convesation with Local:

“I actually just got off the phone with Local, who requested I give him a call. He is the admin of FORT POLK HORSES

He wanted to tell me what his experience was like at Fort Polk.

He went into the office and spoke with Ron Semerena and another guy, he didn’t remember his name.

When he asked for the permit the one guy didn’t seem to eager to help, So Semerna offered to take care of the permit.  Local said that he had to ask for directions where to get the “tame ones”. Semerena was vague about it .. but “finally gave him directions”

Local asked about the process for after getting a horse, Semerena stated that he could just go home.. didn’t not tell him to check out.

Local also stated that the horses we skittish and “acted like somebody had been after them” and that Fort Polk is increasing their problems by allowing rookies to go out there and “mess” with the horses. Stating nobody is going to be able to go out there and “cowboy these horses”, he said that they wont make any real progress this way.  He felt Fort Polk Range is going about it wrong, because by they time they catch a horse, another one will be having another baby.

He saw a mare with a 7mth old who was pregnant again.

Local shared some of his knowledge and experience with me. he said that no one will be able to “drive” these horses in those piney woods. He suggested the only way would be to make friends with the horse. have open pens. where we feed them for a few mths. and eventually close the gate. we may only get  15-20 horses at a time…

At that point the horses would need to be evaluated, microchipped and freeze branded ( freeze brand because its an easy first sight way to identify the horse), that would let people know that they were microchipped and from FP.

Local and I actually agree on the low stress method is the only way to go. He seems to care “

Another report from someone (E.D.) on base said that they “saw 50%of the horses hiding in the woods .. they acted like they knew they were being hunted.”

10/23/15 Follow Up Communication with Ft Polk on FOIA #1 via Email

10/24/2015 We have had reports from locals of people going on base at night with empty horse trailers. maroon dodge 3/4 ton when I’ve been seeing him… but when my bf thought he saw him he was in a black 3/4-ton dodge, pulling 4-6 horse trailer. between the dates of 21st-23rd of this mth. Also the base is open till the 31st for removal per another local

 10/25/2015 Video Post of My Visit to Peason Ridge https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/videos/1507454736218240/?autoplay_reason=all_page_organic_allowed&video_container_type=0&video_creator_product_type=0&app_id=6628568379

10/28/2015 Video of DoubleS Kill Pen aka Thompson Feed Lot, which is located less than 15 miles from South end of Fort Polk. Near the Fullerton Entrance. back of Drop Zone https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/videos/1508210539475993/

Reports of 4 trailer loads of horses leaving base per local kill buyers Jacob Thompson.

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/pcb.1508209436142770/1508209186142795/?type=3&theater

10/28/2015 FOIA #1 Response ( All copies redacted personal identifiable info)

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 10/30/2015 Response from Dept of Army re Letters sent 9/15/2015

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11/01/2015 LA Governors Run Off Race

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Here is John Bel Edwards during run off election posing with Ian Somerhalder (movie star, Louisiana native, and Horse advocate – IS Foundation)

In the following pictures you will see Honorable John Bel Edwards whose ENTIRE campaign was based on one word “INTEGRITY” …. Acknowledging the Heritage of these herds.


Nov 2015 – Article in Sabine Parish paper  https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1542865662677147

11/4/2015 Launched WordPress website https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/

11/4/2015 Update

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11/5/2015 Fort Polk Acknowledge Receipt of FOIA #1

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11/12/2015 Reports of Fort Polk Horses possibly at Bastrop Kill Pen https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1511683942461986

John Bel Edwards recognizes them as Heritage Herds https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1511735325790181/?type=3&theater

11/16/2015 Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) is officially recognized as a nonprofit in the state of LA

Evanescent Mustang Sanctuary Rescues Mare and Foal suspected of coming from Fort Polk

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1512732195690494/?type=3&theater

11/17/2015 Kill Buyers selling horses he caught at Fort Polk https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1513001255663588

11/19/2015 Video post https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1513408128956234

11/20/2015 Former Board Member General Honore joins John Bel Edwards transition team as he takes Governor’s office.

12/03/2015 Cease & Desist

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12/09/2015 Another Horse caught by Local Kill Buyer.. I ended up paying for her and a local took her in.

