Revenues will cover the agency’s expenses, including $45,000 paid to the Crow Tribe for roundup, and possibly pay off the debts of the non-Indian owner, Jim Leachman of Billings, Montana. The BIA confiscated the horses after giving Leachman notice that his horses crossed into tribal lands. He did not pay the bills to reclaim his horses, so the BIA put them up for sale, attracting buyers from across North America.
Publicity about the animals surviving harsh conditions and starvation last winter likely incited higher bids, auctioneer Rick Young said. “This was such a unique situation that normal market values may have varied considerably due to outside circumstances,” Young told the Gazette. “There were a lot of people this weekend trying to save the horses.”