Upon arrival Animals' Angels investigators found an otherwise healthy looking horse lying dead in the parking lot. In the pen area, investigators observed as the typically rough, untrained workers used long wooden poles to hit and poke horses with great force. Eventually this caused horses to rush forward, knocking down a closed gate.
One horse escaped while a draft horse went down, its legs thoroughly wedged in the gate. The Amish workers stood by and watched as the frantic horse whirled its legs at great speed for several minutes until it was finally able to get up, though with one leg still entangled in the gate. It took several more minutes to disengage the horse’s leg. By luck the horse did not appear to be injured (though the auction veterinarian was never observed checking the horse), nor was the horse trampled during the sustained uproar.
However, the workers’ unnecessary and cruel handling of the horses is a violation of Ohio law [statute 959.13]. Another situation had a less positive outcome. An emaciated mare, tag # 739, went through the auction unsold. It is a crime in Ohio to allow a horse to get in this condition. Upon receiving the mare, Sugarcreek Auction should have called law enforcement but did not. An Ohio rescue was able to take the mare and their vet treated her for shock and colic. Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated and the mare had to be euthanized.