Cats     |     Dogs     |     Horses     |     Birds     |     Small Pets



The Federal

Wild and free-roaming

Horses and Burros Act


 















What the Federal Government's Wild Horse & Burro Act Says


UNITED STATES CODE
TITLE 16. CONSERVATION
CHAPTER 30. WILD HORSES, AND BURROS:
PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT, AND CONTROL

1331. Congressional findings and declaration of policy Congress
finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are
living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West;
that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the
Nation and enrich the lives of the American people;
and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the
American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild
free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture,
branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are
to be considered in the area where presently found, as an
integral part of the natural system of the public lands.


1332. Definitions
As used in this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.]--

(a) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Interior when used in
connection with public lands administered by him through the
Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of Agriculture in
connection with public lands administered by him through the
Forest Service;

(b) "wild free-roaming horses and burros" means all unbranded and
unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States;

(c) "range" means the amount of land necessary to sustain an
existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros,
which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which
is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their
welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for
the public lands;

(d) "herd" means one or more stallions and his mares; [and]

(e) "public lands" means any lands administered by the Secretary
of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management or by the
Secretary of Agriculture through the Forest Service. [; and]

(f) "excess animals" means wild free-roaming horses or burros (1)
which have been removed from an area by the Secretary pursuant to
applicable law or, (2) which must be removed from an area in
order to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological
balance and multiple-use relationship in that area.

1333. Powers and duties of Secretary
(a) Jurisdiction; management; ranges; ecological balance
objectives; scientific recommendations; forage allocation
adjustments. All wild free-roaming horses and burros are hereby
declared to be under the jurisdiction of the Secretary for the
purpose of management and protection in accordance with the
provisions of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.].
 The Secretary is authorized and directed to protect and manage
wild free-roaming horses and burros as components of the public
lands, and he may designate and maintain specific ranges on
public lands
as sanctuaries for their protection and preservation, where the
Secretary after consultation with the wildlife agency of the
State wherein any such range is proposed and with the Advisory
Board established in section 7 of this Act [16 USCS 1337] deems
such action desirable. The Secretary shall manage wild
free-roaming horses and burros in a manner that is designed to
achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the
public lands. He shall consider the recommendations of qualified
scientists in the field of biology and ecology, some of whom
shall be independent of both Federal and State agencies and may
include members of the Advisory Board established in section 7 of
this Act [16 USCS 1337].
All management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level
and shall be carried out in
consultation with the wildlife agency of the State wherein such
lands are located in order to protect the natural ecological
balance of all wildlife species which inhabit such lands,
particularly endangered wildlife species. Any adjustments in
forage allocations on any such lands shall take into
consideration the needs of other wildlife species which inhabit
such lands.

(b) Inventory and determinations; consultation; overpopulation;
research study: submittal to Congress.

(1) The Secretary shall maintain a current inventory of wild
free-roaming horses and burros on given areas of the public
lands. The purpose of such inventory shall be to: make
determinations as to whether and where an overpopulation exists
and whether action should be taken to remove excess animals;
determine appropriate management levels of wild free-roaming
horses and burros on these areas of the public lands; and
determine whether appropriate management levels should be
achieved by the removal or destruction of excess animals, or
other options (such as sterilization, or natural controls on
population levels). In making such determinations the Secretary
shall consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service,
wildlife agencies of the State or States wherein wild
free-roaming horses and burros are located, such individuals
independent of Federal and State government as have been
recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, and such other
individuals whom he determines have scientific expertise and
special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection, wildlife
management and animal husbandry as related to rangeland
management.


(2) Where the Secretary determines on the basis of (i) the
current inventory of lands within his jurisdiction; (ii)
information contained in any land use planning completed pursuant
to section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of
1976 [43 USCS 1712]; (iii) information contained in court
ordered environmental impact statements as defined in section 2
[3] of the Public Range Lands Improvement Act of 1978 [43 USCS
1902]; and (iv) such additional information as becomes available
to him from time to time, including that information developed in
the research study mandated by this section, or in the absence of
the information contained in (i--iv) above on the basis of all
information currently available to him, that an overpopulation
exists on a given area of the public lands and that action is
necessary to remove excess animals, he shall immediately remove
excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate
management levels. Such action shall be taken, in the following
order and priority, until all excess animals have been removed so
as to restore a thriving natural ecological balance to the range,
and protect the range from the deterioration associated with
overpopulation:

(A) The Secretary shall order old, sick, or lame animals to be
destroyed in the most humane manner possible;

(B) The Secretary shall cause such number of additional excess
wild free-roaming horses and burros to be humanely captured and
removed for private maintenance and care for which he determines
an adoption demand exists by qualified individuals, and for which
he determines he can assure humane treatment and care (including
proper transportation, feeding, and handling): Provided, That,
not more than four animals may be adopted per year by any
individual unless the Secretary determines in writing that such
individual is capable of humanely caring for more than four
animals, including the transportation of such animals by the
adopting party; and

(C) The Secretary shall cause additional excess wild free-roaming
horses and burros for which an adoption demand by qualified
individuals does not exist to be destroyed in the most humane and
cost efficient manner possible.

(3) For the purpose of furthering knowledge of wild horse and
burro population dynamics and their interrelationship with
wildlife, forage and water resources, and assisting him in making
his determination as to what constitutes excess animals, the
Secretary shall contract for a research study of such animals
with such individuals independent of Federal and State government
as may be recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for
having scientific expertise and special knowledge of wild horse
and burro protection, wildlife management and animal husbandry as
related to rangeland management. The terms and outline of such
research study shall be determined by a research design panel to
be appointed by the President of the National Academy of
Sciences. Such study shall be completed and submitted by the
Secretary to the Senate and House of Representatives on or before
January 1, 1983.

