A northside Pahrump resident and many of his neighbors are pretty much fed up with the same group of individuals who weekly, and sometimes daily, invade their neighborhood to have a drink, and socialize while leaving a literal mess behind them before they leave.
Though the incidents occur on a regular basis in broad daylight and in full view of everyone, 15-year Pahrump resident Ernest Livingston said authorities can’t seem to do anything about the situation, while it just keeps getting worse and worse.
It should be noted that the drinks those individuals enjoy so much are in the form of water, and those thirsty individuals, according to Livingston, are actually wild horses and donkeys who routinely roam the neighborhoods in the area of West Simkins Road between Highway 160 and North Blagg Road, seeking water runoff from residents who water their lawns and gardens each day.
Livingston, a retired Marine Corps disabled veteran, said he’s fed up with having all of the horses and donkeys poop in and around his yard and neighborhood.
He also said he must remove all of the horse and donkey droppings on his own, at least five days a week, for the past several years.
He noted that there are at least a dozen wild donkeys and about a handful of wild horses responsible for the problem.
“In the last two years it’s been an ongoing issue more than it has in the past,” he said. “The horses are out all day long, while the donkeys come any time after 10 p.m. until about 4 a.m., when they leave. They all live in this general area, but the donkeys come across Highway 160 to get here.”
Additionally, Livingston said he also contacted the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM), about the problem, but he believes he got on their nerves after repeatedly calling the agency about the situation.
“I have called the BLM at least 10 to 12 different times over the past couple of years,” he said.
Though BLM Public Affairs Officer Kyle Hendrix understands Livingston’s predicament, he said that the agency has not scheduled a wild horse gather this year in the Pahrump area.
“While we are experiencing issues with overpopulation in the Pahrump area, there are no gathers scheduled for 2018, with the exception of the 2018 Bullfrog Wild Burro Gather, which is taking place now,” he said. “Achieving the goal of healthy wild horses on healthy rangelands is a major priority for the Battle Mountain District and the Mount Lewis. The Tonopah Field Offices are constantly working toward that goal.”
As a result of that fact, Livingston said he will continue to remove the droppings from his yard and adjacent properties for the time being.
“Last week I did several of my neighbors’ homes and a few of the other vacant properties here,” he said. “I don’t get paid for it, but I just don’t want to look at it, and I don’t want to smell it either. I am a disabled veteran, so getting out there each day in the hot sun scooping up all the poop can take a lot out of a man. I scoop it up, put it in big garbage bags, and put it in my garbage can. I don’t completely fill the bags up because I wouldn’t be able to lift them.”
Livingston also made sure to mention that he doesn’t necessarily hate donkeys and horses, while acknowledging he knows they were living in this region long before homeowners began taking up residence in the area.
“Of course there’s all kinds of animals out here, like the rabbits, quail, and of course stray cats and dogs,” he noted. “The main thing I can’t stand is the horses and the donkeys pooping everywhere. I do want to make it clear that I don’t hate the horses and donkeys because I grew up on a farm back in West Virginia.”
Moreover, Livingston said he’s heard unsettling rumors around the neighborhood about what may happen to the animals if the situation continues.
“I’ve heard some people in the area say if the BLM doesn’t want to pick up the horses alive, they will end up picking up their corpses,” he said. “I heard a rumor where somebody might put antifreeze in the water runoff. One of my neighbors got so mad about it that he installed barbed wire around his property. He had to pay for that himself, of course.”
Yet another problem regarding the equines, is what Livingston referred to as a safety hazard.
“Last Thanksgiving I saw at least 20 of them walking right up Simkins in the middle of the road,” he recalled. “I’ve seen people actually stop their car to take pictures of them. They’re watching the animals but they’re not watching for other cars driving up and down the road. I’ve seen a couple of near accidents because of that. They’ve also been spotted in the parking lot of the Horizon Market at Simkins and Blagg. When they cross the street, they’ve almost got hit by cars on several different occasions.”
Come and get it
As for another possible solution, Livingston even invited anyone looking to start a garden in their backyards can come out with a shovel and help themselves.
“I know horse poop can make for good fertilizer and if anybody wants to come out here and clean up everybody’s yard and take it away they can go for it,” he said. “The only thing I can do is continue to clean up in front of my house to keep my side of the street decent looking. Anyone can see with their own eyes that it doesn’t look very decent in front of the other properties. If I had the money I would have moved away from here a couple of years ago. But when you’re disabled and retired, you just can’t up and leave like that.”
In early May of this year, Donn Christiansen, who manages the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area for the U.S. Forest Service, said the last of the 148 wild horses captured since May 11 were transported to a BLM holding facility in Ridgecrest, California.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes