PALOMINO VALLEY, Nev. – A federal judge on Friday denied a last-minute request to block the Bureau of Land Management from auctioning off cattle confiscated from an Indian tribe in northern Nevada.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben ruled at 7:58 a.m. in Reno that the 8 a.m. auction could go forward in Palomino Valley, about 15 miles to the north.
The judge rejected an argument that selling the 157 animals would irreparably harm the Western Shoshone tribe. However, he ordered the federal government to hold on to any money it gets from the sale until legal issues are worked out.
McKibben also rejected the tribe's contention that the cattle were illegally seized last week from the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone south of Elko.
The bureau said the cattle were grazing on public land without a permit. It also said the tribe's livestock association owes the federal government about $2.5 million in fees and fines dating back to 1984.
Allen Moss of the Western Shoshone National Council said an 1863 treaty gave the property to the tribe. "Now it is up to the federal government to show how or when the Shoshone people ever lost title to the land," he said.