COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Governor Jared Polis has called for a halt to the planned roundup of more wild horses this summer in the wake of 142 wild horse deaths at the Cañon City holding facility.

Governor Polis wrote a letter to the Acting Director of Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management, Stephanie Connolly, in which he addressed the outbreak of disease among the wild horses and the outlook for future horses taken to the facility.

“Given the outbreak at the Cañon City facility, I have serious doubts that the proposed roundup in the Piceance Basin can or should go on as planned,” said Governor Polis. “The health and wellbeing of the horses should be the foundation of any proposed activity, and placing them in a confined setting susceptible to disease outbreaks does not seemingly fit that aim.”

Governor Polis said in order to responsibly formulate a plan that takes the horses’ welfare into account, more time is needed. He also sighted the input of attending veterinarians and multiple other agencies who attested that the situation at the Cañon City facility was ultimately compounded by dusty conditions.

“With persistent drought conditions, it seems possible if not likely that the Piceance Basin horses may face similar vulnerabilities post round-up,” Governor Polis’s letter warned.

Governor Polis concluded that the systems established for the benefit of wild horses once they have been removed from their home ranges is currently inadequate, and must be reevaluated to guarantee any influx of new horses will not face the same kind of outbreak that has been witnessed in Cañon City.

This is not the first time Governor Polis has expressed his concern for the wild horses in Colorado. Polis called for a halt of wild horse roundups in September 2021, long before the outbreak at the Cañon City facility.