The U.S. Army has made its final decision regarding wild horses that live on land in a National Forest that Fort Polk has taken over to use for training.
The horses will be captured, 10 to 30 at a time, and offered to animal rescue groups. If groups don’t take them, the horses will be offered to the public. If no one takes them, they will be sent to stockyards for sale.
Here is the statement issued Monday regarding the decision:
The Joint Readiness Training Center commanding general has made a final decision on the Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the disposition of trespass horses at Fort Polk.
Using the National Environmental Policy Act process, Fort Polk developed and analyzed a variety of alternatives, including those recommended in public comments, to eliminate the danger to American military personnel caused by the trespass horses.
“Based on my review of the analysis and public comments, I have determined that the selection of any of the proposed courses of action would have no significant impact on the environment and the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required. Thus, I have made a final decision to implement Course of Action 7,” said Brig. Gen. Gary M. Brito, JRTC and Fort Polk commanding general. “I believe this is the correct course of action that will allow Fort Polk to remain the Army’s Premier Training Facility. Our efforts will mitigate safety hazards to our Soldiers and will reduce negative impacts to training.”
Fort Polk officials estimate that approximately 700 to 750 trespass horses occupy U.S. Army training lands on Fort Polk and the Peason Ridge Military Training Area creating a potential safety hazard and disrupting training.
Under COA 7 the Army will catch and corral groups of horses, about 10-30 at a time, and offer them to animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society for inclusion in their adoption program. If animal welfare groups do not take the horses, the Army will offer them to any citizen that will take them, and if that fails the horses will be transported to a livestock auction for sale.
The timeframe for eliminating each group of 10-30 horses will be about 30 days. Concurrently, Fort Polk will actively search for a landowner to take the horses en masse and will also attempt to find another government agency to remove and accept responsibility for the horses.
“The alternative that was selected offers the best opportunity to find a new home for every horse and protects American Soldiers from a catastrophic incident while training at Fort Polk,” said Brito. “This plan gives all interested parties the opportunity to be involved in helping the Army solve the problems it faces.
“For this program to work, we need your help. We look forward to working with interested parties to help these horses find permanent homes while making Fort Polk a safer place for our Soldiers to train,” said Brito.
The next step in the process is to begin developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses. Interested parties can find the full details of the process on page 31 of the environmental assessment at
Animal welfare groups and local citizens can sign up to be added to one of the two lists Fort Polk is developing by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Animal welfare groups should send appropriate documentation so that Fort Polk officials can verify their status as 501(c)(3) groups. Everyone signing up for the program should include good contact information including email address and telephone numbers and the quantity of horses they are interested in taking.
Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.