Locals urge Gov. Sisolak to permit fertility control program for Virginia Ranch Mustangs

    Locals rally at the State Capitol on March 12, 2019 to urge the state to restart the fertility control program for the Virginia Ranch Mustangs.

    On Wednesday, March 13, members of the Northern Nevada Wild Horse Fertility Control Darting Team are rallying together on the steps of the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City to urge Governor Sisolak to restart to humane fertility control program for the Virginia Range mustangs. The birth control includes administration by use of darts.

    The Virginia Ranch mustangs are a local population of wild horses that live in the greater Reno area, and are cherished by many.

    Attending the event will be, Deborah Walker, the Nevada Field Representative for the American Wild Horse Campaign; Wayne Woolway, a retired Los Angeles Police Department Lieutenant and key team darter and trainer; and Nancy Killian and Eleana Sullivan of the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association, who together have darted hundreds of Virginia Range horses with birth control.

    The Virginia Range horses live in a 300,000-acre habitat -- spanning from Carson City to Reno to Fernley to Silver Spring -- that is rapidly decreasing due to development in the Northern Nevada area.

    Utilizing birth control in the form of the PZP birth control vaccine, is a safe and humane method for reducing population growth and reducing the number of horses in the Virginia Range over time. This approach provides an alternative to removing wild horses from their families and natural habitat on the range.

    The darting team previously worked with the state via a cooperative agreement between the Nevada Department of Agriculture and AWHC, but the NDA abruptly terminated the program in October 2017.

    Over a dozen members of the darting team will be present on Wednesday to explain the program, how the vaccine works, and display the guns, darts and other equipment used.

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