Animals’ Angels has been monitoring this auction for many years. Our investigations into the activities at this location have led to no less than two separate convictions on animal cruelty charges, a difficult feat against a livestock auction.
To ensure the overall well-being of the many animals going through this auction, we continue to attend the sales and gather evidence.
Investigators arrived at the sale on August 8th at 10:06 a.m. It was a very busy day for the auction and upon our arrival, the parking lot was completely full and all loading ramps were occupied with trucks loading and unloading animals.
Investigators checked the conditions for the animals inside the sheep and goat barn first. The pens were extremely crowded and a great number of dead animals were found inside the pens as well as the alleys.
One goat had died in a large pen towards the back and was laying in plain view of attendees and auction workers alike, her head still stuck under the pen gate. More dead goats had been carelessly discarded in the parking lot, next to empty chicken crates.
Investigators continued their walk through of the premises and found the same scenario, with dead animals, inside the pig and cattle barn. Although the pens were very crowded and the temperature was extremely hot in the barn, all of the concrete water troughs were empty. The smell of ammonia was almost unbearable.
Several pigs had died inside the pens clearly without any assistance or care from workers. It wasn’t until much later in the day that one of the employees was spotted loading all the dead animals into the bucket of the auction’s bobcat and subsequently discarding them in the nearby dumpster.
The horse sale was equally hectic and busy. All of the local kill buyers and horse traders were present and Bruce Rotz, Cedar Ridge Farm, and Brian Moore already had horses inside their trailers.
The eight horses inside Bruce Rotz’s trailer were quite agitated and could be heard and seen kicking the trailer sides. Four of those horses were already tagged for slaughter.
The tagged horses in Rotz’s trailer were very skinny and the slaughter tags appeared worn, so it is likely that these animals were “rejects” that had been turned away at the Canadian border and were now on their way back to Rotz’s premises to either be shipped again or sold via the flourishing broker program.
All of the kill buyers in attendance secured enough horses to fill their loads. As observed on previous occasions, several groups of loose, unhandled horses were sold and went straight to the kill buyers. One of the horses had a bleeding facial injury, most likely from transport.
Also among the animals sold was a 12-year-old Chincoteague Island Pony with all the registration paperwork. Thankfully the pony went to a private home for $560.
We remain gravely concerned regarding the number of animals dying while at this auction.
As mentioned above, this auction has been convicted a number of times for animal cruelty and during the latest court proceeding the judge made it perfectly clear that he did not want to see the auction in his courtroom ever again. He also strongly urged owner David Kolb to work on establishing proper protocols for dealing with sick and dying animals in a humane manner. It appears that all of this has fallen on deaf ears.
AA will continue to push for the much needed improvements at this sale as well as report all violations to enforcement agencies. We are determined to see the ongoing issues at this auction resolved.