Wednesday, June 29, 2011


 Medicine Hat Mustang from Twin Peaks Trapped in Michigan Needs to Come Home
ABOVE and LEFT PHOTOS: TWIN PEAKS MEDICINE HAT:  This horse is over 10 years old and in (CORRECTION) his prime.  He is cut up from the roundup — either from the chute, loading into the trailer, or during the trailer ride itself.  These two photos were taken a day after he was driven in by helicopter.

He has multiple cuts and bruises, but look at his graceful curves and lines, his elegant beauty and self carriage.  You can feel the life in him, and his robust vigor and health are evident.

BELOW:  Can you believe this is the same horse 10 months later?  This horse I call White Magic Mist is now languishing in a Michigan pen and facing possible shipping to Florida.  Note the protruding hipbone.
So this is White Magic Mist 10 months later.  Let's bring (CORRECTION) him  home.
           29 "sale authority" Twin Peaks wild horses began their serious decline in health February 2011 as they arrived in Michigan, shipped by BLM to Wendi Bierling who has a "Sale Authority Mustang" Group at Unbridled Spirit Ranch.  Apparently they started out with a 28-hour trailer ride with no food or water during that time.  Ms. Bierling states she had adopters who fell through.  I don't think she intended harm, but however it happened, she wasn't able to care for them adequately. 
More Twin Peaks Horses from Unbridled Spirit Ranch in Michigan
photo by Jodi Louth Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition
photo by Jodi Louth Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition
photo by Jodi Louth Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition
            These horses have been in the news because they deteriorated so badly that by the time Wendi Bierling asked for help, body scores of 1 and 2 were seen among a number of formerly stunning horses Ms. Bierling saw on my and others' blogs.
            One mare escaped from where she was housed and was shot by a police officer as she was running along a freeway, her mustang legs having carried her brilliantly through the roundup only to lay slain on a Michigan road.
            Before anyone criticizes the officer, I have to say that at that point, that was probably the kindest thing the officer could have done.  The point is:  Things should never have come to that. 
            The other mare, who had recently foaled, was cast in her stall.  In an incompetent attempt to help her, this mare's neck was broken when people used a rope around her neck and tried to pull her out enough to get her legs underneath her.  She was then apparently shot to euthanize  her.  ("Cast" means while laying down, either from rolling or resting, an animal is unable to get her legs back underneath herself to rise because one or more of her legs are either under a fence or too close to a wall so she can't flip over.) This mare left an orphan foal behind.  I do not know if this mare was being fostered or in Ms. Bierling's care.
           However, in a fellow advocate's thorough, well-documented blog, Where the Wild Horses Are, more details on these horses are provided by someone who has diligently followed them and has documentation of them before and after landing in Wendi Bierling's care or lack thereof.  Please be sure to come back (or stay) to the end of this post, however, for timely information and vitally  needed action for the best chance TO GET THESE HORSES HOME.
           After law enforcement had begun its investigation, arrangements were being made to foster the horses elsewhere until they were well enough to travel.  Authorities seemed ready to work with us, but it has all fallen apart since the Prosecutor's Office isn't taking action.  Unfortunately, it has come to this:  charges will have to be filed if these horses are to be protected.  Most people agree that bringing them home, to the country they know and the feed they are accustomed to, would be the horses' first choice and best for them. 
            I will tell you how we can help these horses.  Below is a video of them in their current circumstances so you can see they really are ready to come home to permanent sanctuary in California, and you can help that happen — and no, this isn't a pitch for money although any sanctuary can always use donations. 