(c) Title of transferee to limited number of excess animals
adopted for requisite period. Where excess animals have been
transferred to a qualified individual for adoption and private
maintenance pursuant to this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.] and
the Secretary determines that such individual has provided humane
conditions, treatment and care for such animal or animals for a
period of one year, the Secretary is authorized upon application
by the transferee to grant title to not more than four animals to
the transferee at the end of the one-year period.

(d) Loss of status as wild free-roaming horses and burros;
exclusion from coverage. Wild free-roaming horses and burros or
their remains shall lose their status as wild free-roaming horses
or burros and shall no longer be considered as falling within the
purview of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.]--

(1) upon passage of title pursuant to subsection (c) except for
the limitation of subsection (c)(1) of this section; or

(2) if they have been transferred for private maintenance or
adoption pursuant to this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.] and die
of natural causes before passage of title; or

(3) upon destruction by the Secretary or his designee pursuant to
subsection (b) of this section; or

(4) if they die of natural causes on the public lands or on
private lands where maintained thereon pursuant to section 4 [16
USCS 1334] and disposal is authorized by the Secretary or his
designee; or

(5) upon destruction or death for purposes of or incident to the
program authorized in section 3 of this Act [this section];
Provided, That no wild free-roaming horse or burro or its remains
may be sold or transferred for consideration for processing into
commercial products.

1334. Private maintenance; numerical approximation; strays on
private lands; removal: destruction by agents If wild
free-roaming horses or burros stray from public lands onto
privately owned land, the owners of such land may inform the
nearest Federal marshal or agent of the Secretary, who shall
arrange to have the animals removed. In no event shall such wild
free-roaming horses and burros be destroyed except by the agents
of the Secretary. Nothing in this section shall be construed to
prohibit a private landowner from maintaining wild free-roaming
horses or burros on his private lands, or lands leased from the
Government, if he does so in a manner that protects them from
harassment, and if the animals were not willfully removed or
enticed from the public lands. Any individuals who maintain such
wild free-roaming horses or burros on their private lands or
lands leased from the Government shall notify the appropriate
agent of the Secretary and supply him with a reasonable
approximation of the number of animals so maintained.

1337. Joint advisory board; appointment; membership; functions;
qualifications; reimbursement limitations The Secretary of the
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are authorized and
directed to appoint a joint advisory board of not more than nine
members to advise them on any matter relating
to wild free-roaming horses and burros and their management and
protection. They shall select as advisers persons who are not
employees of the Federal or State Governments and whom they deem
to have special knowledge about protection of horses and burros,
management of wildlife, animal husbandry, or natural resources
management. Members of the board shall not receive reimbursement
except for travel and other expenditures necessary in connection
with their services.

1338. Criminal provisions
(a) Violations; penalties; trial. Any person who--

(1) willfully removes or attempts to remove a wild free-roaming
horse or burro from the public lands, without authority from the
Secretary, or

(2) converts a wild free-roaming horse or burro to private use,
without authority from the Secretary, or

(3) maliciously causes the death or harassment of any wild
free-roaming horse or burro, or

(4) processes or permits to be processed into commercial products
the remains of a wild free-roaming horse or burro, or

(5) sells, directly or indirectly, a wild free-roaming horse or
burro maintained on private or leased land pursuant to section 4
of this Act [16 USCS 1334], or the remains thereof, or

(6) willfully violates a regulation issued pursuant to this Act
[16 USCS 1331 et seq.],

shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 2,000, or
imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Any person so
charged with such violation by the Secretary may be tried and
sentenced by any United States commissioner or magistrate
designated for that purpose by the court by which he was
appointed, in the same manner and subject to the same conditions
as provided for in section 3401, title 18, United States Code [18
USCS 3401].

(b) Arrest; appearance for examination or trial; warrants:
issuance and execution. Any employee designated by the Secretary
of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture shall have power,
without warrant, to arrest any person committing in the presence
of such employee a violation of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et
seq.] or any regulation made pursuant thereto, and to take such
person immediately for examination or trial before an officer or
court of competent jurisdiction, and shall have power to execute
any warrant or other process issued by an officer or court of
competent jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this Act [16
USCS 1331 et seq.] or regulations made pursuant thereto. Any
judge of a court established under the laws of the United States,
or any United States magistrate may, within his respective
jurisdiction, upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable
cause, issue warrants in all such cases.

1339. Limitations of authority
Nothing in this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.] shall be construed
to authorize the Secretary to relocate wild free-roaming horses
or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not
presently exist.

1340. Joint report to Congress; consultation and coordination
of implementation, enforcement, and departmental activities;
studies After the expiration of thirty calendar months following
the date
of enactment of this Act [enacted Dec. 15, 1971], and every
twenty-four calendar months thereafter, the Secretaries of the
Interior and Agriculture will submit to Congress a joint report
on the administration of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.],
including a summary of enforcement and/or other actions taken
thereunder, costs, and such recommendations for legislative or
other actions as he might deem appropriate.

The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture
shall consult with respect to the implementation and enforcement
of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.] and to the maximum feasible
extent coordinate the activities of their respective departments
and in the implementation and enforcement of this Act [16 USCS
1331 et seq.]. The Secretaries are authorized and directed to
undertake those studies of the habits of wild free-roaming horses
and burros that they may deem necessary in order to carry out the
provisions of this Act [16 USCS 1331 et seq.].


Find more info on Pet and Animal Law

Search our site for Pet Information



Superb gift ideas for folks who Love Pets

Free Pet Newsletter



Lovely Plush Animals

Top quality pet Supplies

Keep your pet Happy and Healthy


Site Map