CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's new Agriculture Department
director says the state can't afford to buy hay to feed stray horses, although many of them may be starving in mountains near Virginia City.
Director Tony Lesperance also says that while people refer to about 200 horses in the Virginia Range as wild, they're mainly strays - horses set free by their owners.
Lesperance told the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee that he will come up with a plan to remove many of the horses.
A 1997 law gave the Agriculture Department responsibility for managing the horses wandering the Virginia Range, mountains that
run from near Dayton past Virginia City and the south edge of Reno.
The stray horses run on state or private land. The U.S. Bureau of
Land Management oversees wild horses on federal lands.
In material given the committee, Agriculture Department representatives said they are concerned there would be "picketing and demonstrations" if they tried to auction off stray horses.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)