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1518551491775231

12/11/2015 Statement from US Senator Bill Cassidy https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1519040831726297/?type=3&theater

John Bel Edwards pre Governor win posting like he is going to help these horses. https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1519103871719993

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1519626931667687/?type=3&theater

12/12/2015 PEGA WordPress Update https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/press-release-fort-polk-horses-in-kisatchie-national-forest/

12/14/2015 Tulane Environmental Law FOIA sent

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12/15/2015  Urging public to comment before End Of Comment Persion 12/21/2015 https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1520219948275052/?type=3&theater

12/18/2015  More public land in works for northern Louisiana hunters…

http://www.knoe.com/home/headlines/More-public-land-in-works-for-northern-Louisiana-hunters-362978231.html?device=phone&c=y

12/26/2015 Update https://www.facebook.com/notes/kim-sheppard/fort-polk-peason-ridge-kisatchie-region-free-roaming-herdspart-of-louisiana-hist/1032886806757109

 12/29/2015 Update https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/fort-polk-kisatchie-equines-are-disappearing-in-danger-exposure-needed/

01/08/2016 Statement from Senator Bill Cassidy https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1528639454099768/?type=3&theater

 1/13/2016 Communication on FOIA #1

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1/25/2016 Kill Buyer crew bragging about catching Colts https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1533679760262404/?type=3&theater

2/4/2016 https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1536768576620189

2/16/2016 ALDF Submits FOIA request to Army

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2/21/2016 New Commanding General Announced https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1542477612715952

2/24/2016 Statement received from Congressman Charles W. Boustany Jr.
supporting the humane and ethical treatment the free-roaming #horses on Fort Polk Army Base in Kisatchie National Forest. https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1543443562619357/?type=3&theater

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2/26/2016 Army Responds to FOIA#1

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3/2/2016 History of Horses in Louisiana Area https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1546324592331254

3/4/2016 Communication FOIA #1

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3/9/2016 WordPress Update https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/save-the-historic-free-roaming-wild-horses-of-kisatchie-national-forest/

3/12/2016 Louisiana Lt Governor, Billy Nungesser statement https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1549686095328437/?type=3&theater

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 3/16/2016 Tulane sent Follow Up Letter to Army regarding Tulane-FOIA

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3/21/2016 FOIA #1 Communication

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4/7/2016 Army Replies to Tulane’s Follow Up letter re: Tulane-FOIA

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4/7/2016 Army Send Acknowledgement re ALDF-FOIA – Assigned case # FA16-0793

4/28/2016 Environmental Assessment released. Open Public Comment Period Initiates

Final Environmental Assessment located HERE: http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/Main_Page_Docs/Trespass_Horses/Final_Environmental_Assessment_for_Trespass_Horses_28APR16_ver2.pdf

 Summary of EA 04/28/16

Enviromental Assessment Facebook Update

If you ALL have not read the EA from Fort Polk I strongly suggest you at least look at the following pages.

Proposed Course of Action (COA) pages 36-47

Review of Comments (table) pages 197-201

Comments to Leave Them Alone w/ Suggestions pages 224-541

Hand Written Comments pages 542-548  ***Featuring Warren Tommy Driggers & Jacob Thompson***

State Rep Comments pages 562-563

Comment for NO ACTION 603-773

Recorded Phone Comments pages 774-781

Oh… and then there are the Examples of Horses Causing Issues… which all occured after Nov 7th. Which was the same timeframe of the *suspected* Army chasing the horses out of the Drop Zone into NorthFort..
This all played out online and MANY MANY locals called them out on this…. stating in all the years theyve lived on base they have NEVER seen a horse out in that area…. (well documented conversations on the JRTC Fort Polk Facebook page)

5/1/2016 Article in Leesville Leader Newspaper https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1569364720027241

http://www.leesvilledailyleader.com/news/20160430/fort-polk-drafts-plan-for-getting-rid-of-trespass-horses#loadComment

5/1/2016 COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED by Army to 06/17/16! Please comment, help preserve Fort Polk, Peason Ridge, Kisatchie HERITAGE HERDS. https://www.facebook.com/notes/kim-sheppard/comment-period-extended-by-army-to-061716-please-comment-help-preserve-fort-polk/1105248426187613

5/5/2015 New Commanding General, out with McGuire.. in with Brito

http://www.leesvilledailyleader.com/news/20160505/gen-brito-takes-command-at-fort-polk

5/10/2016 RT Fitch https://rtfitchauthor.com/2016/05/10/alert-fort-polk-wild-horses-in-serious-jeopardy/

5/14/2016 Open Letter https://www.facebook.com/notes/fort-polk-horses-of-kisatchie/protect-louisianas-free-roaming-horses-today/1573567009607012

5/15/2016 Interesting post with Comments from Army PAO Troy Darr https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1573967059567007

5/20/2016 Discovered why some individuals could not get the comments submitted by email.

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1575492616081118

IF YOU HAVE HUGHES.net ARMY MAY NOT HAVE RECEIVED YOUR EMAIL!!!!!

