Investigators attended the large exotic auction in Mt Hope, OH. Hundreds of animals, including zebras, buffalo, deer, camels, snakes and birds are offered for sale during the three day event. A long line of trucks and cars was waiting to unload their animals, with some of them waiting 5 hours or more. Animals were delivered in things like cardboard boxes, homemade cages and plastic tubs.
In the main auction building, all the larger animals such as buffalo, bison, zebras, camels and deer were sold. Several of these animals can be found at Ohio’s many, private hunting preserves, where hunters pay as much as $5,000.00 to shoot a water buffalo, $2,000 for a fallow deer and $2,000 to $6,000 for an elk.
In one of the large barns the bird & rabbit auction took place. All sorts of exotic and domestic birds were piled on top of each other. Peacocks were kept in tiny cages, their long tails were sticking out of the back. They were unable to move or turn around. Some cages had fallen from the pile and were left hanging in between other cages or were laying on their side. Some birds were very agitated and were trying to attack the bird in the cage next to them. Some cages that contained doves or chicken were very crowded. Some rabbit cages did not have flooring and the animals were forced to stand on the bare wire. Most cages had water at some point, but by the 2nd day most of the containers were observed empty.
Also on the premises were two trailers which contained snakes, frogs, porcupines, silver foxes, wallabies and tortoises. Some of the large tortoises were kept in plastic tubs with very small air holes and they were unable to extend their head & neck from their shell. The trailers were very crowded with auction visitors and the boxes containing animals on floor level were kicked a lot. Not all animals had access to food and water.