Serious Concerns

On August 17th, 2008, an Anonymous reader posted the comment pasted below in its entirety, which reports some very serious allegations regarding both BLMs Nevada Wild Horse & Burro Lead Susie Stokke, as well as how Silent Auctions for wild horse and burro adoptions are being run in Nevada, contrary to BLMs posted rules at the events.

Mr. Pierce has followed through on the promises he made on August 17th and has now filed criminal charges against Ms. Stokke as well as calling for her resignation.

The I-Team in Las Vegas has also released a news report on the incident titled, "Accusations Made Against Top Official At BLM". Click Here to view the newscast as well as a link to the full list of complaints levied against Ms. Stokke.

American Herds wishes to offer Mr. Pierce both acknowledgement and sympathy for having to endure such a level of hostility by a government employee that he felt compelled to pursue this course of action; both to stand up for his rights as an American citizen as well as now feeling afraid for himself and his family merely for asking BLM to abide by their own posted rules regarding wild horse and burro adoptions.

While reading Mr. Pierce's accounting and as his story unfolds, also keep in mind that in addition to what he and his family had to go through as they merely tried to adopt one of the thousands of mustangs and burros now at risk of death because BLM has "too many", also consider the larger implications of BLM not following their own posted rules.

Volunteers going around attempting to push potential adopters into bidding higher after the deadline had clearly passed also raises serious questions about what is going on during BLM adoptions besides Mr. Pierces allegations of intimidation and personal threats.

Some of these include:

*Could this sort of action be legally defined as government extortion?

*Is Ms. Stokke acting independently or just upholding an "unwritten" policy of BLMs in the Wild Horse & Burro Program?

*Is this incident just a microcosm of the same sort of actions being levied against the American public through BLMs recent announcement of needing "more money" or they are going to euthanize thousands of wild horses and burros?

Mr. Pierce has granted permission for his email address to be publicly posted. If anyone else has witnessed BLM pushing adopters to bid higher after the bidding deadline has passed during BLMs Silent Auctions and you are not afraid to come forward with this information, please consider contacting Mr. Pierce with your information as perhaps this sort of inappropriate behavior may have caused or will continue to cause potential adopters to back out of giving a wild horse and burro a good home!

This is Mr. Pierce's accounting of his experience with trying to adopt a wild horse at the Mustang and Burro Expo on August 16, 2008.

From: Loren Pierce [mailto:lorenpierce@rtci.net]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:59 AM

I want to address this very serious concern with you concerning the actions and inappropriate behavior of a member of the Bureau of Land Management in Carson City, Nevada.

Yesterday, August 16, 2008 my wife, three year old daughter and I went to the Reno Wild Horse and Burro Show. While attending the show we decided to register with the BLM so that we could adopt if we found that special horse. At the registration desk inside the livestock event center, on the desk of the BLM was a sign that clearly stated “Silent Auction, Bids close at 12:00”. This rule was not adhered too and created a very nasty situation due to rules being broken and re-written by Ms. Susie Stokke and she deemed fit.

During the actual reading of the bids, the woman from the Mustang Heritage Foundation would ask others if they wanted to make a higher bid on a horse. While some horses did not have bidders at all, I agree that asking for a bid at that time for those horses was appropriate, however; it was well after the 12:00 P.M. cutoff and they (Susie Stokke and The Mustang Heritage Foundation) were asking people for higher bids, even on the horses that bidders had already bid on prior to the 12:00 p.m. deadline. When the horse came up that I had placed a bid on, again, they asked for a higher bid. Another bidder had attempted to out bid me and I objected, referring them to the rules posted on the desk. Susie Stokke spoke up and said “Sir, We make the rules here you don’t”. Susie Stokke and I got into an argument over the situation and the other bidder withdrew her bid. I went into the event center and double checked the sign on the desk that confirmed that Ms. Stokke and the Foundation was not abiding by the rules of bidding as they were posted. I returned to the bidding area to get my horse and to correct Ms. Stokke on the rules that were clearly posted at the BLM exhibit inside the Reno Livestock and Events Center.

