Officers: Board of Directors: Elmo Thompson, President James D. Smith Bill Smith Allen L. Akers, Vice President Paul Swanson Lisa O'Shields Carolyn A. Dyer, Secretary Rolland Smotherman T.F. Cox Patsy Weaver, Treasurer
"A body of people, united, to preserve and protect,
Missouri's own beauty and heritage.... our wild horses"
The Missouri Wild Horse League (MWHL) was formed in 1992 to protect and maintain a small band of wild horses, approximately 20, that roam the lands surrounding the Current and Jack's Fork Rivers in Shannon County, Missouri. The horses have been running free for almost 100 years. However, the National Park Service decided in 1991 that these horses should not be allowed to roam freely on Federal lands, as they are considered feral animals. These horses are believed to originate mainly from domestic animals that were freed during the Depression years due to the inability of the local farmer to feed them. It has also come to our attention that the parentage of these horses may have a place in history as well, however, we do not have conclusive evidence of this at the current time. Nevertheless, the horses that are roaming free today. are definitely not domesticated animals, in any sense of the word. They are wild and beautiful creatures. Though they will let you get within 50-100 yards of them while they graze, you will have a fight on your hands if you try to catch one of them! An Attorney, Doug Kennedy, from Poplar Bluff, Missouri took interest in our case and has been a major factor in determining the survival of these horses. Doug filed numerous appeals to the courts in both the State of Missouri and Supreme Court of the United States. In 1993 the Supreme Court of the United States denied our final appeal and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land at any time.
On May 24, 1994 several mmembers of the MWHL, along with our attorney, Doug Kennedy, met with the National Park Service to discuss a proposal for the MWHL to take over the responsibility of the horses. The proposal was presented to Superintendent Art Sullivan, who has since retired, which included a maintenance plan to be initiated by the MWHL so that the horses could remain wild and free. The proposal would have been beneficial to the National Park Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the MWHL, as it provided for the cleaning up of several fields which were overgrown with multi-flora rose bush, thorn trees, and weeds so that they were of no use to any wildlife. The proposal also provided that while cleaning up these fields certain acres would be left for wild game cover. In August 1994 Mr. Sullivan rejected our proposal and informed the MWHL that no other proposal would be accepted in the future if it included a way for the horses to remain free. We were very disappointed with this decision and continued our efforts to protect the horses through our United States Representative and Senators.
In October 1994, Congressman Bill Emerson presented a bill to Congress which would make the wild horses a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The bill, along with several others of the same type, was passed through Congress in 1996. The bill was signed in law by President Bill Clinton on October 3, 1996 and the horses are now a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and cannot be removed. Congressman Bill Emerson as well as Senators Kit Bond and John Ashcroft were all driving forces in the passing of this bill and we appreciate their efforts very much. Our attorney, Doug kennedy, was also a major factor in getting the bill to become a reality and he contintues to help us today. Sadly, Congressman Emerson passed away in 1996 and was a great loss for us, but his wife JoAnn has taken over his office and is doing a great job for us now.
In 1997 we began cleaning up the fields specified in the bill and are working successfully today with the National Park Service on other issues as well. The horses are in good condition and number approximately 25 at the current time. They can be seen at different times of the day grazing in the Broadfoot Fields located north of Eminence, in the Shawnee fields located east of Eminence, or in the fields above Two Rivers on V Highway east of Eminence. If you would like to try to spot them give us a call and we'll give you directions to these locations or ask anyone in town how to get there. There were several stallions in the herds and we have begun to take some of them out. The stallions are gelded, wormed and blood is pulled for a coggins test. After we receive the results of the blood test and get the paperwork back on them, they are put up for adoption. Thus far we have adopted out seven geldings.
We appreciate your interest in the horses and want you to know that your support is still needed even though our legal battle is over. We would like for you to become a member. The annual membership fee is $5 per person and the money goes toward the care and maintenance of the horses.
If you would like to join, you may mail in your membership to: Missouri Wild Horse League, P.O. Box 301, Eminence, MO 65466 Ph (573) 226-3492 (573) 226-3339 Update On the killings of 6 Missouri wild horses! Click here
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