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UPDATE: Seven Mules, Two Horses Owned By National Park Service Dead After Water System Failure


Editor's note: This updates the story with additional details on the size of the pasture, how many horses and mules were there total, who was responsible for checking on them.

Seven mules and two horses owned by the National Park Service for use in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks recently were discovered dead in their winter pasture, possibly due to the failure of a "remote watering system."

The stock were in a 300-acre pasture at the Pixely National Wildlife Refuge about 35 miles south of Tulare and 45 miles north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. The dead animals were discovered Monday, June 4, said Sequoia spokeswoman Dana Dierkes on Friday afternoon.

"Our staff is just heartbroken about what happened," she said. While the watering system did fail, Ms. Dierkes said officials weren't sure that the animals died from lack of water.

"It's still under investigation. We do know the water system failed," the park spokeswoman said. "We don't know if other factors were involved."

There were 17 horses and mules wintering in the pasture, she said. The remaining nine had been seen by a vet, and some continued to be under observation, but they all were expected to survive, the spokeswoman said.

While the Park Service was responsible for monitoring the stock through the winter, Ms. Dierkes did not know how often someone was supposed to check on the animals.

Sequoia/Kings Canyon Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich called the incident "a tragic loss for us. These animals were part of our team and a vital part of park operations. We are heartbroken about what happened and will be investigating this incident thoroughly.”


So Doc, could it be this hits a little to close to home for you, well if the shoe fits wear it!

Maybe you even wore the green and grey at one time.......yep the "good ole boys and girls" are alive and well!

Also , all Federal employees whether Judges,GSA civil servants or yes even NPS personell

should be held accountable for "fraud,waste and abuse", might want to look the up the regulations for clarification.

I'll stop here,as you mentioned thread could go on point trying to debate a very biased pundit.

Correction: Instead of "I know the fairness," it should read "unfairness." Sorry.

Which is another way of saying more than a few government employees don't do these things.

Doc, I think you missed my point. There are bad apples in most barrels.

Geez Lee,

Almost writing you off, probably should.

There is documented evidence that more than a few "government employees" watch porn on their government computers for many hours a day (no more than 8 for sure), collect lush retirement and other benefits and game the system to the max because they feel they are owed. I do know the fairness of my example. Just following your logic. Need to step out and walk (or ride) in someone else's shoes. Might get something productive achieved.

In Utah's desert country, I personally know several ranchers who might check on livestock once a month. But they get to write losses off as tax deductions.

Hey Anon, could there be an agenda in your mind before this incident ever happened. Lots of clues in your post that makes me thinks so. This horrible loss is just that, a horrible loss particular so for those closest to the incident. Sorry, but the comparison to last nights horrific midnight opening of Bat Man come to mind. Two main stream news organizations blamed a Tea Party member as the shooter (to further what?). Not so. How about we mourn the loss and not let it happen again.

The over the top comment about taxpayer expense? These packers aren't your usuall 9th Circuit Court Judges or GSA using tax payer dollars to holiday in Hawaii, uh, I better stop there. That thread could go on and on.

Something bad happened and livestock parished, sadly.

Your readers should also know this very avoidable loss occurred over the Memorial Day holiday weekend period and the Sequoia/Kings National Park management staff,supervisors and animal packers found it a greater priority to attend and compete at the Mule Days annual events in Bishop Ca; than to insure the well being of live stock dependent on their oversight for water.

So at the cost of the loss of life for seven mules and two horses, SEKI can proudly display worthless trophies and ribbons awarded to NPS aniaml packers at a boondoggle partially funded by taxpayers; hopefully future attendance at this event by Government employees utilizng Government owned property will also be scrutinized by investigators.

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