Winter Livestock Auction, La Junta, CO 1/25/13

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 18:45
Investigation Category: 

Investigators arrived at 10:00am. The trucks of kill buyers Charles Carter, Bud Shirley and Jeff Smith were already parked in the parking lot. Smith’s truck with Kansas plates did not have any markings and no logo or DOT number was displayed, which is a violation of DOT regulations.

There were approximately 80 horses in the pen area and all had already been moved to the pens next to the auction ring.  4 brand inspector vehicles were present, as well as 13 workers, which is a lot giving the low number of horses. When the sale started, 26 horses were run through as “loose”. Investigators noticed a sorrel in one of the pens, he was very anxious and pacing. He was blind in one eye, and had the number 8 branded on his left hip. Among the animals sold were also 6 weanlings & 5 burros, they all went to private individuals. All the horses were in very good condition. The auction ended at 2:05pm.

At 2:10pm, Carter got into the driver’s seat of Smith’s truck and drove to the loading chutes. Then Carter’s semi started up and backed into the east loading chutes. At 2:25pm, Jeff Smith started loading. Carter, his driver and the pen workers started moving the horses to the loading chute area. It was chaotic, as horses were not segregated.

Investigators noted that the horse blind in one eye was included in this group and he was extremely aggressive (it is possible that this animal was a stallion). He was loaded together with other horses in the center compartment of Smith’s trailer. Throughout the loading the animals were hit repeatedly on all parts of their bodies including the head. One of Jeff Smith’s men used his metal crutch to move the horses into the trailer. Smith finished loading at 2:52pm.

Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this auction and file a DOT complaint about Jeff Smith.