It has just come to my attention the The Dept of Defense does not recognize Hughes.net or various other satellite type computer addresses.
“I had requested information from them WHY I cannot reply or send to them and this is what I got : 
hughes.net has not been cleared yet by Defense IT and he can’t get emails through to mail.mil”

 5/30/2016 Update https://www.facebook.com/notes/fort-polk-horses-of-kisatchie/army-intends-to-get-rid-of-historic-herds-at-fort-polk-kisatchie-ntl-forest-loui/1572431449720568

6/2/2016 ADLF Submits Comments

Letter: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaWnExQUpDcTNxRzM0dG9TUmYxZEl0b3I0Ry1V

Exhibit: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaT3VFNzRxcGpKTFU

6/4/2016 PURPOSE & OBJECTIVES -Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/purpose-and-objectives-of-pegasus-equine-guardian-association/

6/17/2016 Deadline for Public Comment on Recent EA

061716

6/17/2016 ALDF Comments – Round 2

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaU0pQbl8teFJ4UG8

6/21/2016 Animal Coalition ( ALDF ) Condemns Army’s Cruel Plan to Eliminate Horses http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/interview-opportunity-animal-coalition-condemns-armys-cruel-plan-to-eliminate-horses/

6/21/2016 Article from West Central Blast http://www.westcentralsbest.com/news/national-animal-legal-advocacy-group-opposes-army-s-plan-to/article_014efcd0-37cd-11e6-9c86-fbf34ad9f8e8.html

6/28/2016 Did you know that Kisatchie National Forest is comprised of 7 Louisiana parishes?A grand total of 604,000 acres! All of these parishes fall under 2 Congressional Members!

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/photos/a.1485004461796601.1073741830.1484973435133037/1588580578105655/?type=3&theater

7/6/2016 Army Responds to Tulane-FOIA

Link to 515 pages if partially redacted comments from Public Comment period ending Sept 2015

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B804-evSOOXaSGxacUJkT2xNRlE

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7/10/2016 Article from The Alternative Daily http://www.thealternativedaily.com/united-states-army-vs-feral-horses/

8/12/2016 Louisiana has Historical Flooding

8/15/2016 Army Announces “Final Decision”- COA 7

https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/posts/1605064139790632

U.S. Army’s Removal Plan Designed to Benefit the Kill Buyer COA 7

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8/17/2016 Update Article by Kim Sheppard

https://www.facebook.com/notes/fort-polk-horses-of-kisatchie/immediate-press-release-fort-polk-army-base-louisiana-contributes-to-suffering-b/1605304656433247

8/30/2016 Fort Polks 501c3 List http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/trespass_horses.html

9/5/2016 https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/u-s-armys-removal-plan-designed-to-benefit-the-kill-buyer-coa-7/

9/10/2016 Meeting in Leesville among locals and concerned citizens

10/9/2016 http://www.leesvilledailyleader.com/news/20161008/making-sense-of-fort-polk-horses-plan

10/21/2016 https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/press-release-horse-welfare-advocates-looking-for-a-long-term-ethical-plan-to-ensure-the-protection-of-louisianas-heritage-horses/

Our Concerns…..

As many of you already know Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) has come to the aid of the horses at Fort Polk for Round Up #1. We are grateful to have such a well-respected animal organization working with the Army.
HSNT is known for their hard work and dedication to help at risk Horses.

However, concern still exists for the future of the Louisiana Wild Horses. Knowing that the horse market is already flooded with healthy horses, we can assert that the minute the horses enter the horse market their risk for ending up in auctions and eventually slaughterhouses increases substantially.
While we applaud attempts by organizations to assist, It is a huge under-taking with no longer term ethical solution that truly considers the welfare of the horses and that is where our concern comes from.

For example, many of the BLM placed horses end-up in the slaughter pipeline. The BLM has approximately 55,000 horses and 11,000 burros that they have been taking from public lands and have been keeping (for years) in holding facilities awaiting adoption.

Also, Considering the recent round up of what seems to be mostly mares and yearlings from the Training grounds at Fort Polk by the Army we feel that the remaining horses, including many stallions are in grave danger.

Based on the army’s COA 7, ( as we understand it…because many specifics are unclear )

Each cycle interval includes the following steps.
Of the total horses captured for that interval… horses will go to:
1) 501c3
“If” there are any remaining horses from that capture interval:
2) Give-away
“If” there are any remaining horses from that capture interval:
3) Sold at auction

We don’t know how many were captured
We don’t how many of the captured horses are being taken by HSNT (because they are still in holding, on base, pending vetting)
And it is still unknown how many horses will remain from this capture after HSNT takes and what will their fate be?

 11/16/16 https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/advocates-oppose-wild-horse-removal-program/

12/12/16 Report from KTBS (abc affiliate) 15 more Horses Rounded Up at Fort Polk

http://www.ktbs.com/story/34032864/rescuing-wild-horses-at-ft-polk

12/14/16 Amy Hanchey on Wild Horse and Burro radio Hosted by RT Fitch Pres of Wild Horse Freedom Federation – Listen by clicking link below.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2016/12/15/amy-hanchey-of-pegasus-equine-guardian-save-wild-horses-fort-polk-lousiana

12/14/16 PEGA rep by Tulane Files Lawsuit https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/lawsuit-filed-to-protect-louisianas-wild-horses/

http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/news/2016/12/15/fort-polk-horses/95479168/

Facebook  https://facebook.com/FortPolkHorsesPEGA/

WordPress  https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com

Tulane Environmental Law Clinic Receives Response to FOIA Request for Comment period ending September 2015

Tulane Environmental Law Clinic Receives Response to FOIA Request for Comment period ending September 2015

fpTulane Environmental Law Clinic  submitted a request for information to U.S. Army regarding the proposed elimination of horses on  December 14th, 2015 in reference to the First comment period ending September 6th, 2015 . After a few follow up letters the Army responded on July 6th, 2016.

