Unless redeemed, Leachman horses sell March 31 | TSLN.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Unless redeemed, Leachman horses sell March 31

Following an unsuccessful attempt to hire contractors for the job, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awarded a contract to the Crow Tribe to gather and impound horses from James H. Leachman’s Hairpin Cavvy. Bids submitted for the project exceeded the $25,000 initially budgeted.

A March 2, 2011 legal notice posted by the BIA at Crow Agency, MT, stated intent to impound 600 head of mixed-aged horses located on the Crow Reservation. The notice said owners had five days to remove animals from trust Indian land or risk having them impounded.

The horses are in trespass on the Crow Reservation east of Billings, MT.



Dated March 14, a contract between the BIA and the Crow Tribe stipulates the tribe will be paid $45,000 for costs to coordinate the preparation, roundup and impoundment. Unless redeemed by Leachman or lien holders, the horses are scheduled to be sold at public auction March 31.

Causing some confusion among those following the situation is the statement that the BIA and Crow Tribe will negotiate for the husbandry care and sale of the horses “should funds become available.” As it reads, the contract covers only the gathering and securing of the animals in a long-vacant cattle feedlot.



The document specifies the tribe must obtain the services of a veterinarian to observe the roundup and impoundment, but that any additional veterinary needs due to poor condition of the horses is outside the scope of the agreement.

Leachman’s vast, roaming herd, estimated between 600-800 head, came to light in January 2011, when five horses were found dead or were euthanized as directed by a veterinarian. The deaths resulted in 10 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Four additional counts stemming from two more horses that were euthanized have since been filed by the Yellowstone County Attorney. In all, Leachman faces a maximum sentence of seven years and a $7,000 fine. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Fearing the horses were on the verge of starvation, an emergency feeding program was initiated by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and coordinated by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Foundation. NILE General Manager Justin Mills said as of March 15, his group and the sheriff’s office have spent $20,000 caring for the horses. They’ve fed 140 tons of hay, some of it donated; some of it paid for by cash contributions.

Yellowstone County Undersheriff Kevin Evans lauded the NILE Foundation’s role in the feeding operation. “They were able to accept the donations and had the right contacts,” Evan said. “They also had people who could help us with the feeding. We didn’t have the time to do it all. It’s been a lifesaver to have the organization behind us.”

While the contract took effect on March 14, the tribe asked the NILE to continue feeding the horses. That prompted the NILE to issue a media release saying they have ceased the day-to-day feeding and care of Operation Home Place, turning it over to the Crow Tribe effective the 14th. The NILE will, however, continue to provide hay, cover the cost of the transporting hay to the area where the horses will be impounded, pay for rental of the feedlot where the horses will be held, and assist with costs associated with veterinary care as the remaining donated funds allow.

“We have hay stockpiled for another 15 days,” Mills said. “However, we are currently planning to bring in three additional truckloads of hay in hopes that (with no delays) it should get us through the sale and then some.”

While the physical condition of the horses has garnered the greatest media attention, the underlying trespass of the horses is what is driving the impoundment. Neighboring ranchers and law enforcement agencies have been dealing with the wandering horses for months, and in some cases, years. Remedying the complex situation is proving a challenge as multiple law enforcement and tribal agencies work toward a solution.

Area ranchers whose property and leases adjoin the former Leachman property banded together recently to gather horses in the outlying areas. They hired a helicopter and pilot from Billings Flying Service to coax the animals out of the rugged terrain and push them closer toward the ranch headquarters.

With the addition of these horses, Mills said they have been feeding 20 big round hay bales daily to more than 600 horses in the 2,400-acre Tschirgi pasture. Included in the group is approximately 200 head of young stallions. The pasture is near where Leachman held both his cattle and horse sales in years past.

It is believed that the sale will take place at the former Leachman sale facility at the Home Place Ranch, 16 miles east of Billings. A call to the BIA at Crow Agency to confirm this was referred to their public affairs specialist in Washington; it went unreturned.

Jann Parker at Billings Livestock said neither she nor her husband, Bill, had been contacted about hosting the sale at that location.

