America's Kill Buyers - Dennis Kunz, Willard, UT 1/11/21

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 08:43
Investigation Category: 

Dennis Kunz has been a kill buyer for well over two decades and is one of the few kill buyers who is still actively shipping horses to Mexico for slaughter. Not much is known about this Utah kill buyer, who has managed to operate under the radar despite some high-profile exposure in 2011.

Back then, Dennis Kunz faced multiple charges for his role in attempting to send BLM horses to slaughter in Mexico. The horses were purchased by Robert Capson from a Wild Horse and Burro Facility, claiming that they would be used as rodeo stock. However, Capson immediately transported them to Kunz, who loaded them onto his trailer with the intent to haul them to the Mexican border. Luckily, the truck was intercepted and both men were charged with multiple counts of felony charges. (US vs. Capson 2:11-CR-00813 DAK) Kunz later agreed to a plea deal and was ordered to pay $9,400 in restitution.

Further research reveals that countless other horses shipped by Kunz didn’t have such a happy ending: Mexican custom records are full of evidence that Kunz often had horses rejected at the border for injuries, sickness or severe emaciation. Pictures show that some of his horses died a lonesome death at the Presidio export pens, lingering under the desert sun for days. USDA APHIS opened a case (TX120269-VS) against Kunz in 2012 when their inspectors found a 20-year-old gelding dead inside the reject pen. The animal, which had been shipped over 1100 miles from Willard on March 13th, was rejected by Mexican authorities on March 15th and returned to the export facility. There, the animal waited almost two weeks to be picked up by Kunz, but ultimately died on March 28th. No violation was issued.

Since then, Kunz, who also operates his own trucking company (DK Ranch Trucking LLC , DOT 1441507), has shipped thousands of horses to their gruesome death in Mexico. He is one of the largest shippers to Longiva S.P.R De R.L De C.V, an elusive importer of slaughter horses based in Chihuahua. However, official documents indicate that business has been steadily declining: While Kunz still shipped 53 shipments of horses valued at $735.000,00 in 2018, his transports dropped to 24 shipments valued at $398,000.00 in 2020. With the continued overall decline of the horse slaughter industry, this number could shrink even further in 2021. Animals’ Angels will monitor the situation.