Noxious weed suspected in death of wild horses in Cañon City program

CAÑON CITY – Federal officials say a noxious weed likely caused the deaths of 19 horses at the Cañon City Wild Horse Inmate Program facility, where Colorado inmates train select mustangs.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Lauren Gapinski said preliminary lab results indicate the ingestion of whorled milkweed, a highly toxic plant, is suspected to have caused the deaths. The weed was in the hay fed to the horses.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported that the BLM began investigating after 11 horses died Dec. 3 and another eight died the next day. Some of the horses died on their own while others had to be euthanized.

Nine horses that showed illness have recovered or are recovering quickly.

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