Horse News

From Louisiana tracks to ‘kill pen,’ how battle over horse slaughter pipeline hits home

BY JOHN SIMERMAN as published on

There’s no shortage of thoroughbreds boxed into the trailers that rattle into the dirt parking lot at Dominique’s Livestock Market in Opelousas on Tuesdays, to be sold to the highest bidder…

One Tizzy Trick, a 3-year-old mare who last raced in April, seen bleeding from a wound inside Dominique’s Livestock Market in early July. The video was taken by Jacob Thompson, a Pitkin, La. “kill buyer” who sent it to clients for “bail” money.

And there’s plenty of unwanted attention around the stockyard’s auction arena, focused on the fit-and-twitchy racehorses for sale. Thoroughbred lovers have kicked up a social media firestorm over the fate of horses coming off the track and landing in the hands of “kill buyers.”

“We got caught up in a hot crossfire,” said Mike Dominique, general manager and auctioneer in the 82-year-old family business, a combination flea market and recycling depot for livestock.

Wooden benches rise from a hay-lined pen in the crescent-shaped arena, where about 80 people settled in on a spring morning. A few wore spurs.

It’s a place where farm couples enter the bidding at $50 on miniature horses for their doe-eyed kids, while “kill buyers” scoop up stock bound for Mexican slaughterhouses.

“We’re in thoroughbred country. You got the old broodmares. You got the horses that were on the track as colts. Yearlings. All those. We’ll sell anything. We sell them all,” said Dominique, who calls the auctions in a monotone patter from a perch above the pen.

“I’m not a slaughter sale, where every horse that comes to me goes to slaughter. Anybody can purchase that animal and do whatever they want with it,” he added. “It’s an old country horse sale. We sell cheap horses.”

But the retired racehorses aren’t as cheap since Jacob Thompson hatched a plan to ransom retired thoroughbreds to horse lovers online at premium prices, using the threat of imminent slaughter. Eventually, more than 100 of them would land on pastures in Union Parish under the care of a local farrier, Hal Parker.

A New Jersey horsewoman’s heartstrings had snapped over Thompson’s “rescue” ads. Dina Alborano started a website,, to raise the horses’ “bail” money, and she hired Parker to care for them before adoption.

But several horses that went from Dominique’s auction house to Thompson’s “kill lot” to Parker’s pasture have turned up dead, sick or gnawing at tree roots in starvation. Parker has remained jailed for five months, booked on animal cruelty and livestock theft charges…(CONTINUED)

6 replies »

  1. “Once we got their tattoos, you could see some of them raced five days prior to being in the kill lot.”

    Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption
    by Jo Anne Normile, Lawrence Lindner

    “If we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.” –Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know Alborano from before she started her “rescue.” I have contacted the NJ AG’s office to see if I can be of any help. The light needs to shine on the slaughter pipeline and the fake rescues. Thank you for ALL you do for the horses- I am so grateful to you and Terri for your brave voices for them.

    All my best, Frances Miller Lexington, KY



  3. Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie

    Fort Polk steamrolls through, with their goal to completely destroy these horses.

    Political officials do nothing.

    Notification received 5/24/19, see below:


    Fort Polk has captured 14 trespass horses. We are beginning the process as set forth in the Final Environmental Assessment for Elimination of Trespass Horses on Fort Polk, Louisiana and the Finding of No Significant Impact.
    Meridian Falls is on the to: line of this email because they are on the top of the list of 501c3 organizations to receive horses. Everybody on the cc:
    line is copied for your information.

    Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is continuing in their stance of not testing horses at this time. Therefore, we will not be testing the horses onsite at Fort Polk. Please recall that per the EA “The adopter organization will be responsible for compliance with all applicable laws, including but not limited to, disease testing, branding, tattooing or microchipping, ascertaining and resolving any ownership issues for horses with existing brands, tattoos or microchipping, transporting from Fort Polk and all other requirements pertaining to either adoption and/or horse ownership from the time loaded into the organization’s trailer at Fort Polk.”

    Please recall that according to the Finding of No Significant impact that you will have three working days to respond to this notification and eight days to pick up the horses. Due to the federal holiday this week, do not expect a reply before 1300, TUE, 28MAY19.

    Thanks for your assistance and we look forward to hearing from you soon.


    P.S. I would personally like to thank WAYNE FARISS, primary driving force behind the removals and his crew at the Environmental Division at Fort Polk for their uncanny ability to ruin each holiday as they ALWAYS round up right before holidays. Not to mention the destruction of historical, cultural, biological significant herds of horses who are cherished by locals as well as people all across America… Hey Wayne… Karma will find you 💯


  4. Great. Three days notice by email, no ability to communicate in response until four days later, but those wanting to pick up horses have to accomplish all: “disease testing, branding, tattooing or microchipping, ascertaining and resolving any ownership issues for horses with existing brands, tattoos or microchipping, transporting from Fort Polk and all other requirements pertaining to either adoption and/or horse ownership from the time loaded into the organization’s trailer at Fort Polk.” May 24 was the Friday starting Memorial Day weekend, to boot. Surely no gov’t. employees were aware of this???? (sarcasm intended).

    What happened to these 14 horses?


  5. GOOD question IcySpots
    The people in this group have put their hearts and souls into helping these have all of the advocates.
    They have compiled a great deal of information on their website and have fiercely taken on the U.S. Military which SHOULD be PROTECTING America’s heritage rather than destroying it.

    Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) formed to unify efforts to preserve and protect these free roaming herds. PEGA asserts that the free roaming herds of Kisatchie have been a part of Louisiana’s local culture since its early beginnings, and therefore should have Heritage standing, as descendants of the animals that toiled alongside homesteaders that shaped the early history of parishes in and around Kisatchie National Forest.
    For well over a century, horses have roamed the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, which is approx. 604,000 acres in which the US Army occupies approx 250,000 acres.

    Liked by 1 person

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