SD Wild Horse Auction Labeled “Postponed” by County Officials


Lauri Elizabeth Armstrong

Lauri Elizabeth Armstrong

“The horses impounded from the ISPMB was scheduled for December 20, 2016, at the Faith Livestock Auction in Faith, South Dakota. That sale has been postponed.

Horse welfare organization Fleet of Angels, which has been conducting an adoption and assistance campaign with the ISPMB since mid-October, will continue its adoption efforts. Adopters who applied to adopt horses befor December 1 are encouraged to arrange to have their horses picked up by December 18, or after the holidays when gathering, sorting and loading assistance will be resumed. Adopters should contact Fleet of Angels at”

– – –

This is still a very fluid situation, and the horses are NOT all safe yet. For now, though, the auction is off, and we are able to continue with the adoption program. We’ll keep providing updates as available, while we continue to do all we can to get these horses to safe homes before it is again- too late. ~ Elaine Nash

Update: ISPMB Wild Horse Auction

Source: Dewey County Sheriffs Department

“Approximately 550-650 horses of varying ages, some mares with foals…”

img008-3The ISPMB sale will be held Dec 20th at the Faith Livestock Yard in Faith SD. Faith is located about 35 miles west of the ranch in Lantry on highway 212.

Approximately 550-650 horses of varying ages, some mares with foals. No geldings.

Horses are comprised of the following blood lines from these locations:

Catnip Herd: Horses originate from the Sheldon Wildlife Range (SWR) in northern Nevada.

Gila Herd: Horses originate from the Gila Bend, Arizona area and genetic testing indicates that they contain rare blood lines from the Old Spanish Mustangs in the Southwest.

White Sands Herd: Horses originate from the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico.

Virginia Range Herd: Horses originate from Wild Horse Annie’s Ranch.

I have been told that horses will be run through in small groups and separated if desired. I believe bidding will be by assigned number. I am trying to confirm this and get start time etc. I will post this information when I receive it.

This is a very bidder friendly livestock commission co. working with all buyers equally.

Faith Livestock will put out an add on their web page in the near future and you can get more information there.

Start time and some bidding info

Will start the sale at 10:00 am. Bidding can be done over the phone. Will ask that methods of payment are discussed prior to bidding. Also, information about the bidders prior to the sale.

Exclusive: SD Newspaper Publishes Former Wild Horse Sanctuary & Government Agreement

Published by Isabel Dakotan Community Newspaper

Exclusive: This 10-page document represents the most recent draft of a management plan that was primarily dictated by the SD Animal Industry Board and Dewey and Ziebach Counties following the rejection of a first draft from the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros and president Karen Sussman.

Sussman and ISPMB were declared earlier this week to be in default of court-ordered stipulations for failing to meet financial requirements, therefore this document is largely void. However, it does show the financial and operational regulations that would have been imposed at the ISPMB sanctuary had they raised adequate funds to keep any horses.

There will be an auction soon, county officials say. States Attorney Steve Aberle said that any horses purchased at the public sale by ISPMB or any intermediary buyer will be immediately subject to impound if they are back at the ISPMB ranch.

Click on images below to enlarge:




Source: by Andy of soyoumadeittocollege blog

“A friend forwarded to me the address for the blog of this young man, a man who is forever changed by going to a horse slaughter auction.  Stop by Andy’s blog and spend some time reading the articles that precede this reflection, it will make your eyes leak and your heart break.  We are all brothers and sisters in the equine spirit.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

“I felt feelings that I will never un-feel…”
Slaughter Aisle after auction

Slaughter Aisle after auction

Two weeks seem as if it is a short amount of time when you compare it to our relatively long lives. For myself, however, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

Two weeks ago, I understood very little about how a horse auction was run. It wasn’t that I was ignorant, but rather that I just did not want to even have to imagine what a horse auction was like. So going into it, I had no expectations; I was a blank slate ready to be covered with feelings and emotions based off an experience that I had no prior expertise in. I did not even have previously seen photos to prepare myself for what I would be seeing.

But now I am no longer a blank slate.

