DAYTON, Nev. (KOLO)-- The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has released the dash camera video of a deputy colliding with horses January 16 on U.S. 50 in Dayton. It shows the horses appearing in the headlights a few seconds before the collision.
Two horses were killed in the impact and a third was put down afterward. The deputy was injured but has since returned to work.
Sheriff Al McNeil released a statement that was critical of the state of Nevada, which has control over the Virginia Range horses, which are not considered federal wild horses but estray horses under state jurisdiction. McNeil called it a public safety crisis.
“There are many dedicated state employees who are raising the same concerns, but it is falling flat on deaf bureaucratic state leaders’ ears,” McNeil wrote. “When is it enough? Is it going to take a school bus accident before they take their heads out of the sand to deal with this problem?”
He said the estray horses are no different than dogs and cats being loose.
“The state either needs to spend money on quality fencing, highway safety lights to increase visibility, and build highway horse crossings; or it needs to start rounding up and removing nuisance horses, even if that means taking them to the sale barn or euthanizing them,” McNeil wrote.
Willis Lamm, a wild horse advocate who also rescues horses when requested by public safety agencies, agreed with McNeil’s call for fencing. Traffic has increased in the area and both horses and livestock are causing problems along U.S. 50, Lamm said.
Problems seem to have increased since the Nevada Department of Agriculture suspended arrangements that let private groups manage the herd. Gone now are efforts to do diversionary feeding to keep animals away from roads, getting nuisance horses placed in private care and fixing private fences that have been vandalized, Lamm said.
The state of Nevada should have continued with the private groups managing the herd until it got a new plan in place, Lamm said.
“This is a significant herd,” Lamm said. “The biggest problem t think is getting the management system back on track. If there is no management there will be a problem.”