December 1st update on ISPMB Mustangs


I’m posting this because so many people are asking questions and want to know what’s going on.

The State Attorney in South Dakota said he’s willing to consider proposals for the situation at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB ). This includes evidence that funding will be available to the ISPMB for the next 18 months for the organization to get on their feet. He also wants money to cover all the county’s costs of caring for the ISPMB Mustangs. For example, if the ISPMB can pay them through January 1st if he would consider granting an extension for adoptions to occur, etc. Basically in the same breath he said the county will continue forward preparing for the sale of ISPMB Mustangs at public auction because the county has a lien on the majority of the 700 ISPMB Mustangs–Not the 20% who are being allowed to be adopted in this first leg of adoption. The State Attorney’s name is Steve Aberle and his number is (605) 865-3528 .

I heard that through donations the ISPMB has been paying off the money owed to the county to feed the mustangs. Adoptions will reduce the herd size. With a reduced herd, a sustainable business plan and help with management Karen Sussman could turn this around and save Wild Horse Annie’s Legacy organization.

Why did the organizations with millions in the bank wait for this crisis to finally help the ISPMB Mustangs with some hay? Why didn’t organizations help ISPMB when the Director needed it and when she asked to avoid this crisis? Did they want her to fail?

What happened when the PZP grants for birth control studies were over around 2012? Is this when the ISPMB started to be financially challenged?

I bet it would help if the ISPMB could move to a huge ranch with grazing to lower their hay costs.Then they could graze half of the year.

The money numbers I hear from the Sheriff and from the State Attorney that are needed to stop the rest of the ISPMB Mustangs from going to sale, are different amounts. The State Attorney wants an escrow account. He claims it costs $50,000. a month to feed them hay.

It’s going to cost the county a lot of money to get the ISPMB mustangs to sale in the middle of the winter. Horses don’t sell for much at auction in South Dakota. Of course that’s what the Kill-Buyers are counting on. A wealthy PRO-SLAUGHTER activist lives in South Dakota. She arrived at ISPMB weeks ago with trailers hoping to load them up with mustangs from Wild Horse Annie’s organization. Karen Susssman kicked the slime off the property.

It appears the State Attorney has at least one proposal on the table from the newly formed Wild Horse Sanctuary Alliance who has been working with Elaine Nash according to her update. I wonder if HSUS is part of this Sanctuary Alliance too? There could be some other proposals on the table as well.

December 30th I was told that all the adoptions that were approved by Karen A. Sussman by midnight would be honored and the mustangs protected. I don’t know when adoption approval letters are going out as I’m not involved with adoption approvals. So please be patient.

For all adopters needing transportation assistance, make sure you have filled out paperwork with the Fleet of Angels ( who I believe has been receiving donations for transportation to help this rescue.

Adopters are required to pay for the Coggins and health certificates. If you are adopting a lot of ISPMB Mustangs and require financial assistance for Coggins, etc. then I encourage you to start a fundraiser on and share it with your network of family and friends.

Personally I find the lack of transparency and lack of updates with regards to this situation troubling. It creates a hotbed for Facebook rumors and drama. I hope the South Dakota State Attorney and/or the Dewey County Sheriff’s Dept. will start posting daily updates on Facebook because so many people are concerned.

I don’t want too see the Kill-Buyers get any ISPMB Mustangs and I don’t want too see any euthanized unless they are unable to heal.

I’ve received reports that the paid PRO-SLAUGHTER Trolls have been bullying adopters and spreading lies. Stand Strong for the lives of these wild horses you are protecting!

Several people have contacted me who will take the blind, special needs and old mustangs. A lot of those people turned in adoption applications.

The proposal to euthanize ISPMB Mustangs through a “compassion adoption” is outrageous and sets the wrong example for the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Congress. I hope people realize–after the tremendous effort our team leaders put out to bring in hundreds of homes for ISPMB Mustangs–that unless the wild horses are severely ill or injured people want to save their lives.

I’ve asked Fleet of Angels for the final count of the total number of ISPMB Mustangs who have offers for adoption and I look forward to the answer. I’m so thankful so many people worked so hard in the last 3 days to get adoption applications in. It’s evidence that these wild horses are wanted and deserve to live.


I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support to find homes for the ISPMB Mustangs. It’s a bit unclear what’s happening behind the scenes right now. I hope we will get updates from county officials and ISPMB in the future. Let’s see how this all plays out and pray for miracles.


For the Wild Ones,

Anne Novak

Volunteer Executive Director

Protect Mustangs

P.O. Box 5661

Berkeley, California 94705

Protect Mustangs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of native and wild horses.

