Wild-horse advocates have criticized federal land managers after the deaths of 26 mustangs so far in a government roundup on the range north of Reno — up from nine deaths a week ago.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management today reported four more deaths stemming from its roundup in the Calico Mountain Complex.

Agency spokeswoman JoLynn Worley says three horses have died at the roundup site and 23 have died at a Fallon holding facility where the horses have been taken since the two-month roundup began Dec. 28.

Activists say the BLM's roundup methods are "brutal" and violate the intent of a 1971 law Congress enacted to protect the horses.

Worley says the agency has 40 years of experience of conducting roundups and has learned the safest way to conduct them.