The following document is an official FWS news release pertaining to the
horses that migrated from burned out range into the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge.
Sheldon-Hart Mountain Refuges
18 South G Street, P.O. Box 111,
Lakeview, Oregon 97630
August 22, 2000
Horse gathering work has begun on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
under a contract awarded to Return to Freedom, a California-based horse
sanctuary. Neda DeMayo, the sanctuary's director, has partnered with
Jim Clapp to gather, transport, and care for 400 horses. While many
of the horses will be kept at the sanctuary, DeMayo is leading an effort
to find additional foster homes. Her hope is to place the horses in
family groups to the greatest extent possible.
The terms of the contract require that horses removed from the refuge
are placed in homes where they will receive care for the remainder of
their natural lifes. They may not be taken to auction or sold for
slaughter. There are also many provisions in the contract that ensure
the humane treatment of the horses while they are gathered and transported.
The secondary focus of the contract is to protect the refuge environment.
Horses will be gradually moved into wing traps by riders on horseback.
The laws governing horse management on refuges allow for the use of
motorized vehicles only to transport horses. There are short-term
holding facilities on the refuge where horses will be fed, receive
any necessary medical care, and be brand inspected before they are
transported to the Sanctuary or other adoptive homes.
Return to Freedom's bid proposal was one of seven received. Each bid
was evaluated based on the following weighted criteria: ability to do
the work (35%), past experience (35%), familiarity with location (20%),
and price (10%). Return to Freedom had the highest total point score
and was awarded the contract in July. They have two years to complete
We are committed to the welfare of Sheldon horses and working in partnership
with Return to Freedom, we have ensured the best possible future for the
horses that will be removed from the refuge. Much of the success of this
partnership is dependent upon contributions of support and homes for horses.
Return to Freedom is actively fund raising and seeking foster homes or sponsors
for the Sheldon horses. Applications are being accepted from those interested
in being placed on a waiting list to provide foster homes. Please contact Tori
Nunn at the refuge office in Lakeview (541) 947-3315 or Neda DeMayo at Return to Freedom
(805) 737-9246 for information about how you can help.
Michael L. Nunn
Return to Freedom has sent us additional information to share which can be
accessed by clicking Here.
For a 2004 update on the Sheldon horses, please