At the auction I saw things that I will never be able to un-see. I felt feelings that I will never un-feel. I had emotions run through me that I did not even have words to express. I tried to convey my experience using the best words that I could, but sometimes words are just not enough. I took pictures, yet those pictures still do not adequately portray what it is like to actually be there. Pictures may paint a thousand words, but actual experience of an event writes a novel.

Despite having to be a part of something that was truly heartbreaking, I can confidently say that I do not regret going to the Unadilla horse auction. If nothing else, it acted as an event that will now forever MOLD the rest of my life. Witnessing a horse auction created an infinite amount of desire in me to do what I can to raise awareness about a cause that I personally saw the darkness of. At the same time,however, I also got to feel the joy that comes with saving another living creatures life. It is this mixture of emotions that I felt within myself that I hope to use as fuel for motivating myself to continue writing about this topic.

Right now as I sit here, I understand that the horses that I saw sold to slaughter are no longer mortal, living things. They are no longer bodies filled with light and the peppiness of life. They will never again be someones pet. Eyes once radiating with light, enthusiasm and hopefulness have now grown dim. They will, however, live on in my memory. I will never forget the look of that one chestnut mare awaiting death in the stable after the auction. I was the last friendly touch she would ever feel.

With a heart full of remembrance and a mind in constant recollection of my first auction, I will continue to promote the stories of those who go to these rescues. The people who consistently see what most are too afraid to see. The people who change the lives of horses, one auction at a time. Those who give hope to horses who do not understand that their hope was slowly RUNNING out. They are the people who, by saving one horses lives, have the possibility of bringing a once abandoned horse to the home of someone who will love them unconditionally. In saving one life, you have the capacity to enhance others.

These are the people who are true heroes. Changing the world for one horse at a time. People who give their time so that horses can have more time.

Click (HERE) to visit Andy’s blog and to comment

Video Report: Neglected Horses Saved from Slaughter by Passionate Bidders

Source: By Lorraine Jackson and Devon Dolan of

“My part in all of this is to buy one and love it and make sure it doesn’t go to slaughter…”

Click IMAGE to view video

SPANISH FORK — Victims of one of the states largest cases of animal -abuse found new homes Wednesday night when over 40 horses were sold at an auction.

Multiple volunteers and horse rescue organizations had confirmed that “kill buyers” would be attending Wednesday’s public sale of the neglected horses owned by mother and son Rory and Trudy Childs of Smokey Mountain Ranch. Fourth District Judge Fred Howard ordered that the horses be sold to pay a lien to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, which cared for the horses after they were discovered near starvation in mid-February of this year.

Buyers could purchase the horses, transport them to Canada or Mexico, and resell them to slaughterhouses for processing. While regulations have recently changed on the matter of domestic horse slaughter, there are currently no U.S. slaughterhouses open for business.

Many bidders were fighting beyond their means, taking money out of savings, to help save the horses from slaughter.

“My part in all of this is to buy one and love it and make sure it doesn’t go to slaughter,” said Jo Crawford, a bidder at the auction.

Nine purebred quarter horse foals and 31 mares and geldings ranging in age and experience were auctioned. “They’re engaging, good personalities, they’re spirited,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “A lot different than they were several months ago.”

Bidders worked together, outbidding what they say were suspected kill buyers. According to, buyers for slaughterhouses can’t afford to spend more than around 20-25 cents per pound and still make a profit. With fully grown horses ranging between 800-1,000 pounds, to outbid the middle men, bidders needed to pay $160-$250 per horse.

After an hour, the auction ended, some having spent thousands of dollars to save as many horses as they could. Sales reached up to $2,700. Barbara Phillips ended up buying eight.

“I just wanted to help the ones that were still alive,” Phillips said.

The new owners do not get any papers detailing each horse’s past, but they know their history. Many of the bid winners say they’ll now get the horses healthy and train them then find them good owners.

