Animals’ Angels investigators arrived at the sale at 9:00am to check for early arrivals & any suspicious activity. Auction employees were busy unloading tack out of a large cattle trailer with Georgia plates, pulled by a red Dodge 3500. Investigators noted right away that there was no DOT number on the truck, which is a violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
The auction consists of a large barn, an indoor pen area and sheltered outdoor pens. The overall appearance is dilapidated, with rigged together pen gates & fencing.
During the time of the visit, there were eight horses present on the premises. Several of them were thin, with their ribs clearly visible. A bay gelding appeared sick, he stood motionless in the pen with his head hanging low. His nose was snotty, and his eyes looked feverish, which could indicate a Strangles infection.
Investigators also noted a 9-year-old Thoroughbred stallion, which had been retired after supposedly earning his owner over one million dollars on the track. The owner provided the information that the animal’s knees were bad and that he had hoped to use him for breeding, but that the horse turned out to be sterile. In the pen next to him was a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding named Bob’s Pride, which had been retired from racing five years ago and used for barrel racing since then. A white Dodge Ram 3500 with a large stock trailer was parked behind the pen area, away from any of the other vehicles.
The horse sale started at 2:00pm. The auction ring is located inside the barn, which has a dirt floor covered with sawdust. Fans were running via extension cords to keep the auction visitors cool, which potentially creates a fire hazard & the risk of injury due to tripping over cords. Ben Gaines, horse & tack dealer from Georgia, helped to move horses to the ring. Florida horse trader Norman Franklin was also in attendance. The Thoroughbred stallion sold first for $2,400.00 to buyer #100, the Thoroughbred gelding sold shortly thereafter to a private individual for $750.00. The sick horse and the thin Paint horse did not go through the ring. The sale ended at 2:21pm.
The premises cleared out quickly and Ben Gaines pulled his truck around to the front to load leftover tack back into the trailer. An unknown individual took the sick horse as well as the emaciated horse out of the pen area and loaded them into the trailer pulled by the white Dodge. The other horses sold to buyer #100 were also loaded into the same trailer. The white Dodge, Ben Gaines and several other vehicles then all left the premises together at 3:10pm.
Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this sale and report all observed violations to the relevant authorities.