The Mt. Hope auction in Ohio holds a weekly livestock auction, a monthly horse sale and several special sales such as an exotic auction and a small animal flea market. At the flea market, private individual sell their animals on the auction premises. Investigators arrived at the sale at 9:00 a.m. They observed many cages of assorted fowl, some so crowded that the birds had to stand on each other. Others were selling rabbits or guinea pigs. One vendor was selling tame foxes.There were also many vendors selling dogs and puppies. With rare exception, all the caged dogs were standing on wire floors which were raised above the bottom of the cage. The sun was baking down upon these animals and very few cages with water bowls were observed. Larger dogs were sold chained to bumpers or straight from the back of pick-up trucks. Several of the vendors appeared to be puppy mills, offering multiple dogs of the same breed in cages stacked on top of each other. Two Amish vendors were selling Beagles for $50.00. The dogs appeared very scared and their plastic crates were covered in feces.
More cages of dogs and fowl were within the auction building. A man, who appeared to be the veterinarian, told the owner of a pony he could not sell a pony without Coggins paperwork. However, the veterinarian did not address that the pony was tied on a foot long rope in the full sun with no access to food or water.
The Mt. Hope auction is one of the many tourist attractions in Holmes County and their sales are frequented by thousands of people every year. The conditions observed at their sales are poor, but not illegal. It will take pressure from the public to get them to change their ways.