Dye’s Wild Horse Inmate Study Bill Lost In COVID-19 Effort

Earlier this month, Governor Jay Inslee vetoed a variety of bills in an effort to save funds because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One of the pieces of legislation lost in that move was House Bill 2579.

The bill, authored by Representative May Dye would have provided funding for a feasibility study to allow inmates at Coyote Ridge Correction Center in Connell to train wild horses. The Pomeroy Republican said she was inspired by a program taking place in Arizona.

She noted that inmates that participate in the training program know that their marriage is mostly likely over, they’ve lost their jobs and general trust disappears. But Dye said men in Arizona who participated in the wild horse program turn their lives around and become a benefit to their community.

“These guys coming out of these programs become good husbands, loving fathers, they integrate well into work life, they have a work ethic, they have skill sets, and they are able to engage back into the mainstream of life and don’t have to go back to the place where they make the same mistakes over and over again as we see so commonly.”

Dye noted in the program in Connell would have involved the farrier program at Walla Walla Community College, and will be managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

“They bring a lot of expertise and will bring a lot of insights into how to build the facility, for they are both safe for horses and humans, because wild horses are entirely different than domestic horses in a lot of ways.”

On the veto of HB 2579, Dye said the timing was unfortunate, but she plans to be back to push for this program again once the state has passed this crisis.

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