Possible deal to manage wild/feral horses near the Salt River
MARICOPA COUNTY (Ariz.) - A deal may be coming to save the wild horses in the Salt River area.
The U.S. Forest Service planned to remove the horses last week, but after a huge outcry from politicians and the local community, they decided to postpone their plan.
All the parties involved have declined to release details of the settlement. But it comes after supporters of the horses started the process of filing a lawsuit. In Federal Court, lawyers told the judge both sides are working on a resolution.
Supporters of these horses have wanted the animals to stay roaming where they are now, in the Salt River area, and it appears that may be possible.
"We had a real good discussion yesterday, very positive, they brought in the A-Team, and we're really hopeful that we can structure something in short order," said Miller.
In court, attorneys for the wild horse group and the federal government told the judge they are working on a settlement that would end the groups legal fight.
They sued after the USFS announced plans to round up the horses and auction them off.
"We'd prefer not to have the lawsuit, we would prefer to settle it," said Miller.
The Forest Service has claimed the horses can be a safety problem. On Monday, a 2-year-old Colt was hit and killed on Bush Highway, the driver didn't stick around.
Horse advocates say events like that accident are preventable with better management, and they believe the USFS is taking their concerns seriously.
"We can never be confident I guess, but it does appear that way," said Simone Netherlands.
Because both sides agreed to keep the negotiations confidential, it's unknown when the details of the settlement will be released.