Investigators attended the bi-monthly horse sale in Knoxville, TN and noted the white semi and single deck trailer of Tipton Livestock (DOT 630164) parked in the lot. According to the Safer website, this carrier has currently no operating authority.
There were 5 horses inside the front compartment of his boarded up trailer. Investigators checked the condition of the horses and noted several horses in poor condition: One chestnut with a twisted back left leg, one horse with a significantly swollen back right leg, covered in sweat as well as one cremello with what appeared to be an old fetlock injury.
The sale lasted well into the night, with horses being confined in the trailer for the entire time. Finally, Tipton backed up to the loading ramp to load the horses he had purchased. The truck left the auction at 11:00pm and started heading towards Tipton’s property in Limestone. The driver drove cautiously and obeyed all traffic signals. He arrived at the premises at 1:30am, parked and walked to his residence. Unable to document any further due to darkness, investigators decided to return the next morning.
When investigators returned at 7:30am, they immediately noticed that the horses Tipton loaded at the sale were still inside the trailer. His mixed load included everything from small ponies to mules still in full harness. While no laws were being broken (legally, horses can be confined inside a trailer without food & water for up to 28 hours), it still shows a complete disregard for the comfort and welfare of these animals. Animals’ Angels has reported this transport to FMCSA for further investigation.