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Sanctuary in South Dakota surrenders 520 wild horses

LANTRY (AP) -- The fate of wild horses at a troubled sanctuary in north-central South Dakota has been resolved. A settlement will allow the embattled nonprofit organization to keep 20 horses with 520 others transferred to a new owner and put up f...

LANTRY (AP) - The fate of wild horses at a troubled sanctuary in north-central South Dakota has been resolved.

A settlement will allow the embattled nonprofit organization to keep 20 horses with 520 others transferred to a new owner and put up for adoption, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The agreement pre-empted a two-day hearing last week on a motion to seize all the horses from the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros by state and local authorities.

The settlement limits the nonprofit from growing its 20-horse herd beyond 40 horses during the next five years. Horses will be seized if the society does not oblige. The settlement also requires the society to undergo quarterly veterinary inspections and other inspections as scheduled by sheriffs in Dewey and Ziebach counties over the next 18 months. The nonprofit will also be required to pay a total of $10,000 to the counties.

The 520 horses will be transferred to the ownership of a Colorado-based nonprofit called Fleet of Angels that gives crisis management and transportation for emergencies relating to horses in the United States and Canada.

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"The settlement sets the stage for one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history," Fleet of Angels and another nonprofit, Return to Freedom, of California, said in a joint release.

They have pledged to place the horses at approved homes, sanctuaries and rescue facilities. They anticipate a cost of $40,000 per month to feed the 520 horses, and also foresee additional costs for veterinary care, hoof care and transportation.

Local authorities have been taking care of the horses at the nonprofit's ranch since October after a state-employed veterinarian determined the animals had been neglected.

Fleet of Angels assisted in arranging the adoptions of 270 of the horses in the past few months, which left 540 horses.

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