TELC FOIA Request 2015 12 14

Army Response to TELC 2016 07 06

070616 Army FOIA Res Comment peiord ending in august 2015

ALDF and Tulane Environmental Law act on behalf of PEGA and the Horses at U.S. Army base in Fort Polk, Louisiana

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Please see the attached letter from Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to Fort Polk. This letter is part of the Public Comments regarding the U.S. Army’s  Final Environmental Assessment and proposed Elimination of Horses at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

This public commenting period , was extended to June 17th, 2016.

ALDF Comments 06022016

Tulane Environmental Law Clinic  submitted a request for information to U.S. Army regarding the proposed elimination of horses on  December 14th, 2015 in reference to the First comment period ending September 6th, 2015 . After a few follow up letters the Army responded on July 6th, 2016.

TELC FOIA Request 2015 12 14

Army Response to TELC 2016 07 06

070616 Army FOIA Res Comment peiord ending in august 2015

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#pega #telc #aldf #fphk #louisiana #fortpolk #kisatchie #savewildhorses #horses

Proposal to Protect Heritage Horses at Louisiana Army Base – Fort Polk

Proposal to Protect Louisiana’s Heritage Horses

In response to a 2016 Environmental Assessment regarding the Army’s proposed elimination of our Louisiana Heritage Horses a copy of a proposal submitted by Pegasus Equine Guardian Association to the US Army at Fort Polk Army Base on June 16th, 2016. 

JRTC and Fort Polk, Public Affairs Office
Attention: Public Response
7033 Magnolia Drive Bldg. 4919
Fort Polk, LA 71459

To whom it may concern:

Members of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) would like the opportunity to address and assist in the issues surrounding the presence of free-roaming horses in the Fort Polk/Peason Ridge areas and including, but not limited to, Kisatchie National Forest. PEGA is a Louisiana based group, for that reason we can actively participate with Fort Polk in doing what is in best interests for the entire Fort Polk community.  We have gained the backing and support of an internationally recognized organization, Animal Legal Defense Fund, ALDF.

Our recommendations in this proposal are focused on mitigating any negative impacts that may be precipitated by the horses’ presence while retaining the positive values that the horses can bring to the area.

Objective:

This group would respectfully request that you work with us to form a board consisting of representation from Fort Polk, the Peason community, local / state law enforcement, Kisatchie National Forest Services, PEGA, and other equine advocacy groups, as well as equine veterinarians from accredited veterinarian schools to manage the free-roaming horses. We believe members appointed from each of these groups would provide fair representation for the military, the community, Kisatchie Forest, and providing a much needed Voice for the horses. Management decisions about the horses would be evaluated and decided by the members of this board and ALDF other national based organization

Proposed responsibilities of the board:

  1. Address road and other safety concerns for military and civilian persons, as well as safety concerns for the horses.
  2. Ensure treatment of horses in humane and ethical ways that would exclude mass roundups, or individual roundups which will result in injury and death to the horses and possible kill buyer destinations for those horses that are captured.
  3. Establish ways to control and preserve the horse herds long-term in their homelands of FortPolk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie National Forest, allowing them to peacefully co-exist with Fort Polk military and civilians of the local areas such as Peason, and the rural communities near Kisatchie National Forests’ 604,000 acres and Fort Polk. Military lands now approach 100,000 acres. Surely remote areas can be provided that will allow the horses to remain free, yet not endanger the valuable military training exercises that the soldiers participate in. We seek to find those ways together.
  4. Determine what organizations are best suited to assist in any and all future Environmental Assessments and long term management of the horses and work with those organizations.
  5. Work closely with a veterinary school such as LSU Vet School or Texas A&M to develop a NON-Permanent birth control program suitable for the horses that will prevent the herds from increasing in number.
  6. Explore, develop, and implement fund raising programs and that will benefit the management of the horses. Seeking sponsorship from suitable donors.

PEGA would like to form and maintain a cooperative working relationship with the US Army at Fort Polk, the Kisatchie Forest Service, and local authorities and citizens to create and implement the appropriate protocols by which to manage the area for the benefit of the community, recreation, the environment, free-roaming horses and future generations.

We believe we can provide a win/win solution for all parties involved; including the horses as a protected natural resource.

Our approach will be from a conservation point of view. We believe this is the best way to support a positive image and reputation of the Fort Polk base, Kisatchie National Forest, the outlying areas, and the State of Louisiana as a whole.

