The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is moving forward to relinquish management authority of the Virginia Range feral-estray horse population. The department issued this week a request for proposals (RFP) to find a new owner of the horses.
“The intent, as outlined by the board during their meeting and in the RFP, is to select an owner that will work to keep the horse population on the range and facilitate adoptions of any horses that need to be removed from the range,” NDA Director Jim Barbee said.
Prospective owners are required to submit detailed plans for livestock management, which must address risks to public safety, horse fertility control, and coordination with partners.
Horses have repeatedly been struck by vehicles in and around the Virginia Range, causing a public safety concern–including numerous horse and motorist deaths–which officials said was not being addressed in an agreement with horse advocates.
“Our number one priority has always been the protection of public safety, which requires access to resources that we have never possessed,” Barbee said. “Our hope is that, under new ownership, the horses can be managed on the range according to their needs. The selected non-profit owner will have full decision-making capacity.”
About 3,000 horses have been recently counted on the range. Interested parties may find the RFP online: http://agri.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agrinvgov/Content/About/Administration/vre_rfp_final.pdf