RENO, Nev. -- Wild horse advocates dropped a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging roundups at a wildlife refuge on the Nevada-California line after federal officials severed ties with a contractor accused by critics of allowing some mustangs to be sold for slaughter.

The Fish and Wildlife Service notified J&S Associates of Mississippi on June 23 that its contract had been terminated and the firm would not be receiving the $11,633 it was to be paid at future roundups.

The move came after Bonnie Kohleriter and Laura Leigh of the Nevada-based group Wild Horse Education claimed in the federal lawsuit that the service couldn't account for the majority of the 140 horses that J&S rounded up last fall from Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

The case had been scheduled to go before Judge Mirandu Du on Tuesday, but the plaintiffs confirmed before a status hearing that they were dropping the case.

A telephone call seeking comment went unanswered at J&S in Pelahatchie, Mississippi.

General manager Stan Palmer has said before that to his knowledge, none of the horses ended up going to slaughter.



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