We believe that our plan, if accepted and implemented, will bring about a positive impact to not only Fort Polk Base, but USFS at Kisatchie and surrounding parishes as a whole. In doing this, Fort Polk would set a precedent of protecting its soldiers and their training exercises while paying tribute to a longstanding herd of wild horses, perhaps descended from military cavalry horses and homesteaders of the area who lost their homes, horses, and other livestock when they were seized by the military to support the World War II effort on behalf of our country.

Choosing to protect both the soldiers and the horses can become a tremendous positive image builder for the military — and especially Fort Polk — nationwide. Imagine, for a moment, the good will that can be brought about (and publicized by the media) of a military base that trains soldiers for protecting our country and also has compassion for horses whose ancestors and heritage families have already given so much to our country.

This area of Louisiana is especially rich in national heritage and is known for its love of freedom, love of country and love of kin. Louisiana and this central Louisiana area are hugely patriotic and supportive of the military.  We are also proud of our history and our heritage. These horses are an important part of the history, culture, and heritage of this area.

Please join us in developing a plan to improve and protect the quality of life for all concerned: the brave soldiers who serve our country, the civilians who live in the area, and the free horses that also have made their home on these vast acres for the past 75 years.

Horses have been shown to have profound effects on people, often life changing as seen from the Wounded Warriors Equestrian programs already established at other bases.

Consider, for example, an article published in 2012 on www.army.mil.

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (June 12, 2012) — Approximately 175 post traumatic stress disorders have been treated by a unique form of therapy, called the Wounded Warriors suffering from physical wounds, traumatic brain injuries, and Therapeutic Riding Program. The Therapeutic Riding Program, or TRP, uses soldiers and horses from the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), to provide equine assisted therapy for Wounded Warriors and military veterans. Those soldiers enrolled in this program groom, conduct ground work, and/or ride horses.

“When we started this program in 2006 on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, we did many studies on the effects of this treatment. The facts don’t lie, this is a great program,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Pence, co-founder of Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program.

“The physical, emotional and therapeutic benefits for these Wounded Warriors are great as they continue in the process of their rehabilitation.”

“If I had the power to take all the 300,000 or however many soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury and put them in formation in an arena and snap your fingers to heal them all I would, but you can’t do that. It is a process and sometimes a long one, but as long as we are helping one Soldier, then it is all worth it,” said Pence. “For me, it is a pleasure to watch the character and courage of these young men and women in this program. It is really remarkable.”

Our group believes a possible move in this direction could generate positive outcomes for soldiers: past, present, & future as well as the community, bringing positive attention and investment in the Folk Polk base. This can be accomplished by partnering with PATH International; The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.)  which promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.

In conjunction with Wounded Warriors Equestrian Program, this program is the place where Veterans and Service Members come to train, learn to train, and be with horses of all disciplines. All money raised supports Therapeutic Riding Facilities and Horse Rescue Farms across the United States. Come be a part of something great in working with Professional Military members and Professional Horsemen giving back to their communities through their love of horses.

Our multi-pronged approach to horse management would be to assess and determine which horses are suitable for becoming a therapy horses. These horses could be part of an outreach program partnering with the previously mentioned, well respected, successful entities. This approach would all make it possible to allow adoption of horses, burros, etc. from the herd, if the management group agrees.  This would be a function of this management group to determine if certain animals are adoptable, and to work carefully to ensure that people meet certain adoption criteria (such as vet. references), experienced horse owners, even therapy groups such as Old River Horse Farm in Natchitoches.  We would be in favor of adoption as a way of managing the herd and keeping total size of herd down.  We cannot allow them to keep multiplying on to infinity.  Adoption is one management tool to control herd size.

While we realize that this would address only a portion of the issues surrounding the free-roaming horses, the true wild horses can add value to USFS at Kisatchie & Fort Polk Army Base. The value added by maintaining the wild horse herd(s) would positively impact all parties involved. By protecting, preserving and managing the Fort Polk’s Historic Horse Herd, please consider the following value and benefits:

  • -Recreational Value
  • -Aesthetic value
  • -Ecological value
  • -Financial value
  • -Tourism value
  • -Emotional/Psychological/Physical health value
  • -Historical and cultural value
  • -Educational value
  • -Scientific value
  • -Genetic value
  • -Evolutionary value/uniqueness of the Herd
  • -Value of their lives

The board would work closely with Fort Polk to obtain resources needed for additional boundary implementation and boundary repair to restrict the horses from dangerous areas that would interfere with military training with the input, cooperation and guidance of US Army, USFS, and local authorities.

This would also allow us to address the concerns of the hunters by assessing and tracking the natural movement and location of the free-roaming horses, providing relative and timely communication with USFS Kisatchie, local law enforcement and Fort Polk officials. There are great strides in technology, such as GPS tracking systems that may assist us with this aspect.

We will also gladly work with all relevant parties to address and solve the ongoing horse-dumping issue, which has only exacerbated the population issues. Without addressing the horse dumping issues, we know the problem will only continue.

