KBR Wild Horse and Burro News

Wild Horse Mentors
Help Save Comstock Wild Horses

Virginia City, NV
November 1, 2002

A stallion awaiting adoption
In 1958 a Reno secretary named Velma Johnston noticed a trail of blood on the roadway. She followed it to a mustanger's truck that was packed with Comstock wild horses headed for the slaughter house. She was so disgusted that she started a crusade to protect these horses that ultimately led to passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, a law that protected tens of thousands of wild horses on Federal lands. During the struggle Velma was nicknamed "Wild Horse Annie" by her detractors; a nickname that she proudly accepted.

Ironically the Act did not protect the very horses that first drew Velma's attention. The Comstock herd, also known as the Virginia Range herd, roamed state and private lands. Eventually their management was taken over by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

The state, with little money to operate a wild horse program, has primarily relied on private non-profit groups to help with horse issues. Private group participation particularly involved the disposition of truant horses that wandered into populated areas or into traffic and were trapped by the state. The private groups facilitated adoptions of these horses and verified their welfare after being placed with adopters.


Unprecedented years of drought have devastated the range. Horses are wandering into urbanized areas in search of food and water. A steadily increasing number have been involved in serious highway accidents. As a result the state has had to increase its trapping efforts in populated areas and the state holding pens are bursting at the seams.
A new band searching for water just brought in
Four groups, Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC), The Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Assn., Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue and Mustang-Spirit have undertaken an unprecedented effort to place Comstock horses in adopted homes. There is an urgency since if the horses cannot be placed, the state may be forced to liquidate them at the Fallon livestock sale. (The state is suffering a significant budget shortfall this year.)

The goal is to place approximately 40 horses before the end of the year. The participating groups are actively seeking adopters, financial support and other interested horse groups to assist in this effort.

"Wild Horse Annie" left a legacy that a number of dedicated people are trying to carry on. More details about this project as well as background information on the current problems can be found on the LRTC Website. Click Here to visit the site.

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