Leachman’s difficulties extend beyond horses. The Montana Department of Revenue ran a legal notice in the Feb. 24 Billings Times stating its intent to collect $179,098 in delinquent taxes.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to hire contractors for the job, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awarded a contract to the Crow Tribe to gather and impound horses from James H. Leachman’s Hairpin Cavvy. Bids submitted for the project exceeded the $25,000 initially budgeted.

A March 2, 2011 legal notice posted by the BIA at Crow Agency, MT, stated intent to impound 600 head of mixed-aged horses located on the Crow Reservation. The notice said owners had five days to remove animals from trust Indian land or risk having them impounded.

The horses are in trespass on the Crow Reservation east of Billings, MT.

Dated March 14, a contract between the BIA and the Crow Tribe stipulates the tribe will be paid $45,000 for costs to coordinate the preparation, roundup and impoundment. Unless redeemed by Leachman or lien holders, the horses are scheduled to be sold at public auction March 31.

Causing some confusion among those following the situation is the statement that the BIA and Crow Tribe will negotiate for the husbandry care and sale of the horses “should funds become available.” As it reads, the contract covers only the gathering and securing of the animals in a long-vacant cattle feedlot.

The document specifies the tribe must obtain the services of a veterinarian to observe the roundup and impoundment, but that any additional veterinary needs due to poor condition of the horses is outside the scope of the agreement.

Leachman’s vast, roaming herd, estimated between 600-800 head, came to light in January 2011, when five horses were found dead or were euthanized as directed by a veterinarian. The deaths resulted in 10 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Four additional counts stemming from two more horses that were euthanized have since been filed by the Yellowstone County Attorney. In all, Leachman faces a maximum sentence of seven years and a $7,000 fine. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Fearing the horses were on the verge of starvation, an emergency feeding program was initiated by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and coordinated by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Foundation. NILE General Manager Justin Mills said as of March 15, his group and the sheriff’s office have spent $20,000 caring for the horses. They’ve fed 140 tons of hay, some of it donated; some of it paid for by cash contributions.

Yellowstone County Undersheriff Kevin Evans lauded the NILE Foundation’s role in the feeding operation. “They were able to accept the donations and had the right contacts,” Evan said. “They also had people who could help us with the feeding. We didn’t have the time to do it all. It’s been a lifesaver to have the organization behind us.”

While the contract took effect on March 14, the tribe asked the NILE to continue feeding the horses. That prompted the NILE to issue a media release saying they have ceased the day-to-day feeding and care of Operation Home Place, turning it over to the Crow Tribe effective the 14th. The NILE will, however, continue to provide hay, cover the cost of the transporting hay to the area where the horses will be impounded, pay for rental of the feedlot where the horses will be held, and assist with costs associated with veterinary care as the remaining donated funds allow.

“We have hay stockpiled for another 15 days,” Mills said. “However, we are currently planning to bring in three additional truckloads of hay in hopes that (with no delays) it should get us through the sale and then some.”

While the physical condition of the horses has garnered the greatest media attention, the underlying trespass of the horses is what is driving the impoundment. Neighboring ranchers and law enforcement agencies have been dealing with the wandering horses for months, and in some cases, years. Remedying the complex situation is proving a challenge as multiple law enforcement and tribal agencies work toward a solution.

Area ranchers whose property and leases adjoin the former Leachman property banded together recently to gather horses in the outlying areas. They hired a helicopter and pilot from Billings Flying Service to coax the animals out of the rugged terrain and push them closer toward the ranch headquarters.

With the addition of these horses, Mills said they have been feeding 20 big round hay bales daily to more than 600 horses in the 2,400-acre Tschirgi pasture. Included in the group is approximately 200 head of young stallions. The pasture is near where Leachman held both his cattle and horse sales in years past.

It is believed that the sale will take place at the former Leachman sale facility at the Home Place Ranch, 16 miles east of Billings. A call to the BIA at Crow Agency to confirm this was referred to their public affairs specialist in Washington; it went unreturned.

Jann Parker at Billings Livestock said neither she nor her husband, Bill, had been contacted about hosting the sale at that location.

Leachman’s difficulties extend beyond horses. The Montana Department of Revenue ran a legal notice in the Feb. 24 Billings Times stating its intent to collect $179,098 in delinquent taxes.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User



( function ( body ) { 'use strict'; body.className = body.className.replace( /\btribe-no-js\b/, 'tribe-js' ); } )( document.body );