Investigators arrived at the weekly auction at 9:00am. It appeared to be a slow day for the horse sale, almost half of the barn was empty. Walking through the isle, investigators noted two horses in poor condition: Auction tag #931, a thin Standardbred with a swollen fetlock and #976, a sad looking Paint with an ongoing eye infection. Several others were thin and had overgrown hooves.
The sale started on time with the regular kill buyers and horse traders in attendance: Bruce Rotz, Brian Moore, Cedar Ridge Farm, Marlon Garcia, Fisher Livestock and Arlow Kiehl. The majority of the horses going through the sale were well over $1,000, with many fetching prices of $3,000 or more. A gypsy horse brought to the sale caught everybody’s eye, but was no-saled at $14,500.
Investigators watching the sale saw Bruce Rotz (who is currently awaiting trial for aggravated cruelty to animals) getting increasingly frustrated about the high prices, complaining quite publicly to one of his acquaintances. He was only able to buy very few horses that day, among them the thin STB with the enlarged fetlock.
At 11:20am, Rotz’s truck & trailer left the parking lot and parked along the road just outside the auction premises. A few moments later, another trailer pulled up next to him and a limping STB exchanged hands. It is likely that the horse had been rejected for sale by the auction and that the seller approached the kill buyer directly to get rid of the animal.
Rotz then drove back to the auction and parked this truck. At 2:00pm, after a long chat with former New York kill buyer Arlow Kiehl, he left the sale with a total of eight horses inside his trailer. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this sale and the kill buyers activity and will report all violations to the appropriate authorities.