Legal representation for Nevada’s Association of Counties (NACO) is moving forward with an appeal to U.S. District Judge Miranda Du’s decision dismissing the 2013 lawsuit filed by the association of counties against the U.S. Department of Interior and BLM. The lawsuit requested an injunction to require the BLM to manage the horse and burro populations as required by federal law.   
“Obviously we’re disappointed,” said NACO Executive Director, Jeff Fontaine, after the judge granted a motion by wild horse advocates to dismiss the case. 
The NACO Executive Board met last month to determine what the next step might be, and the decision was confirmed to appeal the ruling dismissing the lawsuit.
“We do have a contract with our attorney Mark Pollot, for under $10,000 but there will be additional costs, filing fees and other expenses,” said Fontaine. “When we entered into this, we certainly looked at the very real possibility that the case would have to be appealed.”
Fontaine said the case will now move to the Ninth Circuit Court.
NACO and the Nevada Farm Bureau filed suit Dec. 30, 2014, against the BLM and Department of the Interior, on the grounds that expanding wild horse populations were detrimental to the range and to all the animals that use that range — including permitted cattle, wildlife, and the horses themselves. The suit said damage caused by horse herds didn’t allow for multiple use on public land.
“The NACO/Farm Bureau lawsuit simply asked the BLM to follow the Wild Horse and Burro Act as it currently stands, and manage wild horses as called for in the Act so multiple use can continue on Nevada’s public lands,” said Lorinda Wichman, Nye County commissioner and this year’s president of NACO. 
Wichman said many of those who fight so hard against management activities that comply with the Wild Horse and Burro Act often live far from the issue.
“Every time wild horse issues come up, I get emails from wild horse advocates on the east coast and even from other countries,” she commented. “Their heart is in the right place; I love seeing Nevada’s wild horses running free too, but I hate to see a newborn colt who doesn’t have the strength to stand because there is no water or food.”
Wild horse advocates requested to step into the lawsuit between NACO/Farm Bureau and Department of Interior/BLM.
President and founder of Wild Horse Education Laura Leigh filed a motion in the District Court saying her interests were not represented by either side in the lawsuit. In her motion, she described NACO and the Farm Bureau as “seek(ing) to eradicate wild horses from the range to maximize their members’ subsidized interests on public lands,” and described the BLM as an “overworked, understaffed and budget-challenged agency that relies on flawed data, analyses, conclusions and methods to remove wild horses” from public land. 
On April 3, the court granted “intervenor status” on the case to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) and three individual wild horse advocates including Leigh, Terri Farley and Mark Terrel. 
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. 
Farley is a full-time author who lives in the Reno area and spends a significant amount of time observing wild horses, both on the range and in the holding facilities. 
Terrel owns Dayton-based “Wild Horses of Nevada Photography.” He is a horse photographer and operator of tours taking visitors to view and photograph wild horses in Nevada.
Wild horse advocates used statements from past court cases, when their own legal challenges to BLM actions were thrown out, to urge Du to dismiss the lawsuit brought by NACO and the Nevada Farm Bureau.