NDA urges extreme caution around Virginia Range feral horses


Rebecca Allured
public information officer
(SPARKS, Nev.) - December 18, 2019

With an increase in horse and motorist activity in Hidden Valley this time of year, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) reminds motorists to use extreme caution when driving, especially in the dark.

“With motorists visiting the Hidden Valley area to view holiday lights after dark, we have been receiving increased reports of horse activity,” Doug Farris, Animal Industry division administrator for the NDA said. “Please stay alert and drive with caution – horses on or near roadways present a clear public safety risk throughout the Virginia Range area.”

NDA provides reminders about the Virginia Range estray horses

  • It is unsafe and illegal to feed or harass any feral livestock. Feral horses cross roads and enter residential neighborhoods in search of food and water sources, especially when residents leave food for them. This presents a public safety risk. The Nevada Department of Transportation reported 149 horse-related crashes between 2015 and 2017.  
  • With NDA approval, cooperative partners are permitted to conduct diversionary feeding to encourage the animals away from areas that may cause an increased safety risk. Any members of the public that are feeding the Virginia Range feral horses are breaking the law. 
  • Wild Horse Connection (WHC) is one of the NDA’s cooperative partners in this area, and residents may contact them at (775) 352-3944 or (775) 240-1304 with specific concerns about horses on the road. WHC, with approval from the NDA, responds to citizen concerns regarding public safety hazards, horse removal and adoption, diversionary feeding and fencing projects.

The Virginia Range area includes highway 395 to 95A and I-80 to highway 50. Nevada is a “fence-out” state, which means if landowners do not want livestock, including horses, on their property, they must construct a legal fence in accordance with Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 569.431.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture’s mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The department has 150 dedicated employees providing services in its five divisions, Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition, and Plant Industry. The department’s $232 million budget facilitates regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.