When investigators arrived at the auction at 8:45am, there were approx. 40 horses in the pens. Most of the pens had no water or hay. In one of the pens was an emaciated mare with a foal, which had dropped fetlocks in the front. The foal could barely move, however, the mare was afraid of humans and kept moving in the pen with the foal trying to follow her. It was a heartbreaking sight. The local police officers, who were called to the auction to address the situation, refused to do anything and were observed laughing about the incident together with one of the owners.
Charles Carter brought both, his big tractor/trailer and his pick up and stock trailer; Jason Fabrizius arrived at 10:00am with his pickup and trailer. Carter unloaded 5 horses, 3 ponies and 2 minis for resale. Several of these horses were purchased from the La Junta Auction on 1/28/2011. One woman brought in an extremely skinny pony in a horse trailer that was barely legal; she pulled in to unload the pony and was turned away. As investigators were walking around in the pen area, they noticed a pen with 3 very skinny horses close to the garage area. These horses never went through the sale.
The horse sale started at about 12:15pm. The auctioneer, Dan Varner, spent a lot of time selling the horses that Carter brought in, while all other horses were moved very quickly. Several nice horses sold for over $700 but most were sold for less than $500. One of Carter’s horses sold for $1450.00.
The sale was over at 2:45pm. 1 burro, 1 TB, several paints and quarter horses were included in the sale as well as 2 stallions, 4 pregnant mares and several unhandled young horses. Carter purchased 12 horses and Jason Fabrizius purchased 14 horses. All of the pregnant mares were sold to kill. The burro was purchased by Jason Fabrizius. At 3:04pm Carter’s semi truck moved to the loading ramp. At 3:30pm, Carter and Fabrizius left the auction together and headed back towards Denver.
Follow-up: Complaints about the conduct of the Delta police officers have been filed. The mare and the little foal have been rescued by Spirit Wind Horse Rescue. The veterinarian examined both of them and determined that the foal is about 4 months old, but due to extreme malnutrition, it looks much younger. The mare is emaciated, almost unable to feed her own foal and apparently pregnant again.