This week, an agreement was approved between the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service that protects Arizona’s Salt River wild horses. The agreement was the end result of legislation offered by Rep. Kelly Townsend and signed by Governor Doug Ducey.
The agreement establishes a management structure and process to provide management for the Salt River wild horses, who reside in the Tonto National Forest. The agreement authorizes the Arizona Department of Agriculture to partner with a non-profit organization to assist with management and care of the Salt River Wild Horses.
“Two years ago, the Salt River wild horses were almost removed and disposed of. Today is a great day. The Salt River wild horses are protected from harassment and slaughter. We are deeply grateful to Governor Doug Ducey for his compassion and dedication to protecting these cherished wild horses, to State Rep. Kelly Townsend for introducing the bill that made this agreement to protect the horses possible, and to the Forest Service for recognizing the public’s strong interest in protecting this historic and popular horse herd, ” said Simone Netherlands, President of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG).
“It is a great day for Arizona, as we have succeeded in finalizing the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Forest Service that will preserve and protect the Salt River wild horses,” stated Rep. Kelly Townsend. “My bill, HB2340 of 2016 is is now in effect upon the signing of this IGA, and I am extremely grateful to all who made it happen. Arizonans and visitors as far away as Europe come to enjoy these beautiful creatures, and now we can rest assured that we can continue to go and observe their innocence and wild existence in our own backyard.”
“I am very grateful to the Governor, his staff, the department of Agriculture, the horse advocates, and especially the Forest Service for their commitment to finding a solution and a better way to take care of the issues involved with managing a herd of wild horses,” continued Townsend. “This has been a unique process that was complicated and arduous, yet we have accomplished the task and achieved the goal. For that, everyone involved should be heartily commended. It is a great way to end 2017.”
Two years ago, the Forest Service announced its intent to remove and “dispose of” the Salt River wild horses.