Click (HERE) to view video and to Comment at KSL


By Cynthia Kennedy & Patrick Kennedy
Virginia City News

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and SFTHH stand shoulder to shoulder with the astonishing advocates who are attempting to save the last of the vanishing Virginia Range Wild Horse Herd.  The first true love of Wild Horse Annie these horses have earned a spot in the hearts of all Americans.  Whatever it takes to stop the Nevada Department of Agriculture from not only ripping these horses from the range but putting them up, almost instantly, for sale to slaughter we will be there and we hope you will be too.  Be it the BLM or the State of Nevada one thing is for certain, Nevada is “ground zero” in the war to save the last of our national icons.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


Reporter Finds Horse Auction To Be Eye-Opening Experience
Father, mother and baby Cremellos with bay and buckskin herdmate at the Nevada Livestock Marketing Yard in Fallon on Jan. 9. Photo by Patrick Kennedy

Father, mother and baby Cremellos with bay and buckskin herdmate at the Nevada Livestock Marketing Yard in Fallon on Jan. 9. Photo by Patrick Kennedy

My editor asked me to report on the latest auction of Virginia Range wild horses, at the Nevada Livestock Marketing yard in Fallon.

These are estray horses, not on BLM land and not subject to federal protection, trapped by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and considered property of the state.

There had been reports of “shilling” at these recent auctions, and Karen wanted to know if these claims were true.

Everyone should have the opportunity to visit a livestock sale once in their lives. It’s another link in the food chain, as most of the beef, pork and lamb you eat is sold under the gavel.

Nevada Livestock Marketing is located in the middle of Fallon, just south of Highway 50. The first impression you have when you step on the property is the smell.

I’ve been around plenty of cutting horse events and rodeos, and have owned horses most of my life, but this was that smell multiplied by a thousand.

The auction is in a cinder block building and behind it are dozens of pens, linked by alleys, and two wooden catwalks 20 feet above, from where you can survey all the pens. We saw that the wild horses were in corrals on the east side, but the alley to them was blocked by chained gates, so we walked up onto the catwalk, that was still a considerable distance from the horses.

After walking the length of the catwalk, we realized we could step down at the other end and walk up the alley and see the horses. So we did.

There were 41 estrays in the auction, located in several adjacent pens, and they appeared to be comfortable in their surroundings, eating hay from bunkers.

Recently gelded stallions sparred through the fences, but it seemed more play than animosity. Patrick quietly took some photos. We’d been warned in advance by others that photography might not be allowed, but the photos we were taking could never be considered incriminating.

Before they’d been hauled to auction, the males had been gelded, and each horse had been micro-chipped, had a square block of hair shaved from its rump and a large, crude “N” freeze-branded there. None seemed the worse for wear.

As we neared the end of the alley, a cowboy on horseback from afar yelled, “Hey, I’m going to run cows down that alley! You get outta there or I’m gonna call the sheriff!”

We’d gotten our photos, so we responded, “Sure! We’re leaving right now!” and we retraced our steps back up to the catwalk. As we made our way down the rickety boards, stopping to chat with other groups of people who were looking at the stock, three deputies from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office approached us.

“There’s been a report of people jumping over the fence into the horse pens.” Deputy Lewallen stated. “We’ve been here for 40 minutes Deputy, and haven’t seen anyone in the pens.” I replied. “Well, they’re trying to run cattle, and they say people have been in the alley.” I motioned to the deputy to look down over the railing at two small calves, laying in the straw way below us. “See those two calves? Those are the cattle they’ve been running in that alley, and the horses are over in that far alley.” Lewallen smiled, and we were ready to walk on. “I’ll need to see your IDs.” Now this was getting ridiculous, but Patrick and I gave our IDs, Lewallen ran a search on both of us with his phone, and then we were allowed to go on our way. He and his deputies had been polite and pleasant the entire time, but was this really necessary? After all, this was a public auction of “state property.”

Unfortunately, we’d gotten our timing wrong, and had to wait more than three hours for the horses to go on the block.

During that time, I saw dozens of cows, bulls, steers and calves run through the half-moon shaped pen, that was also a scale, and sold by the pound.

The process was quick, and there were about 30 people in the small indoor amphitheater bidding and watching. I wondered how the wild horses would react to the shaky metal floor, slamming doors, and the odd enclosure into which they’d be driven and separated from their herd. An auction yard has no place for natural horsemanship.

