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BLM, advocates battle over whether wild horses have enough water

Horses in Sand Wash Basin in the northwest corner of the state are dealing with dry and hot conditions, and groups like the Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin have urged the BLM to allow water to be delivered to the horses.

A back-and-forth between the Colorado Bureau of Land Management and wild horse enthusiast groups has spilled onto social media, with both groups saying they have the animals' best interest at heart.

Horses in Sand Wash Basin in the northwest corner of the state are dealing with dry and hot conditions, and groups like the Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin have urged the BLM to allow water to be delivered to the horses as the current water sources are drying.

According to the groups, BLM just needs to OK the delivery to the horses; there are already volunteers on standby willing to haul in supplemental water to the animals.

"This is not costing the BLM a dime, all tanks have been purchased with YOUR generous donations," a post on the Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin Facebook group read. "To not allow us to haul water is simply cruel. If a rancher did this to his livestock, he'd be prosecuted for cruelty to animals."

That post has garnered more than 600 shares and a chorus of agreement of people who say they have called BLM to urge them to change their stance.

But Steven Hall, director of communications for the Colorado State Office of the Bureau of Land Management, said the horses have adequate water on the range now.

Hall defended the organization's stance, saying the horses are wild animals and need to be treated as such. He said BLM tries not to do things that would make the horses more dependent on humans, and he believes the horses have adequate water.

Hall said BLM continues to monitor the horses' water sources and if the assessment is made they don't have enough water, BLM will determine a plan from there.