Wild, but not free

Somewhere in America, wild horses still run free, just as they always have. Somewhere, wild burros that have never known the burden of a pack roam aimlessly across the plains. Somewhere, 80 wild horses and 20 burros are even available for adoption, and that somewhere is in Roseville next week.

The Wild Horse and Burro Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, will be hosting an adoption open to the public on Saturday, October 13, at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The date coincides with the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act’s 30th anniversary. The law granted protection to America’s wild horse and burro herds, recognizing the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”

There are an estimated 45,000 wild horses and burros in the U.S. today. Wild herds live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, and the program captures and adopts out animals from overpopulated areas.

Virginia Freeman of the Freeman Family Farm Hole-in-the-Head Gang in Orland owns four burros that she acquired through the BLM: Ashley, Blare, Pinky and Aerial.

Years ago, she and her husband were at a horse show and someone brought out a burro. Her husband said, “That’s a neat animal, but what do you do with one?” She said, “Let’s get one and find out!” And she has been rescuing, adopting and placing equines ever since.

Potential adopters must be at least 18 years old, have the financial means to care for a wild horse or burro, and corrals that meet BLM specifications. Bidding will start at $125. For more information call 1-(866)-4-MUSTANGS.

Kim Gibson, an employee of the Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento, was charged with accepting wages for days she should have been in class or at work, but supposedly wasn’t. Yet her defenders said Gibson’s main mistake—and the catalyst for the charges—was clashing with Superintendent Dennis Keleher over the firing of a popular principal (“Thief of Time,” SN&R, June 1, 2000).

More than a year after being charged with grand theft and embezzlement, Gibson was recently found not guilty on all charges following a two-week trial and less than two hours of jury deliberations.

“Jurors were fairly incensed,” said Gibson’s attorney, Roy Harper. “The case never should have been in court.”

Gibson, who still works for the district, has turned around and filed a civil action to recoup attorney’s fees. She claims that perjured testimony, false police reports and altered documents were used against her.