9 thoughts on “December 1st update on ISPMB Mustangs

  1. Well done to you …keeping fingers crossed for the mustangs safety ..please keep up the good work ..bless you for your hard work …we are thinking of you & the horses here in the UK ..good luck xxx

  2. Thank you for the information, please keep us current on the situation!

    Susan Norris

  3. i love the good work you put in to adopt mustangs and horses; it’s nice to know they are still caring concerned people out there! good luck!

  4. First of all, thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I find myself completely helpless, both financially and logistically, where these magnificent animals are concerned. However, I had an idea and was hoping for suggestions for how to bring it to fruition.

    Clearly, the immediate crisis relating to these 700 horses needs to be resolved. This update indicates that there are events underway that might help that. However, for the longer term, more attention and more awareness needs to be brought to this entire issue. As I read each of the recent emails, the thought that came to mind was that we need something similar to what brought attention to the SeaWorld tragedies. We need a “Blackfish” movement for the mustangs.

    I’ve done just a bit of research into the woman who produced the SeaWorld documentary. Her name is Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Would the ISPMB have enough “horsepower” (pardon the pun) to approach Ms. Cowperthwaite and negotiate a similar production for the entire issue of the mustangs, the roundups, the cattle barons grazing our public lands, the kill buyers, and the abysmal failure of the BLM? It wouldn’t be a quick fix, but it might shed some much needed light on the broader issues at play, and wake the American public up to what is going on. If we could bring as much awareness to the plight of the mustangs as “Blackfish” did for the killer whales at SeaWorld, it would be a start. Clearly, we need to make more progress, given the nature of the next presidential administration.

    I have to believe that there are still enough angels in the world that we could possibly crowdfund such a production. Thoughts? Suggestions?

  5. Dear Anne!
    Thank you so much for the update.
    I live in London but think people from the States should all call this State Attorney Steve Aberle daily his number is (605) 865-3528 to make sure to avoid the auction.
    I asked a Sanctuary here in the UK if they’d be willing to take 2-3 mustangs in but unfortunately they did not get back to me.
    There must be some famous people that can step in last minute that are vegan and can make a difference like Leonardo di Caprio or Pamela Anderson, whoever.
    But let’s save this horses!!!
    Thank you for everything you do, Anne!

  6. I’ve felt various people wanted Karen Sussman to fail, just to prove she was wrong. I held onto her statements about PZP destroying equine social structure and other very valuable points she made regarding wild horses. Why help didn’t come sooner for Karen’s horses I just can’t understand. No horses should be slaughtered so the county gets its money back. The BLM owes these horses for all the land they took from them.

  7. I am sending money for the ispmb and asking my friends to do so if they can afford it, and I am making calls and sending letters to government officials. Everyone, please call your local federal senator and representative to state your position on saving the wild horses and burros. E-mail or call Steve Aberle (SD State Attorney), President Obama, The Department of the Interior, the BLM, Nancy Pelosi (House Minority Leader), Senator Tom Udall (Appropriations Committee). Postal letters carry the most weight; but because time is short, e-mails and phone calls should be made immediately. All postal addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers are available on the Internet. State your opposition to the sale of any horses or burros to kill buyers and to the euthanizing of any unless they are terribly sick or injured and can’t be helped medically. Say you expect everything and anything to be done to save all the horses. It ‘s an extra burden at this time of the year; but if you really care, you must do something. At least, take time to send e-mails and make phone calls if you don’t have money. Inundate the government with your comments. Numbers count. If you are in the East, remember that these are our horses, too. Our taxes support the public and federal land they are on; and our taxes are being used to horrifically round up and pen with little care these horses and burros–except for the ones being intentionally fattened to appeal to kill buyers.
    Send money for hay to save the horses and burros to Dewey County Auditor,
    P.O. Box 277, Timber Lake, SD 57656-0277. Put “ispmb” on the memo line of your check.

  8. thank you for this compassionate and thoughtful update. While I know this is a few month’s old, I also wonder why the situation there became a crisis and I cringe whenever I receive e-mails from advocates, who mean well, but who are playing right into the hands of those who are anti-mustang and probably wanted ISPMB shut down long ago.

    I’m sure I’ll never know the truth of what happened and what led to the near demise of this organization, but I always hope for the best. I hope Ms. Sussman can get it together, I hope wild horse advocates can work together, and I hope we all learn how to live together and support each other. We are going to face even more difficult times ahead with this new administration and in the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”

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