Paying homage to the old west

A piece of the old west will be up for adoption at the Red Horse Ranch May 20-21 as the Bureau of Land Management has wild horse and burros available to qualified applicants. (Submitted photo)

A piece of the old west will be up for adoption at the Red Horse Ranch May 20-21 as the Bureau of Land Management has wild horse and burros available to qualified applicants. (Submitted photo)

For those who have dreamed about owning a piece of the old west, that dream could come true May 20-21 at Red Horse Ranch in Cassopolis.

The U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management is bringing approximately 40 wild horses and burros for adoption, ranging from yearlings to 5 years old to Red Horse Ranch, located at 64247 Library Road in Cassopolis.

This is the third time wild horses and burros have been brought to Cass County for adoption. The first two times, 2013 and last year, wild burros were also up for adoption.

Interested parties can preview the animals beginning at 2 p.m. Friday.

The actual adoption will take place Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.

Animals under the age of 3 can be adopted for $125. A second animal may be adopted for $25, which is the same price for those animals older than 3.

Each animal has been inspected by a veterinarian, vaccinated, de-wormed and blood-tested.

Not just everyone can adopt a wild horse or burro.

While the adoption process is relatively simple, criteria must be met in order for someone to adopt an animal.

“Adopters must be at least 18 years old, and provide an enclosed facility with access to feed, water and shelter,” BLM Public Affairs Specialist, Martha Malik said. “Prospective adopters must have sturdy corrals that are at least 20 feet by 20 feet and six feet high for an adult horse, or no less than five feet high for horses younger than 18 months.”

A shelter must be directly attached to the corral, and potential adopters will be asked to sketch out the set-up on the four-page application form.

Adopters must provide a stock-type, step-up trailer — not a typical horse trailer — to transport their animals after the sale.

Applications to adopt may be submitted at Red Horse Ranch until the close of the adoption on Saturday.

By definition, these wild free-roaming horses and burros are, by federal law, unbranded, unclaimed and found on Western public rangeland.

The Bureau of Land Management manages, protects and controls wild horse and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros act. The law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands.

“The BLM is committed to the safety and health of the nation’s wild horses and burros, and requires that adopted animals be transported in a stock-type, step up trailer,” Malik said.

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