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More Horses Die Of Strangles At Wheatland Facility, More Than Half Of Population ‘Impacted’

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Another six wild horses horses at a Wheatland facility have died of a contagious equine disease commonly known as “strangles” and at least half of the 2,750 horses at the facility are showing signs of the illness, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The agency announced that the deaths at the facility it maintains to hold wild horses collected from the plans of Wyoming brings to 11 the number of horses killed by the upper respiratory illness known as streptococcus equi or “strangles.”

In addition, about half of the 2,750 animals at the facility are showing some observable signs of strangles, the agency said.

“It’s possible that it could spread further just due to contagiousness of strangles,” BLM spokesman Tyson Finnicum told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “It’s also possible that more horses either have been infected and recovered without showing visible signs of the infection or they were unaffected because of immunity.

“All of the animals at the facility have received the vaccine and we are starting to give annual boosters,” he continued. “We’re mitigating the infection by treating affected horses, segregating animals, and are also implementing biosecurity measures, like bleaching equipment and work areas, to stop or reduce transmission.”

The mortality rate of strangles is typically under 10% but can be as high as 40%. In comparison, 0.8% of the horses affected by strangles at the Wheatland facility have died.

BLM has again stopped a wild horse and burro adoption event due to the strangles outbreak, which has been going on since late March. The cause of the infection has not yet been determined.

“The primary reason why we’ve closed the facility and are pausing adoptions is to keep the disease from spreading outside of the facility,” Finnicum said. “Holding off on adoptions also helps the horses recover. Not until we are confident that horses can leave the facility without risk of transmission will we lift the closure and resume adoptions.”

The horses are currently under quarantine and being treated for the disease.

“Strangles” is the most common infectious illness found in horses between 6 and 10 years old. Horses can catch the disease through inhalation or ingestion of the bacteria, such as through horse-to-horse contact, drinking contaminated water or making contact with infected material.

According to the Equine Disease Communication Center, most horses will be exposed to or infected with strangles at a young age.

No animals, including domestic saddle horses, have been shipped or received at the facility since the last load of horses gathered last fall were delivered in January.

No foals have died due to the infection.

Foaling mares and newborn foals have shown to be the least impacted by the infection, according to BLM. Additionally, all of the mares at the facility have been vaccinated for strangles, which means their foals are born with some immunity.

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Luke Duke From ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ To Appear In Wheatland This Weekend

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

We’ve got to hand it to the organizers of the Blue Mountain Car Show in Wheatland — they sure know how to pick their celebrity guests.

Actor Tom Wopat, best known for his role as Lucas “Luke” Duke on the hit TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” will appear at the Blue Mountain Car Show in Wheatland this weekend.

We are personally hoping someone can talk him into sliding across a car hood and hopping into the front seat.

Wopat played Luke Duke on the series from 1979 to 1985, but has regularly reprised the role over the years for TV movies and video game appearances.

Many Wyomingites might also recognize him from his more recent role as Sheriff Jim Wilkins on the “Longmire” series, adapted from Ucross author Craig Johnson’s books about Sheriff Walt Longmire. Wopat appeared in six episodes of the series over a five-year period.

In addition to his film and TV work, Wopat has appeared on stage in musicals such as “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Carousel,” “Chicago” and “Guys and Dolls.”

The car show in Wheatland will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, with the event stretching throughout downtown. Other activities, such as matchbox car races, a cornhole tournament and a dunk tank, will also be held throughout the day in the same area.

This is the second year for the event, which managed to raise more than $5,000 last summer for Project SAFE, Inc., a nonprofit serving victims of domestic violence and stalking.

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Fire Claims Family Pets And Destroys Home In Wheatland

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By Mark Delap, Platte County Record-Times

WHEATLAND – Lacey Lind posted to her Facebook page a quote from Joyce Meyer that stated, “Just because what’s going on in your life right now doesn’t feel good, doesn’t mean God’s not working.”

That was posted after Butch and Lacey’s son, Ayden had broken his leg in a basketball tournament in Fort Collins, Colo.

The devastation was not over yet as Sunday night the Lind family got hit with another crisis as a pellet stove caught fire in their home on Fairview.

Road and firefighters were called to the scene Sunday night at 8 p.m. 
Firefighters arrived to a massive blaze and after fighting the fire all night, fire chief Bob Glasson who was still on scene with a crew at 9 a.m. Monday containing the fire said that it was a total loss. 

“Me and our 14-year-old (Rylie) and a four (Lyla) and a six (Ethan) were in the house when it broke out,” Butch Lind said. “My wife was down in Fort Collins with our 12-year-old playing basketball yesterday. I’m pretty sure it was a pellet stove where it started.”

On a busy holiday season and the house freshly decorated for Christmas, Lind’s daughter Rylie came up from the downstairs area and informed him that there was a fire.

“I went down and it was pretty bad,” Lind said. “I went out because we have a walkout basement and went out the door of course just to see if I could do anything and I knew I couldn’t, so I just turned around and I was between the door and the stairs and I think the window blew in and the flames went everywhere.”

Lind said that they stayed with some good friends for the night, but from this point, there is no plan as to where the family is going to go or what they are going to do to recover.

“I got the kids out and took them to friends,” Lind said. “We have a lot of good friends, and I appreciate all of the support.”

The family does have insurance on the home, but as to when the relief will come, there is no definite answer. The “Lind Family Rebuild Fund” was posted Monday morning by Rainey Evans who is organizing the relief effort.

According to Evan’s Facebook page, the call for help was as follows, “On Sunday, Dec. 13 the Lind family suffered a devastating house fire. With four young kids, the Lind’s are in need of all the essentials, especially clothing. Sizes needed: Girls Youth 4T, Boys Youth 7 (S/M), Girls Youth XL or Adult S, and Boys Adult M. There is an account set up at Wheatland Country Store for other clothing needs! Other items that would be accepted: Safeway Gift Cards, Christmas presents and toiletries. Any donations can be dropped off at Brown Company 705 16th Street in Wheatland. Platte Valley Bank in Wheatland has an account set up for the family under Lind Fire Fund.”

At the time of this posting, $3,200 had already been raised to help the family.

In a COVID year with so much adversity, the events of this weekend were heinous to a local family.

“I thank God it didn’t happen at midnight or 1 a.m.,” Lind said. “Because that’s where the two little ones would have been sleeping. That’s what I laid awake all night thinking.”

According to Lind, they have not located either the dog or the cat and the speculation was the loss of two family pets which adds more fuel to the fire of anguish.

Monday morning, Lacey Lind and son, Ayden were staying in Colorado where they will be visiting with an orthopedic doctor.

Family friend, Jenifer Cook said, “That is a heaping load of horrible on their plates. This town will absolutely pull together for them though…I have seen it time and time again over my lifetime. It is heartwarming and inspiring.”

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