Why wild horses are dying in wrecks on South Reno’s Veterans Parkway

Feral horses are seen near Veterans Parkway in Reno on Thursday.

The two feral horses hit and killed in separate accidents on Veterans Parkway last week were not the first to be hit and killed in south Reno.

The incident raised many questions about what happened to the rest of the herd and what can be done to prevent future accidents in the growing south Reno area. 

The RGJ checked in with wild horse experts and the Nevada Department of Agriculture to get some answers. 

Q. What brings so many horses to Veterans Parkway?

A. A variety of factors bring horses to south Reno.

The drought has forced horses to search for food and water. Green lawns outside south Reno homes offer easy-to-access meals for the horses. And — although it is illegal to feed the horses — some residents continue to do so, enticing the animals into residential neighborhoods.

The horses are known to migrate down Geiger Grade and Toll Road, south of the city limits. Neighborhoods in that area open onto the Virginia Range, where the horses live. Walking paths and drainages have created easy paths for the horses to funnel down from the range and end up along the parkway.

Horses on a south Reno sidewalk.

Q. How many horses have been hit in the South Reno area? 

A. Since December of 2019, 10 horses have been hit — six on Veterans Parkway, two on lower Geiger Grade and two on Toll Road. Between 2012 and 2016, the Nevada Department of Transportation reported 116 horse-related crashes on all roads in the Virginia Range. 

The Nevada Department of Agriculture has also documented Virginia Range horses kicking and seriously injuring children, horses dying from vehicle collisions, and three separate instances of human fatalities as a result of horse/vehicle collisions.