When investigators arrived at the Presidio slaughter horse export pens that morning, they immediately noticed two Montoya Trucking semis leaving the pen area. One of them was loaded with so-called “rejects”, horses rejected for import into Mexico by the Mexican border veterinarian.
There are multiple reasons for rejection, such as ticks, sickness, injuries or emaciation. According to a report released by the EU Food and Veterinary Office, thousands of horses are rejected each year at the Southern border and then returned with the shipper.
Their fate is of great concern, since a rejected horse is of no value to the kill buyer. Montoya Trucking ships horses to the Presidio pens for New Mexico kill buyer Dennis Chavez. His operation made nationwide news in 2012, after Animals’ Angels investigated his feedlot and found multiple dying horses. Chavez was charged with several counts of animal cruelty and is currently awaiting trial. Public documents indicate that Chavez ships horses to Presidio approximately twice per week. The “rejects” are marked with a large red “X” and returned to his feedlot.
The Montoya trucks spotted on 2/22/13 pulled two open roof trailers that offer the horses no protection from the elements. The trailer sides, however, only have one single row of circular holes in the middle, making it next to impossible to see the horses inside the trailer.
Investigators followed the trucks, but were stopped at a border checkpoint while both trucks were waived through. Unable to catch up to them (the trucks were exceeding 85 mph earlier) investigators returned to Presidio to continue their observation.