We implore you to finally accomplish what so many before have struggled to do; devise and execute an ethical and humane solution to the equine presence in Kisatchie / Fort Polk / Peason Ridge that allows the military, the civilians of the area, along with the free-roaming horses to peacefully and safely co-exist.

No other animal in history has served our country as horses have. Horses helped write our nation’s history. Please protect the free-roaming horses of Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie. Please do not let this be another example of the destruction of what America and patriotism mean to us. We respectfully request that you join us in an initiative to preserve our heritage, protect our free roaming horses, protect our soldiers, and the patriotic members of the areas where the horses roam.  This situation deserves professional assessment by multiple organizations and serious consideration for safe sanctuary.

As shown by the public support we gained with upwards of 5,444 social media followers as well as the online petition to Congress that has generated over 6,000 letters and e-mails to Congress highlighting the public opinion on the matter. This number is steadily growing.

We hope you will hear the message of all these people who want the horses to be saved and protected on their homelands — not eliminated or eradicated or removed. Primary partnering organizations are Louisiana and regional area based groups, for that reason we can actively participate with Fort Polk in doing what is in best interests for the entire Fort Polk community.  

In closing we would like to echo Col. Charles Hancock Reed, 2nd Cavalry Group (Mech.), Commander, 1945 explaining his decision to save the Lipizzaner horses in “Operation Cowboy”

“We were so tired of death and destruction; we wanted to do something beautiful.”

Please echo his sentiment and give us the opportunity to do something beautiful together.

(Excerpt From: Menyhert, Renita. “Ernie Pyle Was My Hero.” Xlibris, 2012-09-07.)

Sincerely,

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association


 

ALDF Lends a Voice to Save Louisiana Horses

Animal Coalition Condemns Army’s Cruel Plan to Eliminate Horses

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http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/interview-opportunity-animal-coalition-condemns-armys-cruel-plan-to-eliminate-horses/

Posted on June 21, 2016

“For Immediate Release

Contacts: Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, nlima@aldf.org, 201-679-7088

LAFAYETTE, LA – A coalition of animal protection groups is speaking out against the Army’s new plan to address the longstanding population of hundreds of horses whose home includes land on Fort Polk. Despite public outcry, the Army released a plan that aims to eliminate the population of horses over a period of three years. A coalition led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund—the leading legal advocacy organization for animals—condemns the plan, which it says is unrealistic and will result in slaughter for many of the horses.

Despite the horses’ decades of presence at Fort Polk, the Army maintains that they impact training operations and must be removed. The proposed plan involves a cycle of processes to be repeated with groups of about 20 horses until no horses remain. Starting with a 10-day window offering horses to nonprofit animal groups, then a 7-day window for the general public, then offering the horses for sale before starting over with another set of horses.

The coalition notes numerous flaws in the Army’s plan, starting with failure to adequately or accurately research the horses. Without a solid grasp on population, movement patterns, and the difference between truly wild horses and abandoned domesticated horses, the Army cannot possibly devise viable management plans or sufficient alternatives. Under the proposed plan, the 10-day window offered to nonprofit groups is an unacceptably small and the area’s nonprofits simply do not have the capacity for the horses.

Last December the coalition submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the army regarding their information on the origins and roaming patterns of the horses at Fort Polk, as well as information about the outcome of horses that have already been removed. The Army still has not provided these documents. “This information is critical to developing any successful strategy for managing these horses, and the public cannot meaningfully evaluate and comment on the Army’s proposed plan without it,” says Tulane University Law School Environmental Law Clinical Instructor Machelle Hall.

Under the current plan the Army will essentially offer the horses up for slaughter to for-profit horse traders, as the general public has expressed little interest in purchasing the horses.  An Army representative has previously admitted that there is no intention or ability to follow up on the horses and ensure adherence to the mandate that the horses not be sold for slaughter.

“Equine experts have come forward offering help with plans that would deter other horses from high impact training areas, and it is inexcusable that the Army is proceeding with a plan that appears to value the horses but in reality sends them to slaughter,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells.

For more information, please visit aldf.org.

ON CAMERA/IN STUDIO INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY:

Emily Posner
Emily Posner received her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2013.  Her practice provides high-level criminal defense, civil rights and environmental justice services.  For two years she worked as the Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Recirculating Farms Coalition, in New Orleans. At RFC, Emily coordinated various policy initiatives related to agriculture and fishery issues.  While at Loyola she was awarded the 2013 Public Service Award from the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center and the 2010 Roger Baldwin Award from the Maine Civil Liberties Union.

Contact info:
emilyposnerlaw@gmail.com; 207-930-5232

About The Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org 

Article from: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/interview-opportunity-animal-coalition-condemns-armys-cruel-plan-to-eliminate-horses/

 

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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


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

PURPOSE & OBJECTIVES -Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

PURPOSE & OBJECTIVES -Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA)

Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie is a Facebook community that has featured issues about the equines at Fort Polk Army Base, Peason Ridge (northwest of Fort Polk base) and Kisatchie National Park(northeast of Fort Polk base); as well as the area’s rich historical place in the expansion of early Louisiana.

