Smiths Grove Horse Sale, KY 7/28/12

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 17:00
Investigation Category: 

Investigators arrived at the auction at 4:00pm. It was a very hot day with temperatures inside the barn as high as 101 degrees. There were approx. 350 horses present at the sale, the majority being in the kill pens. With the exception of one pen, all water containers in the barn were dry. There were no large transporters spotted that night, but approx. 80 pickup trucks with stock trailers. All of them were local except for 2 that were from Tennessee and Illinois. Both buyers were seated in the front row buying loose horses.

Blood for Coggins testing was being drawn by barn personnel and the handling of the horses brought was rough and chaotic. Workers forced two horses through the chute at a time, resulting in a lot of kicking and biting. At one point two horses in the chute were so frightened that one mare’s trembling legs gave way from under her and she collapsed. The horse directly behind her reared and tried to escape into the small open window of the office above. He managed to put his head and both front legs in before workers managed by heavy hitting to move him back. 

Throughout the night the handling was rough, heartless and aggressive. Many pregnant mares were observed. Most of the small injuries observed appeared to be transport related or from being kept in overcrowded pens, such as head scrapes, leg scrapes, kicks and bite marks. Again, a stallion was placed together in a pen with mares and geldings, resulting in constant fighting and kicking.

The loose horse sale ended at 11:30pm. Horse trader Burton from Columbia, KY bought 11 horses, the buyer from Illinois left with 11 horses and the buyer from TN left with 15 horses. The vast majority of the horses that night were purchased by buyers that could not be identified.