Phoenix, AZ (May 11th, 2016). . . .HB 2340, the bill to protect the famed Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest cleared its last hurdle in the Arizona legislature on May 5th with a 53-3 vote in the House of Representatives and was signed on May 11th by Governor Doug Ducey! While SRWHMG members and supporters celebrated the historic event right outside of the AZ Capitol waving the American, Arizonian and SRWHMG flags from the backs of horses, their president Simone Netherlands had a chance to witness the important event and thank him properly for his support.

Governor Doug Ducey and SRWHMG president Simone Netherlands and Greg Patterson with AWHPC.
Governor Doug Ducey and SRWHMG president Simone Netherlands and Greg Patterson with AWHPC.

The Governor said in a statement; “The Salt River horses are beautiful, majestic and a treasure to our state. Since last summer, we have worked to protect them and their ability to roam free,” He thanked the sponsor of the bill Rep. Kelly Townsend and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group for all the hard work.

The Salt River Horse Protection bill clarifies that the horses are not stray livestock and sets the stage for preserving them for future generations.

But the horses are not completely out of the woods just yet. The bill sets forth that MOU’s need to be signed before December 2017 to codify their management. The bill clearly states that that should be for humane purposes only. This is the biggest step that has ever been taken to protect wild horses who were not originally included in the 1971 wild free roaming horses and burros Act.

press conference

“This is a historic day for us and for the Salt River wild horses, but especially for the public, that would not stand for the removal and disposal of this herd that is so historically and economically significant to the State of Arizona, ” said Simone Netherlands in a press conference right after the signing of the bill. “We are so proud of our legislators and our governor, for listening to the voice of the people and standing firm for protection of these irreplaceable Arizona treasures, and we are eternally grateful to rep. Kelly Townsend for sponsoring the bill.”

“Citizens across Arizona and the United States are cheering this victory for the cherished Salt River wild horses,” said Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, a national coalition. “We are pleased to have worked alongside our coalition partner, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, to ensure passage of this important bill to save the Salt River wild horses. This is a great day for wild horses in Arizona!”

The latest rescue of a Salt River wild horse foal on Sunday night by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group field team is a great example of humane, community-based wild horse management in action. The foal, Pacman, had injured legs (possibly caused by barbed wire) and subsequently developed a severe infection. He is currently receiving intensive treatment at a veterinary hospital.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is raising funds to cover the veterinary costs associated with saving the little foal’s life. Donations can be made here.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization established to protect, monitor and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to defending America’s wild horses and burros to protect their freedom, preserve their habitat, and promote humane standards of treatment. AWHPC’s mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations.

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Historic Bill to Protect Salt River Wild Horses signed by Governor Doug Ducey