Norman Franklin has been a horse trader for a very long time. Public documents show that Franklin has a history of selling horses at the Stephenville and Cleburne auctions in Texas, which are both known for supplying horses to the slaughter market. Many of the horses shipped from Florida to Texas are Thoroughbreds, which Franklin picks up locally.
Franklin is a very private individual, who owns/leases several properties around Ocala. At his main location, a long driveway leads up to a home with extensive surrounding pastures, a round pen and a barn. When investigators arrived at the location, there were five horses visible in the pen area. The pen was overgrown with weeds and covered in manure.
Hay bales had been tossed in the pens, still covered in bailing twine. The fencing appeared very dilapidated, there were several broken pipes which creates the risk of injuries. Some of the holes in the fencing were blocked with what looked like chicken wire, which also has the potential to injure horses. The horses were all of average weight, two of them were wearing halters, which is not safe, especially given the condition of the pen area. One horse appeared to have an issue with his hind legs, he walked like he was in pain. There were water troughs in all of the pens, but there was very little water in them, and the troughs were not clean.
Investigators observed the premises for a while, but there was no activity.