Horses rounded up near Montana Creek

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Juneau isn't really horse country, so the roundup near Montana Creek Road after a stable break Tuesday morning was a curious scene.

"It's a disconcerting sight when you're driving down the road and you see a herd of horses," said Chava Lee, executive director of the Gastineau Humane Society.

Lee was among 10 people involved in the roundup after police got a report of loose horses.

Kelly Boynton, who manages Montana Creek Tours, said the eight horses that got out were located at the quarry across the street. The company stables 37 horses at 5500 Montana Creek Road.

Boynton said she didn't know how long they had been out, but she noticed evidence of them on Mendenhall Loop Road. It took about 20 minutes to get the horses back home, she added.

Juneau Police Capt. Tom Porter said the first report of escaped horses came in at 4:10 a.m.

Boynton said she got into work shortly after 4:30 a.m.

"I noticed the gate was down," she said.

Solar panels on the property power the electric fence from outside of the horses' area, she explained. The horses normally stay away from the fence, being able to smell the charge, but it was down when she arrived.

Lee said the humane society was investigating how the horses got out.

"We don't believe at this time there was any negligence (on the part of the company)," she said.

Two police officers handled traffic. One person helping with the roundup was from Animal Control and four were from the tour company's staff. Two humane society volunteers also helped retrieve the horses.

Lee said she likes having horseback riding available in Juneau.

Boynton said the morning roundup didn't keep 17 of the horses from hitting the trails Tuesday with a group. She said the tourists had a good time. A couple of them had never ridden before.

The horses have individual personalities, Boynton said.

"I'm surprised at the group that got out," she said.

Lee said the humane society has responded to stranger calls than Tuesday's. Last year, a giant pet iguana escaped from someone's home.

"Someone called us up and said, 'There's a giant lizard in my driveway,' " she said. "These aren't things that happen every day, but they do happen in Juneau."

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