Photo: Galaxy’s band and Knight’s band atop the Pryor Mountains, summer 2018.
Temporary Restraining Order Prevents September 2 Trapping and Removal
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Susan P. Watters, United States District Judge, has ruled in favor of Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation in their efforts to protect the small Pryor Mountain mustang herd from capture and removal, stating, “Plaintiffs’ application for TRO is GRANTED. Defendants are hereby ENJOINED from conducting the wild horse gather set for September 2, 2018, pending a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.”
“We won,” stated a jubilant Ginger Kathrens, who brought the herd to international prominence with her documentaries about Cloud, a charismatic palomino stallion she documented from the day he was born. “I hope that the TRO and what we believe will be a permanent decision later next month will ensure a lasting future for this unique Spanish herd.”
In her ruling, Judge Waters acknowledged that BLM fell short in managing for both rare genetics and the unusual colors.
The Pryor Mustangs are descended of Crow Indian horses (the range borders reservation lands) and before that, the horses of the Conquistadors. Genetic and color experts have concluded that this is a rare Spanish Colonial herd. Their range is located on the Montana/Wyoming border east of Yellowstone National Park. Kathrens, who began her journey with wild horses in 1994, was ridiculed in the Government’s brief for her repeated efforts to protect the Pryor Herd. “I hope this is a turning point for America’s beleaguered wild horse herds that have been so cruelly treated and that the BLM will finally adopt humane methods of management that take into account the essential need for family structures and the basic right to live in freedom as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended,” Kathrens said.
In her decision to grant the TRO, Judge Watters states: “BLM argues that one removal action will not result in the permanent loss of genetic diversity of the Pryor Herd.… This conclusion is contrary to the evidence before the court. Extinction of a bloodline or phenotype is, by its nature, loss of genetic diversity. And extinction, meaning forever, is certainly a long duration. This court finds that Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of irreparable harm absent a TRO.”
“We could not have brought this suit without a high level of confidence in our donors.” Kathrens continued. “Cloud fans are loyal to wild horses and understand that maintaining the family structure and genetic strength are the essentials to living wild.”
2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, the first nationally designated area established to provide a home for free-roaming horses. “What a grand way to celebrate!” Ginger Kathrens concludes.
The hearing in Billings, MT is set for September 28 at 9:30 am.
The Cloud Foundation is being represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905