The judge in the Alto wild horse case has extended the temporary restraining order that bars the state Livestock Board from selling or separating the dozen mares and foals they seized in August.
The extension has little practical effect, since the Board long since shipped the herd back to Lincoln County where they are being looked after by volunteers under court supervision.
The order signed this week by 12th District Judge Dan Bryant said that “the temporary restraining order issued by the Court on Sept. 23, 2016, shall be extended and shall remain in full force and effect until such time a trial on the matter is heard before the Court or unless otherwise stipulated or orderd by the Court.”
It also said that “the persons who have undertaken the responsibilities to take possession of and care for the horses that are the subject matter of this cause of action, shall continue to maintain the care and custody of those horses at the previously agreed location during the pendency of this action.”
The Livestock Board seized the herd under state law that allows it to take custody of “estray livestock” and either return such animals to their owners or sell, relocate or otherwise dispose of them.
The Wild Horse Observers Association with the backing of local wild horse enthusiasts sued the Board, arguing that the dozen horses are wild horses under state law and recent appellate court decisions and the Board has no jurisdiction over them.
Past news stories about the Alto, N.M.-area horses:
Alto, N.M., herd now allowed to mingle, Oct. 27, 2016
Alto, N.M., horse herd close to pasture release, Oct. 20, 2016
Alto, N.M., wild horse herd comes home, Sept. 27, 2016
New Mexico lawyers to debate what makes a wild horse wild, Sept. 13, 2016
Judge orders N.M. Livestock Board to halt wild horse auction, Sept. 8, 2016
N.M. wild horse advocates seek order to stop Livestock Board sale, Sept. 7, 2016
Wild horse advocates sue to protect Alto herd, NM, Aug. 30th, 2016
Alto, N.M., wild horses coming home, Aug. 29, 2016