Legislation Protecting Salt River Horses Becomes Law

The bill protects the feral horses and places them under Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and USFS jurisdiction.

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Legislation protecting the Salt River horse herd and placing the animals under local and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) jurisdiction has become law in Arizona.

Since 1971, Congress has federally protected wild horses and burros and placed them under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction. However, feral horses, such as the Salt River herd, derived from domestic horses that were turned out or escaped their owners are not covered by the federal law.

The Salt River herd gained national attention in August 2015 when the USFS said it would impound unauthorized horses found roaming the Tonto National Forest’s Salt River area on grounds that the animals presented a public safety hazard when they crossed highways and recreation areas. The USFS later agreed to indefinitely postpone the impound until an alternative solution could be found.

In January Arizona State Representative Kelly Townsend introduced HB 2340, which makes it unlawful to harass, shoot, injure, or slaughter a Salt River horse and places the animals under the jurisdiction of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and the USFS. The legislation also states that The legislation also states that no one can capture or euthanize a member of the herd without written authorization from either of those agencies; the agencies can only grant permission when their authorization for humane purposes

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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