Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A wild horse from the Onaqui herd by Simpson Springs.

March 14, 2019
BLM will pay $1,000 to people that adopt wild horses and burros

People who adopt wild horses or burros can now get $1,000 to help with initial care costs, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

“The person adopting the animal receives $1,000 to help them get started,” said Carey McClellan, horse wrangler at the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility operated by the BLM. “They get the first $500 within 60 days of adopting the animal, and then in one year they get another $500 if all the requirements have been met.” 

Between 300-600 wild horses roam the West Desert of Tooele County in the Cedar Mountain and Onaqui herd management areas, according to BLM statistics.

Periodically, animals from those two areas are rounded up and taken to the wild horse and burro facility in Delta.

“We can hold up to 300 horses here and right now we have about 160,” McClellan said. “Any untrained animal qualifies for adoption and those who adopt must meet several requirements, including having the proper fencing and other requirements.”

He said another option to help with adoption is called the Trainer Incentive Program. Those who want to adopt an animal can have the horse or burro “gentled” by a seasoned trainer prior to the adoption.

Lisa Reid, public affairs officer for the Utah Wild Horse Burro Program, said the current population of wild horses and burros in 10 western states is at 82,000.

“The appropriate management level on the range for wild horses and burros is 27,000,” Reid said. “This is how many can live on the range keeping an ecological balance with other multi-uses that occur on public lands.”

According to the BLM, it spends nearly $50 million every year to deal with the overpopulation of wild horses.

“We understand that adopting a wild horse or burro represents a commitment,’ said Brian Steed, BLM deputy director of Programs and Policy. “The new incentive is designed to help with the adopter’s initial training and humane care. I encourage anyone who has considered adopting a wild horse or burro to join the thousands of owners who have provided good homes to more than 245,000 wild horses or burros since 1971.”

The BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The Act directs the BLM to address overpopulation by removing excess animals from over-populated herds and offering them to the public for adoption or purchase.

“Finding good homes for excess animals and reducing overpopulation on the range are top priorities for the BLM as we strive to protect the health of these animals while balancing other legal uses of our public rangelands, including allowing for other traditional land uses such as wildlife conservation and grazing,” Steed said.

Owning a wild horse or burro is an extraordinary experience, according to the BLM. The horses have reached national notoriety through disciplines such as dressage, endurance and therapeutic programs that help veterans fulfill a new mission. 

Wild horses and burros are routinely preferred by public officials for important tasks, such as patrolling the border and local policing. 

Potential adopters should visit to see guidelines and horses from throughout the nation that are available for adoption. They also can call 866 468-7826.

McClellen said people can visit the Delta facility to learn about adoption or just to see the animals. They should call  435-864-4068 to make an appointment. The facility is located at 600 N. 400 West in Delta.


Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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