Investigators arrived at approximately 2:30pm, and the parking lot was already crowded. Two large white trucks/trailers with Virginia tags were observed (only one had a DOT). Investigators noted horses in the field next to the auction barn and several of them were emaciated. The holding barn itself was very run down, and some pens were full of manure and appeared not to have been cleaned for a long time. The barn was dark and without fans or good air movement, and several pens did not have access to food or water. Although this sale was a horse auction, several thin longhorns and goats were penned and observed in poor condition. The ‘resident’ zebra (observed now for several visits) was seen thinner than in the past, with overgrown hooves, and had a strong, foul odor.
The riding horses were run through the auction from 4:30pm to 5:10pm. The local horse traders lined the inside of the auction ring, with a gentleman named Kenny buying most of the horses ranging between $80 - $125. Most horses appeared in good condition, with the exception of a 200lb underweight yearling Arabian gelding that no-saled. Although this auction typically doesn’t run loose horses, someone from New Jersey brought a load of 23 horses to sell which were all run through at the end of the riding horse auction. Many of these horses were in an emaciated condition, namely a chestnut horse with tag # 407, and appeared very frightened. All 23 sold to horse traders, as none of the private buyers bid on them. The auction concluded at 6:00pm.
Prior to investigators departing, Kenny was observed removing some of the emaciated horses out of the field, presumably to complete his load.
Investigators will continue to monitor this auction.