Susie Stokke then realized who I was “Past Vice-President of the NWHA” and became very rude. During our paperwork process I was standing in line like everyone else waiting my turn, when I got to Susie Stokie at her spot at the processing desk she completely ignored me. As I stood in front of her for nearly 5 minutes with my three year old daughter by my side waiting for her to get my paperwork; people standing behind me in line were offered helped first and Susie never offered me any assistance. I then asked her “Am I just standing breathing the air for my health” at that time she stated “You need to go to the back of the line sir, I can’t find your paperwork” (sarcastically). I argued with her and told her that “I was not going anywhere and that she didn’t even look for my paperwork”. (Ms. Stokke didn’t even know the number of the horse I was bidding on so how could she not find my paperwork)? Ms. Stokke then stood up and told me again to go to the back of the line in a threatening manner (standing up, puffing out her chest, and telling everyone that I was causing a disturbance) when in fact it was her that was creating the hostile situation.

I asked her “and if I don’t” and she then stated: “I will have my guys take care of you”. I asked her “is that a threat?” at which point a very tall man (Boddie) sitting at the table approached me and told me to leave. I felt very threatened. I then got out of line and demanded a refund of my money for the horse. Susie refused to give me my money back and was very rude, loud and threatening. I got back in line and told my wife that I have been humiliated by Susie Stokke and that we were going to see our lawyer and sue. Susie then demanded that I leave and take my family with me. Again I refused. Susie then got up from the table and left.

Once Susie was out of the mix everything went smooth and the other people who were involved offered their apologies for the situation. I am filing a police report on Monday morning with the Reno PD for assault. As Susie threatened me and then had a much larger man approach me. At that point I felt harm would come to either me or my family. My family was completely humiliated and embarrassed by this situation and the behavior of Susie Stokie and the Bureau of Land Management at this event. If my conduct was so disturbing why didn’t she call security? Why didn’t she just move me through the process to get me out of there? Was she simply grandstanding and purposely trying to embarrass and humiliate me and my family as Wild Horse Advocates and former members of the NWHA?

I have obtained witness contact information, including some that may be a shock to Ms. Stokke and the BLM. These witnesses heard firsthand the conversations in their entirety and who did not believe she acted appropriately.

I am demanding Ms. Stokke’s resignation. A police report will be filed against Ms. Stokke for assault, and terroristic threatening. Due to our address and it’s very close proximity to BLM lands, we must now fear for our safety every time we see a BLM vehicle near our property because of the threat made by Ms. Susie Stokke. I will pursue this matter civilly due to Ms. Stokke’s infliction of emotional distress, humiliation, and threats on my three year old daughter, my wife and myself.

A copy of this letter has been delivered to George Knapp of KLAS TV in Las Vegas and a copy will be sent to your office via Certified Mail and to the office of the Secretary of the Interior and US Senator Harry Reid.

Private Citizens should not have to be intimidated, humiliated, threatened, coerced, and embarrassed by members of your department or any other member of the United States Government or agents acting on its behalf.

Loren “Jay” Pierce
Past Vice President,

Department of Interior Dirk Kempthorne
Senator Harry Reid
Senator John Ensign
George Knapp
Reno Police Department (as attachment)


Mustang Lady said...

Mr. Pierce I commend you for your COURAGE to stand up to BLM and for the Wild Horses!! I have been a Wild Horse Advocate for over 25 yrs now. I also have 8 Spanish Mustangs at my Ranch, I compete with in Endurance Riding and other equestrian competitions. I never miss a chance to bring attention to the Plight of our Wild Horses! I think We, the American People, have to call upon the Government to COMPLETELY REPLACE the existing BLM, or better yet, take away their authority in regards to taking care of the Wild Horses, since they are the "FOX GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE" ! I have been calling upon people to demand, the immediate "Return to Freedom" of all captive Wild Horses, to the 27 million acres of Public Land that was allocated for them by President Nixon in 1971. The current situation is an utter disgrace in the eyes of the World! Mahatma Gandhi once said that"ONE CAN MEASURE THE GREATNESS AND THE MORAL PROGRESS OF A NATION BY LOOKING AT HOW IT TREATS ITS ANIMALS."

Cheryl Ann said...

I also commend Mr. Pierce for his courage in speaking up!

Mustang Lady said...

Mr Pierce, how is this case going against the BLM? I am just curious. Anne-Marie

Anonymous said...

I have not heard anything back from BLM Law Enforcement concerning Susie Stokie. The Washoe County Sheriff's office took the complaint as an information only. Typical in this one horse town.