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, (PEGA) a registered Louisiana Non Profit organization formed to help protect these animals. With an awareness that wild equines are MUCH BETTER left in the wild in their natural areas such the Kisatchie Region, PEGA continues to seek APPROPRIATE solutions, both with their welfare and their preservation as part of Louisiana’s HERITAGE in mind.

~There has been an increase of caring people inquiring and commenting about adopting the horses. It is a huge responsibility and life-long commitment to socialize a wild horse to living in civilization, local boarding stables may not have the proper facilities for them. For example, a stall with a turnout and containment of plastic fence or barbed wire is NOT safe, nor natural for their metabolism as migratory grazers. They can get injured, or escape. 5-6 acres realistically require continued financial resources for round bales, water, mineral to supplement the hay, manure management and insect control.
~It’s important to consider that un-handled or wild horses can be unpredictable, not easily worked with, and may increase liability and historically are not adoptable to the general public for long-term success. There is a difference between a horse lover and a successful wild horse adopter. Many a mustang taken from a wild state and adopted to well-meaning compassionate people has been foundered, injured or ended up in bad hands, at auction or a kill lot. Liability is high and it takes expertise, safety knowledge and continued resources for their appropriate care.
~Patience and time to interact with these horses daily by those who understand NATURAL HORSE BEHAVIOR as opposed to “horse training” will be most successful in acclimating wild or range bred equines to their new lifestyle. While some horses may be tamer and in need of assistance, secure, safe fencing, along with skills & experience to safely handle, feed, care for, socialize, adopt and conduct long term follow up on these these animals at *appropriate homes* should also be seriously considered.
~A 501c3 is a *tax status* and DOES NOT guarantee appropriate care or long term safety! There are dedicated non-profits that do good work as well. Therefore, seek and follow the advice and experience of *reputable rescues and sanctuaries that have been helping large animals (wild and domestic) to a better life over time. These dedicated individuals and professionals will likely explain the realities and challenges of working with rescued horses. Rescuing is a labor of love~ it requires time and resource sacrifices and is an important life decision not only for the animals, but for adopters as well as their families.
~For these reasons and because of the reduced numbers of the Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie area equines, PEGA and others hope many can stay in their wild setting and restricted from some of Fort Polk’s land or possibly be relocated to a safer area. A LARGER adequate sized land parcel or sanctuary, with adequate fencing, forage nutrition, water, and shelter-according to climate, would allow the kind of life they are more accustomed to.
~Lastly, while Pegasus Equine Guardian Association may *independently coordinate assistance for some animals as needed, PEGA is not affiliated with nor does it sanction any individuals or rescue groups inquiring with the army about adoption, independently raising funds, coordinating transportation, or proceeding with adoption efforts.
PEGA’s efforts can be followed at: https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com

PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
“To preserve and protect the horses and other equine animals that exist on the lands of Fort Polk (including the Peason Ridge area) and lands of the Kisatchie National Forest; to promote and establish rescue mechanisms and sanctuaries for wild or other equine animals; to facilitate programs related to the rescue of said equines in the event that their removal from Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and the Kisatchie National Forest becomes necessary. The donations can be used for any of the following purposes: Future rescue, fostering and adoption efforts, feed, hay, water, veterinary care or other equine care, resources, supplies or equipment, purchasing/leasing of facilities, shelter, land or equine transportation; as well as advocating for enforcement of Animal Cruelty Laws through legal assistance; to advocate for proper welfare and stewardship of wild or abandoned equine animals (e.g., horses, mules, donkeys, and related animals) wherever they may be found, initially and specifically including those equine animals that exist within Ft. Polk (Louisiana), its training areas, including the main post and the Peason Ridge training area, and all such U.S.. Military controlled lands in the area, and the lands of the Kisatchie National Forest, especially that part adjacent to Ft. Polk lands, and where wild or abandoned equine animals may roam. PEGA regards that the animals of concern to it are primarily free-roaming or abandoned equines, whether branded or not, that range upon any lands, but especially those under the purview of the U.S. Military, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but not excluding such animals that range upon other lands. PEGA shall further pursue objectives including: to endeavor to prove the eligibility for special protection as wild-free roaming wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, or to prove that wild horses descended from historical American stock, such as Colonial Spanish Horses or Indian “mustangs”, or horses native to geographical areas which are regarded as a special part of our American heritage and history; to prevent animal cruelty and abuse in any handling or transportation of equine animals, and to assure that none go to slaughter; to advocate for, and sue on behalf of, members of PEGA who have a special interest in and connection to equine animals indicated above, any individuals who are of, or descended from, the “Heritage Families”, whose land was acquired from them by the U.S. Government for the purpose of establishing Ft. Polk, American Indians, and others; and to facilitate communication with, and make recommendations to the “Heritage Families”, other individuals with an interest in the equines, and all government departments, including the U.S. Military, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture, that have jurisdiction of the lands on which the equines roam. Additionally, PEGA regards that the animals of concern to it are primarily free-roaming or abandoned equines, whether branded or not, that range upon any lands, but especially those under the purview of the U.S. Military, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but not excluding such animals that range upon other lands on which the equines roam.”