Finally, the bovines were all sold. The bidding ranchers in their crisp, starched Wranglers and Stetson hats left the building. Several cowboys were in the stands, mostly canner bidders. There were also some “grade” domestic horses in the sale.

These horses are victims of the poor economy, high hay prices, and the fact that few little girls long for horses as they did in decades past.

A nice quarter horse or Arabian that would have sold for $1,000 10 years ago, goes for around a hundred. People bidding on these horses have no concern for how well they’re trained, or if they have a friendly personality. Their only interest is in their weight. Now, that horse will sell for around $100, get loaded on a truck with 26 others, and make the long haul to a slaughter house in Canada or Mexico, with no stop to relieve themselves outside of the trailer, or even a drink of water. This is the fate of the free horses that you see on Craigs List every day. Most of them end up at an auction yard.

But this is the sixth auction of estray horses trapped by the NDA since September, attended by the wild horse advocates. It’s easy to pick them out in the crowd: middle-aged women, sitting in groups.

One of them is Shannon Windle of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. Another is Anna Orchard, who lives at the foot of Toll Road. She’s there to buy some of the horses in the Bay Bunch, most of whom have been seen roaming in the foothills, and in the subdivision on Equestrian Road

Orchard comes from a ranching family, “I’ve bought horses in the past from the state prison sale and at the Wild Horse & Burro Expo. For these horses, I’m going to gentle and saddle train them, and then send them up to my family in Canada who will use them as ranch horses. They’re wonderful.”

But how do you bid on a horse when you aren’t even allowed to get near it to evaluate it? Nevada Livestock Marketing does not allow bidders near the horses in advance of the auction, and it’s true that one can’t even take a photo or video. When he pulled out his camera to take photos during the auction, Patrick was sternly reminded of that by owner, Jack Payne. It was all the horse advocates could do, to try to match up the hip numbers with the horses’ brief descriptions on the sale sheet during the auction.

Windle had told me that at past auctions, she’d not even been allowed up on the catwalk nearest the wild horse pens. She’d take the list of sale horses and her binoculars and go up on the far catwalk, and try to match descriptions and hip numbers. Every time, a cowboy down below would yell, “Camera!” and the catwalk would clatter with the running boots of a yard employee bent on stopping her “photography,” only to realize she had binoculars.

The grade horses were first on the block and sold by the pound. An 1100 pound horse sold for around $100. Then the wild horses were prodded through the door. Often, they slipped on the slick metal floor strewn with sawdust, and feces, and had to be chowsed to get up and go on. Neighs rang out as herdmates were separated from one another. At one point, a mare was sold, and several lots later, her nursing foal came through, whinnying frantically for his mother.

“That foal should have NEVER been separated from its mother! You need to stop bidding on that foal and just put it with its mother,” Tam Resovich of the Starlight Sanctuary commanded. Looks were exchanged between Jack Payne and the auctioneer. The usual practice at sale yards is to never separate a nursing animal from its mother. They gave in to Resovich’s request.

But while this would seem to reflect a degree of fairness, what was happening once the wild horses came across the block was decidedly unfair. The estrays that averaged in weight at around 700 pounds. were selling for around $300! Over twice the amount of the much larger grade horses. This was only due to the fact that sale yard owner, Jack Payne, was sitting in a front-row seat bidding on every lot.

Toe-to-toe he went with Shannon Windle, who had bidder numbers from Hidden Valley, as well as several other advocacy groups. Horses from Stagecoach, Fernley, Rhodes Road, and   the Toll Road area went through. But why would Payne bid so much for these horses that were worth far less than the grade horses? He seemed bent to drive the prices paid by Windle, Orchard and the others as high possible.

In two instances (of 41), he did buy horses. Windle dropped out. Later on in the office when bidders were settling their accounts, she asked Payne if she could buy the two horses he’d bought. “Sure, you can pay what I did.” Windle spent $7,720 at the sale that day, and not one wild horse went to slaughter. The horses she did not buy were bought by Orchard and other advocates.

