Wild Horse, Burro Adoption Set For Event Center

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Round 'em up, head 'em out -- Payson is about to host its first wild horse and burro adoption.

Bureau of Land Management Public Affairs Officer Diane Williams confirmed that the adoption would take place June 20-22, probably at the Payson Event Center.

While the popular adoptions have taken place in other small towns around Arizona, including Show Low, none has ever been held in Payson.

"You have the new event center now; a place it can be held," Williams said.

Although BLM officials are in the process of ironing out the details of the adoption, BLM will bring about 30 wild horses and 10 burros to the event. All the animals have been gathered from public lands in the west, Williams said.

Also, the animals are in good health and have records of vaccinations as well as herd origin and equine information.

Potential adopters must submit applications to BLM providing both personal information and facts about the facilities where the animals will be cared for.

BLM can approve or reject the applications.

The first day of the adoption process is an "open house" in which the animals will be available for viewing and potential adopters can submit their applications.

Beginning at 10 a.m., June 21, a 30-minute silent bid auction will be held for all BLM-approved adopters.

Bids will begin at $125 per animal.

After the auction, anyone who has made a successful bid on an animal may then participate in "adopt-a-buddy" in which they can chose another horse, from those remaining, for $25, Williams said.

After the auction and "adopt-a-buddy" are over, all remaining animals may be adopted for $125 each.

After all fees are paid, BLM officials will help load the animals in the adopter's trailer.

Williams said the BLM would allow civic groups or organizations to set up refreshment booths at the event.

BLM officials are expecting larger than usual crowds because the event center is located next to the Beeline Highway -- a busy road to the Rim Country during the warm summer months.

Also on the same weekend the adoption is occurring, team sorting and gymkhana events will be held in the PEC.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives the BLM the authority to protect, manage and control wild horses.

The BLM's main responsibility under the law is to determine the appropriate management level (AML) of the horses and burros living on public lands.

Because the animals have no natural predators, herd sizes can double in four years.

To help restore balance on the rangeland and its resources, BLM rounds up some of the horses and burros and offers them for adoption to those able to provide proper care.

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