(Correction: It's Lieutenant Baker, not Sgt. Kuhn.)
             ALTHOUGH in a telephone conversation Lieutenant Baker confirmed to me that he has recommended that charges be filed, and this case now sits in the hands of the Allegan Prosecutor Fred Anderson, there is in fact more Lieutenant Baker can do though he is reluctant to do so. THE PROSECUTOR SHOULD BE TAKING ACTION AT THIS POINT.  However, Lt. Baker:
  • now knows the evidence in this investigation is about to be forever lost to Michigan and sent to Florida since I informed him on Wednesday, June 29, of Ms. Bierling's pending sale of these horses; and,
  • has been made to understand that these horses are as yet in no condition to travel such a distance (long trailer rides are hard on horses). 
Therefore, it is not a far leap to state that additional charges of abuse could and should be filed were Ms. Bierling to effect such a sale at this time.
             Importantly, Lt. Baker appears to have a duty to seize these animals and arrest and/or charge Ms. Bierling without warrant, as MCL 750.53, states since he has knowledge of an action she is about to take that would likely be a continuance of alleged criminal neglect and abuse, i.e., subjecting them to such a trip in their current debilitated condition.
             Michigan Law requires him to act, and if he does not, he himself may well be guilty of a misdemeanor.
             MCL 750.52 Duty to Enforce Provision - This statute provides that it is the duty of the officials involved in animal cruelty investigations to arrest and prosecute those committing the offenses where there is knowledge or reasonable notice of the acts.  The failure or neglect by an officer involved to do so may result in a  misdemeanor.
             MCL 750.53 Search and Seizure Provision - This statute provides that a person violating any of the animal cruelty statutes may be arrested without warrant, similar to the arrest of those found disturbing the peace.  Further, the official making the arrest has a duty to seize the animals involved and place them in the custody of the juridiction.
          I personally heard (CORRECTION) Lieutenant Baker to be very concerned about these animals, but perhaps he needs to be encouraged to step out while Attorney Anderson sits on his hands.  The Sheriff doesn't always have to wait for the Prosecutor.  We all know when law enforcment sees laws being broken and wrongs being done, they act, and let the attorneys figure it out in Court.  I believe these horses' plight and possible dismal future, what with the abundant illegal slaughter known in Florida,  and the law require Lt. Baker to act unilaterally in this case and force Attorney Anderson's sat-upon hand into action.
           Lt. Baker's number, if you have questions for him, is 269/673-0500 Ext. 122537.  He is recommending charges be filed and is waiting for the District Attorney to act.  This man seems a friend to the horses, so let's just help him do what's right and address him with the utmost respect.  He has already done a lot for them by pressing for charges. 
             Unfortunately, this is all necessary because Ms. Bierling is not communicating, not returning my calls or Jodi Louth's from the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition, and her telephone appears to be off the hook.  I had hoped she would work directly with us to get these horses back home since right now since she claims to care about them, and she is still, ominously, the legal owner and can sell the horses, a number of whom are still in her custody and care although we were told they would be fostered out (and some are).

             This baby didn't make it.  Jewel, his mother, was emaciated and fostered out for care. 
 Photo by Jodi Louth
             He was apparently rejected by Jewel, who was so skeletal when the baby was born, she probably instinctively knew she didn't have enough in her to sustain a baby and survive herself.  The foal wasn't found until he had already gone without nursing for a full 24 hours.  Again, you can read more details of his story on Where the Wild Horses Are.  
              DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary has offered to bring these displaced horses home and give them permanent sanctuary with River and Dahlia and the other Calico girls, and the other fortunate horses and burros there.  The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition is working with us and has been a good liaison to Michigan law enforcement to help bring these girls home.
             Allegan County Prosecutor Fred Anderson is dragging his feet, and as a result these horses may be sold by Ms. Bierling.  A reliable source has informed me that Ms. Bierling has plans to sell a number of horses to a man coming from Florida on Saturday, July 2, to take "a bunch" back with him, and others dispersed elsewhere, two to North Carolina, and a number in Florida for breeding.
         269/673-0280  Prosecuting Attorney Fred Anderson
             It's time for us to press the Allegan County District Attorney Prosecutor Anderson to take action.  We can only leave messages between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time.  
         He is the head Prosecutor in Allegan County; the buck stops with him.  
         What we are asking for now:
          1) That he immediately follow through on Lt. Baker's recommendations and file charges, thereby authorizing the Sheriff's Office to put a freeze on any transfers of ownership or any movement of these horses and stop any out-of-state transport of these horses until a determination is reached.  
                 Ms. Bierling is still the legal owner of these horses, and since she has stopped communicating and is about to remove the horses from anyone's sight by the sale to a Florida man, this needs to happen immediately. 
             2) To assign Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition (MHWC) as overseeing conservator of all the subject horses to protect them, and to remove all the remaining Twin Peaks horses from Ms. Bierling's custody, including White Magic Mist.
              Lt. Baker assured me the Sheriff's Office is monitoring the horses; we would prefer to see the MHWC doing the monitoring. 
                 3) That he facilitate the return of the Twin Peaks wild horses to DreamCatcher in northern California, at virtually no expense to Allegan County.  Since DreamCatcher has offered to put up a care bond to defray Allegan County's costs — since they seem so concerned about the costs — Prosecutor Anderson has no excuse not to act. 
              Here is a convenient copy-and-paste email chain to the Allegan Sheriff, Animal Control, Prosecutor, and Fox News, who covered the story.     Please send a polite short letter (or long if you wish) email to these people/organizations and let them know you want theses horses protected from sale outside Michigan at this time, that charges need to be filed, and that DreamCatchers and the advocate community stand ready to help.  
Photo by Jonathan Gruenke,,,,

