Wild horse and burro adoption in northern Arizona

Wild horses and burros will be available for adoption July 13-15 in Flagstaff (Photos courtesy of BLM/Wild Horse and Burro Program).

Wild horses and burros will be available for adoption July 13-15 in Flagstaff (Photos courtesy of BLM/Wild Horse and Burro Program).

Living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West-healthy wild horses and burros from public lands-will be looking for new homes when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers them for public adoption July 13-15 in Flagstaff.

BLM will offer about 50 wild horses and burros ranging in age from under one year to about five years at the MCS Stables in Flagstaff. The stables are located at 8301 S. Highway 89A, two miles south of the Interstate 17 Exit 337 on Highway 89A. The site change from the previously announced Coconino County Fairgrounds was made due to a schedule conflict.

"Summer in Arizona's high country is a great time to begin training an adopted mustang or burro," said Kelly Grissom, BLM State Wild Horse and Burro Specialist.

Wild horses gathered from herds on public lands are known for their incredible stamina, adaptability and ability to train to excel at pleasure riding, competition, ranch work and endurance riding. Arizona's burros (donkeys) are excellent pets, providing loyal companionship for family members and horses, as well as helping out and enjoying camping and hiking adventures.

All animals available for adoption have received vaccinations for common equine conditions and diseases. Adopters receive complete health care records, as well as herd management and other equine information for their newly adopted animals.

To qualify, adopters must be at least 18 years old and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. Adopters are required to keep each newly adopted horse and burro in their own corral measuring at least 400 square feet, and constructed of sturdy pipe or rail (no field fencing or barbed wire materials). Required corral heights vary from four-and-a-half-feet high for burros, to five feet high for horses younger than 18 months of age, and six feet high for horses older than18 months of age. Corrals must also include a shaded area and water trough. Adopted animals must be kept in their own corral until they can be approached, handled, haltered and led. Newly adopted animals cannot be placed in open pastures or any areas that include barbed wire or field fencing.

Adopters must provide trailer transportation home for their animals from the fairgrounds. Animals will only be transported in fully enclosed stock trailers. Drop ramp and open top trailers will not be allowed. All animals adopted must be taken home from the adoption site by 5 p.m. on July 15.

A properly fitting halter and a lead rope for each animal must also be provided by the adopter. BLM wranglers will halter and load animals into the adopter's trailer. Title to adopted wild horses and burros remains with the federal government for one year. After providing one year of good care, adopters can apply for title. During the adoption period, random compliance inspections are conducted.

Wild horses and burros have been protected since Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971. The law provides for the protection, management and control of wild horses and burros on public land, and assigns this responsibility to the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. Management of the wild herds on public land periodically includes gathering horses and burros on western ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock. With these gathers, BLM is able control herd sizes to ensure there is sufficient feed and water to maintain viable herds and range users, and natural resources are not over-used.

About 31,000 wild horses and burros are currently roaming on public lands in the western states. More than 215,500 animals have been placed in private care since the BLM Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro Program began over 30 years ago.

The Flagstaff Wild Horse and Burro Adoption site will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. July 13-15. On July 14, a silent bid auction will be held at 10 a.m., at which all available animals will be offered for opening bids of $125 or more. Auction participants placing winning bids may then "Adopt-a-Buddy" for only $25 from the horses that remain available. Adopt-a-buddy selections are made through a lottery sequence. Following the auction and Adopt-a-Buddy selections, any wild horse or burro not already adopted may then be adopted for a set fee of $125 each. All adoptions must be completed and animals transported from the site by 5 p.m. on July 15.

For additional information on the BLM Flagstaff event and/or adopting wild horses and burros, contact the BLM toll free at 1-866-4MUSTANGS, or visitwww.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.

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