Spring Valley Farm Annual Horse & Tack Auction, Moneta, VA 4/9/11

Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 16:00
Investigation Category: 

Investigators arrived at the auction site at 8:50am. The parking lot was already crowded with large stock trailers, mainly from Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia. The pre-auction viewing area was a temporary set up that had been created under a pavilion.  Over 100 equines were present, including donkeys, mules and minis. Only very few had access to hay and none of them had access to water.  Some equines that were tied to a railing outside were kept harnessed to wagons/ carts for the entire time. All were still tied when investigators left at 2:30pm.  Some horses had physical ailments, such as an aged, lethargic Standardbred gelding that was stocked up in the rear, a bay Morgan Cross gelding with a large spot on his left eye, a chestnut pinto TWH mare that was extremely swayback, and a jenny donkey with her foal.  The jenny had a deep cough, and the foal wouldn’t bear any weight on its rear right leg.  The way they were tied prevented the foal from nursing.  Both were absolutely terrified of people. The auction started at 10:20 am. There is no auction ring, but a straight asphalt run-through leading from one end of the auction barn to the other. Most of the shoed horses were slipping on this pavement, one fell down completely with the rider.  The auctioneer’s box was located on a second level, directly above the pavement.  The handling observed was satisfactory with the one exception: The donkeys were frightened and didn’t appear to be used to halters or leading and the handlers were observed slapping and kicking them to get them to move forward.  Outside the auction, investigators observed some horses selling in the parking lot. One severely emaciated TWH mare, approx 250lbs underweight, with yellowish, mucous discharge was unloaded from a trailer with West Virginia plates. The approx. 3 year old mare was in appalling condition and looked pregnant. Investigators observed from a distance as the owner sold her to what appeared to be a rescue.