Officials Say: Keep Distance from Wild Horses

By  | 

RENO, NV -- It's been an increasing problem in the Damonte Ranch area. Wild horses roaming into neighborhoods, raising public safety concerns. As innocent as they appear, they are still wild animals. A recent encounter in the area put one local child in the hospital.

This time of year is a popular time for wild horses to wander from the hills into residential areas, looking for their next meal. A child came too close to a wild horse just recently, and was kicked in the face, according to the Department of Agriculture. It's a big reminder for us to keep our distance.

"We'd come out at midnight, 2 o'clock in the morning and there would be horses with pieces of sod hanging out of mouth as they're munch. they just love it," a resident of Damonte Ranch said. "It was like the salad bar was open."

Wild horses making their way from the wild, into neighborhoods and marking their territory.

"These horses should be treated as you would any wild animal and you should not come in any close contact with them or anywhere near them," said Bob Conrad with for the Nevada Department of Agriculture. "We're really urging the public to really keep a safe distance from them, particularly on roadways."

Ag officials say horses are a hazard on the road, already killing one driver this year and just in the past week, two horses have been struck by cars.

"Most of the time the horses are not much of problem. I almost hit a horse on the way to the gym in the morning on Carrot Avenue because there are just no street lights and one bolted like a rabbit and by the time I got to my headlights, I just missed him," one Damonte Ranch resident said.

The coming fall season means a shortage of food for wild horses, so they're finding any excuse to feed.

"People, quit feeding them in the neighborhoods because it draws them into it," Sue Yonker, a resident of south Reno, said. "{People} think they're doing {the horses} a favor but they're really doing them an injustice because that's how they end up on the highways on the busier streets and no one sees them and they end up getting hit."

Not to mention feeding horses is against the law. Some people want to protect them from getting rounded up, but the Nevada Department of Agriculture says that can be dangerous.

"They're unpredictable, potentially dangerous and injuries, accidents can happen," Conrad warned.

"I'm much more worried about hitting somebody trying to protect the horses than about hitting the horses," said a Damonte Ranch neighbor.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture wants you to call (775) 353-3600 if you encounter a wild horse in your neighborhood. The horses will be gathered and are adopted out by a local non-profit organization.