A federal judge has cleared the way for a Nevada tribe to sell hundreds of mustangs critics say were gathered illegally from public rangelands and likely will be slaughtered.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du rejected horse advocates' request in Reno Friday for an emergency order to block Saturday's scheduled auction based on claims the horses are protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
The Bureau of Land Management says the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe is the horses' rightful owner and there's no evidence last week's tribal roundup of more than 400 animals included any taken from BLM land.
The judge ruled the horse advocates failed to show the BLM shirked its legal responsibility. She says she has no authority to intervene in a private sale.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.