NDA and NDOT urge caution around Virginia Range feral horses

Feeding feral or estray horses is unsafe and illegal


Rebecca Allured
public information officer
(SPARKS, Nev.) - September 01, 2020

Due to increased horse activity on U.S highway 50 and Alternate U.S. 395, Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) officials urge motorists to use extreme caution when driving in the Virginia Range area.

“We see an increase in horse activity during the summer and fall months when horses in this area cross roadways or enter neighborhoods in search of food and water sources,” Doug Farris, NDA Animal Industry division administrator, said. “The increasing feral/estray horse population, combined with urban and suburban spread, presents a clear public safety risk.”

According to NDOT, there were a total of 240 horse-related crashes between 2017 and 2019. Of those, 45 resulted in human injury, and one resulted in human death.

To help reduce vehicle-animal collisions, NDOT has installed wildlife fencing on many sections of U.S. 50, Alternates U.S. 95 and 395, USA Parkway and other area highways. In addition, three wildlife undercrossings have been installed.

In 2020, NDOT installed fourteen miles of new livestock fencing on U.S. 50 between Stagecoach and USA Parkway. In 2021, NDOT plans to install livestock fencing on U.S. 50 near Dayton.

Drivers should remain alert and aware, and be sure to obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits in this area. The Virginia Range includes the areas of Fernley, Dayton, Lockwood, south Reno, Hidden Valley, Silver Springs, Virginia City and east of Carson City. Extra caution should be taken at dusk and during the night.

Please remember it is unsafe and illegal to feed any feral livestock,” Farris said. “Only our approved cooperative partners may conduct diversionary feeding to encourage the animals away from areas that may cause a public safety risk.”

To report illegal feeding or horses on roadways, please call 775-353-3608 with specific details.

About the Nevada Department of Agriculture

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages environmental stewardship that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. The NDA includes the divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry.