Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Following Elys FOIA Request / Appeal

In a letter to me from the DOI (Darrell R. Strayhorn) dated March 24, 2010, I was informed that I would have to re-submit all relevant documents over again, as they are claiming that they didnt get them all the first time (huh?) anyways, they gave me 20 days to resubmit or "give up right to appeal," so you know, I jus gotta get this out, like now. Here is the packet of documents I am faxing over Ms. Strayhorn (as instructed) today;
April 6, 2010

Darrell R. Strayhorn
FOIA Appeals Officer
Dept. of the Interior
Office of the Solicitor
Division of Administration
1849 C St., NW - Mail Stop 6556
Washington, DC 20240
(Atten: FOIA Appeals Office)

Dear Ms. Strayhorn,

Persuant to your letter to me dated March 24, 2010, I am resubmitting all of the documents related to my FOIA Request and Appeal. This includes:

1. My initial FOIA Request to the DOI dated October 22, 2009 seeking the idenity and whereabouts of all the approximately 600+ wild horses gathered from the Seaman, White River and Caliente Herds during the Ely Nevada Districts 2009 gather season.

2. Response from the Ely District Office dated Nov. 16, 2009 informing me they have none of the records I have requested, and informing me that my request was forwarded to the Ridgecrest Facility in California.

3. Response from Ridgecrest Holding Facility, Ridgecrest California, dated Nov. 6, 2009, including
(a) document 1 entitled “White River Horses Prepped as of Nov. 3, 2009” showing that a total of only 15 horses (yearlings) have been processed as of that date.
(b) document 2 entitled “Number of Horses Gathered in the Caliente, Golden Gate, Seaman and White River Range.” Said document indicating that their were a total of 689 horses gathered from these areas.689 minus 15 equals SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY wild horses unaccounted for!

4. A copy of my appeal dated Nov. 23, 2009

I am appealling on the grounds that no information was provided as to the current whereabouts of all 689 horses, including that of the 15 yearlings reported to have been processed at Ridgecrest Facility prior to and/or after Nov. 6, 2009.

Thanking you in advance for any consideration you may give this matter. I anxiously await your reply.

Yours, etc.,

Christine A. Jubic
118 River Rd.
Johnsonville, NY 12094
(518) 753 - 7791

Click on the docs to enlarge once and then click to make even larger;

Next I get a reply from the Ely District Office, dated Nov. 16, 2009, informing me that they didnt have ANY records of the Seaman, White River Gathers and informed me that they have forwarded my request to Ridgecreat Holding Facility n California.

The Ely response was short and sweet, and said, "Researching your recent Freedom of Information Act request, it was determined that we do not have the information you requested. Your request has been referred to:

Arthur A. DiGrazia, Jr.
Wild Horse & Burro Operations Manager
Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse & Burro Corrals
300 S. Richmond Rd.
Ridgecrest, Ca. 93555

Signed: Ditha Hutchinson,
FOIA Coordinator
Ely District Office, BLM


Next I get a letter from Hector Villalobos, Field Manager at the Ridgecrest Facility, dated November 6, 2010 (Hummm, I have to ask myself,...if Ely forwarded my request to Ridgecrest on Nov. 16,....how did Ridgecrest come to respond to my request on Nov. 6? Hummm. Anyways, here is Mr. Ridgecrests reply;

Nov. 6, 2009
Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Rd
Ridgecrest, Ca. 93555

In Reply Refer to: 1278 (CAD-050) 1

Dear Mrs. Jubic,

This letter concerns your FOIA request to the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, for records concerning wild horses and burros removed from the Golden Gate / Seaman, White River and Caliente Herds. You have requested the names and locations of the holding facilities where the animals are and whether they are owned by the BLM or leased under private contracts. You also requested brand numbers, discriptions, and photographs or any other identifying information. Your FOIA request was formally referred to this office to prepare an official response.

The short-term holding facility here at Ridgecrest is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. To my knowledge, all wild horses gathered in the BLM -Ely District (Caliente, Golden Gate / Seaman and White River Herds) during the 2009 season were transported to this facility and no other. Our facility has processes 15 White River horses to date.

We are enclosing copies of the only records we found that are responsive to your FOIA request. If you believe our response is a partial denail of your request, in accordance with 43 CFR 2.28(a)(2), you may appeal this response by writing to the FOIA Appeals Officer, Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM), US Dept. of the Interior, 1849 C St. NW, MS 6556, MIB, Washington, DC 20240. Your appeal must be in writing and recieved no later than 30 workdays after the date of this letter. A copy of your original request and this denail letter should accompany the appeal as well as a brief statement of the reasons why you believe this initial decision to be in error. The appeal should be marked FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL both on the envelope and the face of the letter.


Hector Villalobos, Field Manager,
BLM Ridgecrest Facility


Here are the two "generic" documents Mr. Villalobos sent to me in response to my request seeking information on over 600 horses gathered;

Doc 1 is a generic list of 15 numbers printed on blank paper;
The numbers run in sequence from 09182713 to 09182727 and all of the numbers start with '09 and I am informed by some wild horse watchers that these numbers indicate yearling horses born in the year 2009. In the colum to the right of this is a series of letters and numbers that are:


I have NO idea what these letters and numbers mean.

Doc 2 is a generic list of the numbers of horses allegedly gathered out of their respective areas;

and reads as such;

Caliente Herd Areas-----------------------# Gathered

Blue Nose Peak................11
Clover Creek..................58
Delamar Mts...................77
Little Mtn....................99
Meadow Valley Mts.............17
Miller Flat...................28
Mormon Mts.....................0
Total 310

Golden Gate, Seaman & White River.........# Gathered

Golden Gate and Seaman..............197
White River.........................182
Total 379

My appeal, originally submitted on Nov. 23, 2009, herein being resubmitted this 5th day of April, 2010;

Department of the Interior / FOIA Officer
1849 C St. N.W. MS-6556, MIB
Washington, DC 20240


# OS-2010-00066

Ely District BLM # NV-NVL 0000-2010-001

To Whom It May Concern;

I am writing to appeal a denial of my request to be provided with information concerning the number and location of all the wild horses and burros rounded up in 2009 from the Golden Gate, Seaman, White River and Caliente Herds, which by the numbers estimated in the respective EAs was said to total over 600 head of horses.

As indicated in my original request (attached) ....”The information I am seeking to obtain includes the names and locations of all the long and short-term holding facilities where these particular herd-members are being kept, whether said facilities are owned by the BLM or leased under private contract. I would also like to be provided with all of the individual herd-members brand numbers along with individual discriptions or photographs or any other information that would identify the individual horses removed from the above listed rangelands."

In response to my request, Ditha Hutchinson, FOIA Coordinator for the Ely District Office of the BLM, informed me by letter that they “do not have the information” I requested,” and forwarded my request to Arthur A. DiGrazia, Jr. , Wild Horse and Burro Operations Manager, Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, 300 S. Richmond Rd, Ridgecrest, CA 93555 (See Ely District Letter dated Nov. 16, 2009, attached)

On or about November 16, 2009, I did receive a letter from Hector Villalobos, Field Manager at the Ridgecrest Short Term Holding Facility in Ridgecrest California, who informed me that “to his knowledge” all wild horses gathered in the BLM Ely District during the 2009 season were transported to the Ridgecrest Facility and “no other.” However, he did not provide me with any documents that would validate that any transfer of animals had occurred between the Ely District and the Ridgecrest facility, no trucking record or receipts or bills of ladel, etc. (See Villalobos Letter dated Nov. 16, 2009, attached)

Included in Mr. Villalobos response was two documents, both "generic" cut-out portions of something else (retracted), one is a generic partial post-gather report which is not even printed on offical letter-head of any kind nor does it have anything printed upon it that would substantiate its date, author or place of orgin. In this "report," it is indicated only that a total of 689 horses were gathered from these complexes. There is nothing in this report to indicate what became of them after gather. (See partial post-gather report attached)

Mr. Villalobos then goes on to admit that the Ridgecrest Facility has processed only 15 wild horses from Ely District, which he states were gathered from the White River Complex. As proof of the processing of these 15 horses, Mr Villalobos submits a second “generic” document with a series of 15 numbers on it indicating the freeze-mark and signalment numbers of 15 horses. As mentioned above regarding the post-gather report document, this document is also a "generic" cut and paste rendition of numbers printed upon plain paper with no official letter-head of any kind nor anything printed upon it that would substantiate its date, author or orgin, or the current whereabouts of the 15 horses. (See “Prepped” Sheet attached)

I am appealing the response of the Ely District as a blanket denial and the response of Mr. Villalobos as a partial denial of my request and do so on the following grounds;

1. I was seeking information on the identification and whereabouts of over 600 wild horses gathered from these complexes and received only generic information regarding 15 horses allegedly gathered from the White River Complex and processed at Ridgecrest. The documents, devoid of any verifiable information, are insuffient as proof of gather, transfer or receipt and current whereabouts as same is not even on official letterhead so as to be able to acertain in fact which office had generated them or when or by whom. The documents are also unsigned or un-verified by any signature of their author.

2. The response does not fulfill any portion of my request seeking information on the whereabouts of ALL the wild horses gathered from these various complexes, including the 15 alleged to have been processed at Ridgecrest. The reply from the Ely District stating that they have no records whatsoever in regards to the “disposition” of these horses is incredible, and Mr. Villalobos' off-hand, "un-official" statement that “to his knowledge” the horses were transfered to the Ridgecrest Facility is an insufficent reply to a request for documentary proof as to the whereabouts of these horses allegedly gathered from the Ely District and allegedly transferred to Ridgecrest Short-term Holding Facility. Moreover, the "processing" records of the 15 horses allegedly taken from the White River HMA and allegedly transferred to Ridgecrest do not state where these horses were actually taken from nor does it state that these horses are being held at Ridgecrest. What I received was a series of numbers printed on a plain piece of paper devoid of any "officiality" with only the words "processed" stamped across the top. NO OTHER information at all appears on this document, not even any sort of offical or departmental letter-head or identification of any kind. There are no dates or signatures. This document tells me nothing.

I am appealing in hopes that I will be provided OFFICAL dated and signed departmental documents as kept in the normal course of business regarding the whereabouts of the 689 horses allegedly gathered from the Ely District BLM in 2009 and un-accounted for thus far. The information and documents provided in reply to my FOIA request are woefully insufficient as proof of the "chain of custody" or whereabouts and /or fate of these horses, and it is sufficient proof of same that I am seeking to obtain.

Thanking you in advance for any consideration you may give this matter. I anxiously await your reply.

Yours, etc.,


Christine A. Jubic


1 comment:

gourmetslowcooker said...

So, today being April 21, 2011, I am curious...have you heard anything in response to your letter?