Follow and support PEGA at https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/


By Kimberly Sheppard. This Note will be updated as needed.

Summary of Final Environmental Assessment for the Elimination of Trespass Horses on Fort Polk, Louisiana

 

Summary of Final Environmental Assessment for the Elimination of Trespass Horses on Fort Polk, Louisiana

If you ALL have not read the EA from Fort Polk I strongly suggest you at least look at the following pages.

Proposed Course of Action (COA) pages 36-47

Review of Comments (table) pages 197-201

Comments to Leave Them Alone w/ Suggestions pages 224-541

Hand Written Comments *Featuring Warren Tommy Driggers & Jacob Thompson pages 542-548

State Rep Comments pages 562-563

Comment for NO ACTION 603-773

Recorded Phone Comments pages 774-781

Oh… and then there are the Examples of Horses Causing Issues… which all occured after Nov 7th. Which was the same timeframe of the *suspected* Army chasing the horses out of the Drop Zone into NorthFort..
This all played out online and MANY MANY locals called them out on this…. stating in all the years they’ve lived on base they have NEVER seen a horse out in that area…. (well documented conversations on the JRTC Fort Polk Facebook page)

Final Environmental Assessment for the Elimination of Trespass Horses on Fort Polk, Louisiana

Protect Louisiana’s Free Roaming Horses TODAY!

URGENT ACTION REQUEST
Below is a letter template you can use. All you have to do is copy/paste/PERSONALIZE/email.
Please feel free to use the below as your template letter for PUBLIC COMMENT to the Fort Polk Public Affairs Office . You may use all or some, or personalize it as you see fit.
Email Addresses Below:
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil
kisatchiehorses@gmail.com
edwardsj@legis.la.gov
ltgov@crt.la.gov
email@billynungesser.com
Public Comment in response to EA 2016 – Horses
Dear Sirs,
I am writing to request that horses in Kisatchie National Forest be saved. Many citizens would like to see these free-roaming horses either remain in the areas they naturally migrate to or be relocated to another area of Kisatchie National Forest where they will be safe and unharmed. With over 600,000 acres, there must be a place for them. Firstly, I’d like to say, that before machinery, these horses WERE YOUR ARMY. They are to be honored, not dishonored in any way. Dog patrols get more honor these days.
Our Free-Roaming horses should NOT be captured by HORSE TRADERS that sell horses for SLAUGHTER nor Subject to sale barns. After purchased at Sale Barns they end up in Feed Lots for a few days up to 2 weeks, then to crowded trucks in their own waste, with no food nor water, in extreme heat or cold to be transported across borders to be slaughtered.
 
The Kisatchie 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. Heritage Family members reported for decades that horses and mules were loosed when families left after their farms and land were taken for Camp Polk’s military training use in the 1930s. Hundreds that belonged to these families served as remounts or hauled equipment at Camp Polk because of the shortage of Cavalry Horses. Unlike Cavalry Horses that were retired at Fort Riley, KS, some remounts that survived the rigors of their work were reportedly loosed when the army no longer had use for them and were never given the recognition they deserved. Their history is so much richer than their ties to the military. Herds roamed the Kisatchie National Forest before and after the WWI and WWII eras and those toward the more remote Peason Ridge area are a smaller Spanish type and though some like them are also found down by Fort Polk, they may have been there much longer. There is no evidence that the horses ever left, other than being destroyed or removed by horse trader/ kill buyers. It has already been stated by the army on hard copy paper that the horses (or their ancestors) were once owned by heritage families. Citizens are concerned over the inhumane treatment and injury the horses were subjected to because of the army’s unregulated capture program and feel this is a shameful legacy that General McGuire left behind. There is also much concern that depleted numbers of horses (than had originally been reported) have been observed for several months now. Kisatchie National Forest is not just for hunters, it is for many who observe all of its beauty and the animals in their natural setting.
Horses were in the Kisatchie long before there was Fort Polk. They are Kisatchie Region Heritage animals and are part of the area’s history that in it’s depressed economy, Louisiana can be proud of. While most of the horses should remain in their wild setting, 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. Many do not support removals or destroying horses which others do not understand or respect.
Please reconsider humane, respectful solutions for these animals, other than having them removed and going to uncertain futures. The horses’ history goes back much further than their ties to military, it is SO IMPORTANT people begin to understand and echo this. They are Kisatchie Region HERITAGE ANIMALS. For many reasons, gelding or permanent sterilization of horses that are left to live in the wild is *NOT* a solution
Respectfully,
<Sign Your Name>
 
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