             So, simple message:  immediately file charges to stop the transport of these horses;  help them come home.
              DREAMCATCHER stands ready to transport these older horses home and give them a life virtually free from pens, on land 20 miles from their home.  They need to come home.  
Thank you for taking action. 
For all the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends, 
Those who were, and those yet to be,
Elyse Gardner

Here is a partial list of stories and links about these horses as things were unfolding.  Please pray for a good outcome for these innocents and add your small part of action.  Action, however small, feels good.  Thank you again.  


  1. Elyse, you have done an AMAZING job of telling this story. Thank you. Your work, research, and effort will make it possible for a lot of people who care to move forward in helping get these horses to a safe haven! You're wonderful!

  2. Thank you for the follow through Elyse. God I hope the remaining horses get out of the there fast!

  3. Excellent follow through Elyse. I called today, and left a message with the prosecutor. I also left my phone numbers, but no return call was received. I will call the sheriff tomorrow. Thank you, and I pray the outcome is for these lovely horses to run wild and free at DreamCatchers sanctuary.

  4. I had the honor and pleasure of spending a week out on the Dreamcatcher Sanctuary a few years ago when my daughter worked there as an intern. It was an awesome experience to be among these beautiful creatures grazing and roaming freely on open land. I will pray for the speedy intervention of the necessary authorities and the future of these beautiful creatures with Barbara at Dreamcatcher. Thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of these innocent victims of our system, and thank you, Barbara, for your ongoing unselfish actions on behalf of all the wild horses and burros.

    Rita Benson, Missouri

  5. Elyse,
    Please contact me at: I have information about the MI BLM wild horses. Thanks

  6. H Elyse. Thank you for posting this. Word needs to get out and these horses desperately need help before it's too late! Just wanted to let you know though, that the photos of the medicine hat mare you took and the photo of the medicine hat horse at Wendi's are not the same horse. The one at Wendi's is a gelding. He is 12 years old. Tag #1616. He was a big majestic stallion, now a meek, emaciated, and miserable gelding, starving in a hell hole. This is tragic. Thanks again for all the hard work you do for the wild horses. I would only ask that you make sure your facts are correct. I understand that it makes for a better story, but then it loses it's credibility and becomes just that... a story. Let's get them home!!! :)

  7. I cannot say what I really want to after seeing these photos. This is disgraceful and absolutely outrageous!

  8. It turns out that the photos I took of White Magic at the top of this blog were in fact in a stud pen & I've corrected the blog to say "him." When I spoke with Wendi a few weeks ago she told me she specifically asked BLM for the white medicine hat horse with the cut-up face she saw depicted on my blog. I had thought them to be in a mare pen — and in fact BLM at first had White Magic at temp holding in a mare pen when fellow advocate Chrystie Davis saw her before I got there. So if it's a different horse, then BLM had two medicine hats remarkably similar. I do not recall seeing two. I have a call in to them to see if there were two. Thanks!

  9. This is a sad situation and I have been there and a friend was frantic at getting her own horse out of there after this lady used her own personal hay to feed the animals. The worst part isthat the county is NOT prepared/capable of handling 25 horses that are domesticated, let alone 25 wild starving horses. I seen what happened when they took 7. They almost killed the horse and almost caused an accident because the horse got loose and got in the road. Theowners were trying to help them load them. They were threatening to arrest them. When the horses were returned they were not in any better shape. Not to mention the county took the horses with the owner's leads and halters. When they returned, they were wearing the same halters and using the same leads. The owner asked if he could have the leads back and the halters. They scoffed him andtook the halters off the horses that were returned wild. It took a wk to get halters back on them and calm them back down. The county NEEDS to press the charges and turn them over to the coalition for care. To people who actually know what they are doing.

