Wild horses, donkeys available from federal land at Michigan farm next month

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Coming next month to Michigan: The opportunity to adopt a horse or donkey available from America's West.

The Bureau of Land Management is sponsoring the event May 14-15 at a ranch in Cassopolis near the Michigan-Indiana border.

The horses and donkeys likely will be from the wild, those involved in the program say, but are trainable and end up being worth the adoption effort. Different horse breeds will be available.

Wild horses occupy a watering hole outside Salt Lake City. Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them.

"We do well. We're one of the best sites for adoption that the BLM has," said Suzette Hudak, the owner of the Red Horse Ranch in Cassopolis, about a 20-minute drive from South Bend, Indiana. "They're usually a little older animals but they're usually animals of color — like grey or two-tone colors."

Wild, free-roaming horses can be found on public lands across 10 western states. Wild burros roam various rangeland in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon. 

Hudak said people have come from as far east as Pennsylvania and Delaware to adopt the animals. In the past, the bureau has brought in anywhere from 40 to 60 animals for adoption.

"Honestly, I don't know what they will bring this year," Hudak said.

The event was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The bureau manages and protects wild horses and burros on 26.9 million acres of public lands across 10 Western states as part of its mission to administer public lands for a variety of uses, according to its website.

The Wild Horse and Burro program seeks "to manage healthy wild horses and burros on healthy public rangelands."

The BLM created the Wild Horse and Burro Program to implement the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act passed by Congress in 1971.

The process works by appointment only and five per hour. Contact BLM_ES_NSDO_WHB@blm.gov with three preferred time slots, officials said.

The May 14 event is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 15 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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