An estimated 700 to 750 horses roam training lands on and around Fort Polk. The fate of the horses has been the subject of debate since the Army proposed removing them about a year ago. Army officials say the animals represent a safety hazard, while advocates have argued they should be left alone.
The Town Talk reports the Army said it will catch and corral 10-30 horses at a time. The horses will be offered to animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society for inclusion in their adoption program. If animal welfare groups do not take the horses, the Army will offer them to any citizen that will take them, and if that fails, the horses will be transported to a livestock auction for sale.
The time frame for catching and removing each group of horses is about 30 days. Concurrently, Fort Polk will actively search for a landowner to take the horses en masse, and will also attempt to find another government agency to remove and accept responsibility for them.
The Army is developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses.
"The alternative that was selected offers the best opportunity to find a new home for every horse and protects American soldiers from a catastrophic incident while training at Fort Polk," said Brig. Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center. "This plan gives all interested parties the opportunity to be involved in helping the Army solve the problems it faces. For this program to work, we need your help. We look forward to working with interested parties to help these horses find permanent homes while making Fort Polk a safer place for our soldiers to train."