  10. Thank you for this valuable feedback. Helps piece the puzzle together.

  11. I am in texas. I have 40+ years with horses and have adopted 3 mustangs personally, and trained them all. I have a mare with a foal by her side currently. The mare was unknowingly pregnant so the baby has birth defects but he is loved and I tend to him and his medications daily. I love these Mustangs. I would like to help with these Mustangs. How do we adopt? Who do I contact? Thanks, Lita ... Texas

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Thank you, Lita. DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary is offering to pay all costs and bring these horses home and give them a virtually free-roaming lifestyle just 20 miles from their home range, but Ms. Bierling is still the legal owner and has other plans for them. This is because the Prosecutor's failure to act has left these horse's under her ownership, which is why I and many thousands are so outraged. So the horses do have a place to go that they would prefer to any other, virtually undoubtedly, other than their previous lives restored — which they actually could be if they were in DreamCatcher's custody since DreamCatcher is a plaintiff in the Twin Peaks lawsuit. That is, if the Court rules in Plaintiff's favor, it is likely they will order the horses returned to the range. Now THAT would be a truly happy ending.

  14. Would the person who left the Anonymous comment about having a friend who was frantic to get her horse out of Wendi Bierling's place please contact me at my personal email, I would really appreciate that. No publicity, no names, but I'd like to talk with you.
    Thank you. — Elyse Gardner

  15. If these horses were caught in a roundup in August 2010, then I don't think the woman who has custody of them has ownership or the right to determine their fate. Doesn't it take a year before the horse officially passes from BLM to the new owner?
    If this is the case then the BLM should be able to send someone to confiscate the horses, which they should do, especially since they do not have to take physical custody.

  16. Barbara, would that it were so! But if you look at my newest blog I talk about"sale authority" mustangs. These horses are sold with a bill of sale given to the buyer, who immediately becomes the legal owner, period. At that point they lose their 'wild horse" status and BLM has neither right nor responsibility for them or to them any longer. "Sale authority" is the result of the "Burns Amendment" to the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. See my new blog at

  17. How many more? We have lost so many of our wonderful mustangs and it just keeps on going. How many are now on hold by BLM. How many family groups are no longer around? How many are still to be rounded up, broken and killed this year? To never to be replaced, saved or thought of again.
    This needs to stop. If there have a place to go why not let them. Do the people that are buying them know or care? We do not know about this but can guess.
    As for the Sale authority, that to is just a way for BLM to get rid of as more of the mustangs as they can, with no care of what happens to them. Yes, they are owned when some one buys from them from the Sale Authority. But dose not care if they will give care to them, but just that someone has taken them. Would they of been better off if they would of been shot. I know what I just said was harsh but to have them live like what we just saw is living? In so much pain, but with out hope, water or food? Why kind of living is this? Just not right at all! This is been allowed because they are mustangs? The horse that helped us start this county. Yet was here before we the people came or was the USA!
    They have families and felling too, just like the horses in your back yard or barn. But this is being allowed every were.

  18. In my state animal control would have snatched these horses out from under these wretched people; where is your HSUS, SPCA, AGRICULTURE DEPT, POLICE DEPT., your TV/NEWS AGENCIES; grab them all and take them out on a bus and show these idiots what a horse looks like when it's about to die! In AK. They would confiscate them immediately and our volunteers in area would chip in if it was on and in the news/ in their face 24/7! This is not acceptible for "city fathers" to allow such inhumane treatment to any living animal

  19. What a wonderful job you're doing, documenting and writing about these poor horses. To anyone reading: Don't go into denial for even a moment that the BLM will allow mustangs to live without advocates' constant monitoring. In Canada, we've had thousands of our mustangs shot and sent to slaughter. We only have a few hundred left in the entire country. The BC government even paid Aboriginal people to shoot mustangs for wolf bait in '08. The US mustangs really could all disappear. It's happened here with such a lack of media coverage, it's just astonishing. When the beef ranchers want that land, you have to put up one helluva fight.

