Woman Fined for Removing Free-Roaming Horse from BLM Land

Warr said Stoetzer’s fine is connected to a section of the Regulation and Prohibited Act, which prohibits the unauthorized removal of animals under BLM jurisdiction. However, he added, it is still unclear whether the mare is a BLM mustang or a domestic the mare turned out on public land by a former owner.

Looks to me like just another spindly little, jug headed mustang descended from the horses brought to the continent by the Spaniards. On the other hand, if she is a domestic mare it is pretty easy to see why she was turned out by the former owner. — jtl, 429

Woman Fined for Removing Free-Roaming Horse from BLM Land


The mare was taken to a BLM facility in Axtell, Utah, to continue her rehabilitation. Photo: Courtesy BLM Utah

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has fined an Idaho woman for removing a free-roaming horse from public lands in Utah.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 protects wild horses and burros and places them under the BLM’s jurisdiction. The act states that it is unlawful to remove a mustang or burro from public lands without authorization from an authorized officer of that agency.

In social media posts, Cynthia Guild Stoetzer said she was riding her horse near Justesen Flats, an informal camping area in south-central Utah when she came upon a brown and white mare that appeared to be malnourished. Stoetzer attempted to call the BLM via cell phone, but could not make contact, her post said. As a result, she loaded the animal into her trailer and transported it to the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, her post said.

“I did try to call them for more than a day,” Stoetzer said in a June 5 post. “I was trying to help out, actually.”

On June 1, Stoetzer was fined $275 by the BLM for removing the animal without permission.

Gus Warr, wild horse and burro program manager for BLM Utah, said agency personnel were conducting a wild burro gather when Stoetzer attempted to contact them.

“We tried to reach out to her, but there was no answer at the cell phone number she gave us,” Warr said. “But campers in the area said they remembered seeing Stoetzer and the horse in the area.”

Warr said the agency was contacted by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where BLM personnel examined the mare and determined that the horse scored 1.5 on the Henneke body condition scale and had no marks or brands on her body.

The mare was subsequently transported to a BLM corral at Axtell, Utah, where she received veterinary attention.

“We vaccinated it and we wormed it,” Warr said. “She has gained weight and is doing fine.”

Warr said Stoetzer’s fine is connected to a section of the Regulation and Prohibited Act, which prohibits the unauthorized removal of animals under BLM jurisdiction. However, he added, it is still unclear whether the mare is a BLM mustang or a domestic the mare turned out on public land by a former owner.

“Either way, the horse was free-roaming and found on public land,” he said. “She met our criteria.”

And while Warr said it is generally dangerous to approach a horse in the wild, he said Stoetzer might have been able to load and trailer the mare because she might have become accustomed to interacting with humans.

“For example the Onaqui herd in Utah has become very used to seeing cars and photographers, and has gotten used to people feeding them,” Warr said. “Perhaps as a foal this horse had some interaction with people at some point.”

In any case, when her rehabilitation is complete, the mare will become available for adoption through the BLM.

“I have no doubt that we’ll find a home for this horse,” Warr said.

About the Author

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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