Mustang Camp served notice to vacate Milan property, in need of new home

New Mexico

A non-profit that saves and trains wild horses is being evicted from its property.

“I really don’t understand why they would want us to leave,” said Patricia Barlow-Irick, Executive Director of Mustang Camp.

It’s one of many questions surrounding the Mustang Camp. The non-profit recently moved to Milan near Grants after taking in more than 50 horses from the Placitas herd.

“It was this letter that said we had to remove everything by June 9 or they would bring some criminal case against us,” said Barlow-Irick. “Basically, we got evicted and it’s not like ‘just remove the animals’ but it’s remove all of our belongings.”

The letter, sent by the Village of Milan’s code enforcement officer, doesn’t say why Mustang Camp’s special use permit isn’t being renewedonly that it’s not in the special interest of the village and the camp must remove all of its supplies and animals.

“We didn’t really understand why so I asked him why at that time, and he said he didn’t know. This week, we went in and asked him to explain it to us, and they basically felt that we had brought in a lot of horses, and we hadn’t taken out a lot of horses,” said Barlow-Irick. “They hadn’t said anything in the provisional use permit that we got. It didn’t say we had to have it done by a certain day. What the agreement was that they would try us out. One of the planning and zoning commissioners was quite insistent that we were going to be killing horses, we were going ot have sick horses, we were going to be bringing in problems to the community.”

KRQE News 13 asked Milan’s code enforcement officer Rodney London why the camp was being evicted. Even with no complaints or violations, he couldn’t give us a clear reason.

Volunteers hope other community members will be inspired to come out and help the camp.

“It’s kind of a neat story and I wish we could get more people out here to help out because of the cause that they’re doing for these horses,” said Cecilia Silva, a volunteer at Mustang Camp. “I work for Lowe’s and they actually offer ‘give back’ time to our community. We get to select some kind of project in our community so we can kind of donate our time. We heard this on the news and me and my husband, we love horses, so we thought they could really use our help.”

Barlow-Irick says she just wants to help these animals, especially in a community where she has roots.

“The reason I got into mustang training was a man from Milan named Dan Elkins who is a legendary mustang trapper,” said Barlow-Irick. “I went to work for him in 2009, gentling horses for him. It was a man from Milan with deep roots in this community, so I don’t know if there’s bad feelings from different factions in the community.”

She says training the horses and getting them adopted into good homes will get a lot harder if she’s busy finding a new place to stay.

“If we have to take the horses, we don’t know where we’re going to take them,” said Barlow-Irick. “We don’t know what’s available out there that can take this many horses and allow them to be trained.”

Still, she stresses that there are no bad feelings toward the community.

“It’s really probably just one person on the planning and zoning commission. It’s not the whole community so we don’t feel alienated from the whole community and our supporters have been writing letters and sending things to the mayor,” said Barlow-Irick. “Maybe pray for us, ya know.”

The Mustang Camp will meet with village officials Thursday evening and see if they can work something out.

On Friday, Chevel Shepherd performs at Buffalo Thunder with benefits going to help Placitas WILD and the horses taken in by Mustang Camp.

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