Investigators returned to the Southwest Livestock Auction to check if the situation for the horses on the premises had improved since Animals’ Angels exposure of his operation in March 2012. The auction doubles as a feedlot for New Mexico’s largest slaughter horse buyer Dennis Chavez. When AA investigators visited the premises March 2012, they found 4 severely emaciated, dying horses in severe distress. The investigation made nationwide news and resulted in multiple animal cruelty charges filed against Dennis Chavez. Disturbingly, to date the case is still pending in court. A new hearing date has been set for November 25, 2013.
The charges have not slowed down business for Chavez – public records indicate that he ships hundreds of horses per month to slaughter in Mexico via the Presidio and Santa Teresa export pens. Animals’ Angels has continued to keep a close eye on his activities and our research confirms that there are still severe animal welfare problems connected to these shipments. On August 8, 2012, Montoya trucking delivered a load of horses to the Presidio export pens for Chavez. A Pinto mare, USDA slaughter tag #6127, was down in the trailer upon arrival and her leg was broken. The mare was later shot due to the severe injury. Between January 24 and 31, 2013, Dennis Chavez shipped three loads of stallions to the Presidio export pens. According to the paperwork, there were over 30 stallions in each load. One can only imagine the fighting that had to occur within these trailers. Horses from each load were rejected by the Mexican veterinarians due to injuries. Chavez claimed that these horses were shipped to Mexico for reproduction purposes (therefore the USDA Commercial Transport to Slaughter Regulations do not apply). Strangely, Chavez was still paid a price per pound for all these horses and the buyer, Jose Longoria Calles, is located in Camargo, just a stone throw away from the Camargo horse slaughter plant.
Investigators arrived at the premises of Southwest Livestock Auction on 8/13/13 at 4:00pm. To their surprise, all the pens with the exception of one pen holding 5 horses were empty. A few cars and trailers were parked on the premises. There was very little activity. Investigators monitored the premises from the public road for several days, but the situation remained unchanged. Animals’ Angels will continue to investigate.