    1. Thank you, Horse Protection Canada. I never got this comment — usually my email tells me when someone comments. We are waging the fight for the wild horses. My friend and colleague Laura Leigh, founder of is doing incredible work. So many who are not doing nearly as much are better at raising funds. Nevertheless, the wild horses are being kept in the public eye and in our politicians agendas.

  20. Sadly, the Prosecutor Fred Anderson has decline to prosecute Wendi Beirling or any of her cohorts in this case. Although many of the mustangs are now "fostered" with freinds of Wendi, the still remain in Wendi's control and ownership. Outrage and calls have fallen on deaf ears. A lady in Newaygo Mi "adopted" three mares with foals but many of us fear that wendi will swoop in and "repossess" the foals as soon as they are weaned, a right she maintains under the adoption contract that allows her to seize any animal or foal within the first 6 month period. This is a horrid situation and the horse community is outraged in MI.

  21. We have promiced not to let this issue die here in MI, please help and sign the petition.

  22. I feel so much pity. I will pray for a better outcome for these poor horses. Thank you for sharing this one.
    Horse Dewormer

    1. Please do continue to pray. We got 9 back. There are others still in the control of Ms. Bierling and some foster homes in Michigan, and there is reason to hope they will turn those horses over to DreamCatcher also. DreamCatcher is ready to take them if that can happen.

  23. Its all just so cruel, but totally unnecessarily so. WHY wont BLM protect the pathways for the captured horses so that they dont end up like this? WHY wont BLM ensure that these wild animals go to people who care for them? It just makes no sense & its sickening that mankind has does this.

  24. This is shameful! The BLM's "stewardship " of the wild horses and burros must not abdicate its responsibilties after the round-ups. There has to be a more humane way of culling these horses and ensuring they do not meet even SADDER FATES out there on their native lands than when rounded up and relocated.

    Karina Rosenberg Nov. 9, 2012

  25. ross family in detour,mi. did the same 1 wild,others none but beagle hounds-first kennels burn lost dogs,2 fell in ice lost around 5,3 this winter don't shovel kennels,no bedding,dont feed often.bad area shouldn't be able to have I don't no if lics.either.north caribou lake rd. just west of caribou lake where they live 2 house ,2,big barns.sosomethind should be done I called but nothing 2 they put horse seen on dad that's died so he would get out of it so they could have beagle.people told her he says they have shots,wormed.but a dairy farmer lady bought 1 beagle pup for husband but died,they took it to vet said all worms,stray in stomach,bone, not well living condtions.not all people bad,but that's whats make it hard on next persons that's what a animal.not animals also pup breeder of bad pups health wise,very bad conds. take look you can see from rd.

    1. Dear Anonymous, I am so sorry; I never saw your message until just now. Is this situation still happening? Are these people till neglecting animals? Thank you for reaching out to help.

  26. how do I get someone to help some horses in my area there is people in Allegan county Michigan starving horses and nothing seems to be getting done. there is one woman I know for sure harriet rogalla at 1115 54th st Fennville mi that is starving her horses. in march animal control was contacted because there were 2 dead horses there. nothing was done. and the horses she has now are so thin you can see every rib on them. she has a barn but it is full of stuff so horses have no shelter. these horses will die if I cant find help. but I don't know where to turn from here. so if someone can spead the word this would be wonderful. the ladies phone number is 269-330-6145. This woman has 2 round bales on her property right now but blocks the horses from eating it just so she can say she has food on the property. she gets free bread and feeds that to them once in awhile. the colder it gets the more these horses will suffer. so please someone try and help these horses.

  27. Thank you for this very troubling email, Horselover. Is there any way you can take photos, please, of the situation you describe? Then email them to These people were vital in helping rescue many of the horses described in this blog. Please feel free to email me directly at

  28. I for one am mad at this article. If anyone has talked wendi you would know she was devistated for this to happen. Both medicine hats are in great shape (one is a little on the chubby side). I adopted two mustangs from her and they are the best horses ever. Please remember, people love drama and facts get missed or mixed up. And for the record, Wendi would NEVER sell her mustangs to someone for a buck, or to anyone who she thinks may be a kill buyer. These horses are her life and they are amazing with her. Yes some sad things happened during rough times, I go out there twice a week and help work with the horses and with wendi.