This sale left more questions than answers. I’ve been to many auctions in my lifetime, and never have I bid against the auction house owner in the stands. I know about absentee and phone bidders, but this seemed nothing like those scenarios.

My notes on the auction consisted of hastily scribbled weights and sale prices. If Patrick hadn’t been helping me find the lots on the sheet as they came through, completely out of order, I’d have lost count.

Each horse was in the ring for less than a minute, and the next lot was pushed through before the prior was even bought.

What if a Fandango Pass herd had been sold tonight? It was bad enough seeing these confused animals’ fate hanging by a thread between a sad ending, and the efforts of some good-hearted people. I really don’t think I could have borne it, to see wild horses I personally know go through an auction like this.

Many of the bidders were actually experiencing that conflict and as a result made winning bids.

Is Bidding by the Auction Yard Legal?

To get this answer, I called another livestock auction yard. The owner asked that he remain anonymous, but he angrily complained that Nevada Livestock uses photos of his operation to represent theirs.

He was very proud of his clean yard and pipe pens and catwalks, that starkly contrasted with Nevada Livestock’s. He said that “their yard is a wreck, and we do not bid against bidders at sales here. It’s just not ethical.”

At his sales, “You can look at horses in pens until 20 minutes before the sale. We ask on the PA for people to leave so no one gets hurt. But, we don’t allow photos as the animals could spook and cause problems. If there was an insurance claim, photos could be used against us.”

For another opinion, I called Greg Williams of Lightning Auctions in Sparks. I knew that Greg was formerly a large animal veterinarian, and he would have an informed, unbiased opinion about the question.

“If I bid against my bidders, no one would come to my sales.” he answered. “I had a sale for some 4-H kids who had adopted and trained five wild horses. They were selling them as a project. I could not even get the opening bid of $125 for any of them! I finally bought them all, and gave them back to the kids, as there was no one else who wanted them.”

I told Greg about the wild horses selling in the sale for around $300, and Jack Payne driving up their price. He could not understand why anyone would do that.

To find out why Jack Payne was bidding against his customers, I decided I had to ask him personally. It was a bitter, cold day, and Jack was out working in the yard. I could hear the sounds of the cattle in the background of his phone. I told him I was appreciative that he would talk to me when he was in the middle of work.

“Why did the state choose your facility?”

“I don’t know.”

“How long are the horses in the yard before they’re sold?”

“They come in the night before.”

“How do you feel about the sales?”

“It’s just another commission to me, but they’ve caused a lot of controversy. I feel that if these wild horse people wanted to do good, they’d use the money for orphanages, feed hungry children. These aren’t wild horses, they’re feral. I’m bidding on them just to prove a point, and I’m donating my commissions to charity.”

He went on and talked about how he won’t allow photos or video because, “They’ll use it against you.” But, he did say one could take photos when the horses were coming in, and under the yard’s supervision. I asked him if there was something he’d like to say to the advocates. “Well, the State Brand Inspector, Blaine Northrup, was talking to one of them about the car wrecks they’ve caused, and how a child could have been killed, and they answered that they cared more about the horses than little children! They just don’t care!

“At the first auction they cussed at me, but by the second, they cleaned up their act.”

I then asked him why he was bidding on these horses?

“I have to have competitive bidding. Every sale barn I know, has owners who bid. Price is established by what two people will pay for something. At the first auction, they paid considerably more, and I’ve slacked up on them.”

I also wondered about a buyer’s commission. There is none, and the NDA pays a 5 percent seller’s commission on every lot.

I put in a call to the USDA Packers & Stockyards Administration office in Aurora, Colo., to find out if any regulations were being violated.

There is a “Prompt Payment” regulation that requires that any lot must be paid for by the close of the following business day.

What would Payne do if he was stuck with a wild horse he’d bid $200 for, but was worth only $75 to the canners? That predicament hasn’t happened, as all the lots he’s purchased, even at inflated prices, have been bought by the advocates when settling up after the auctions.

Next on my list was James Barbee, Director of the NDA. He wasn’t in, and his answering machine said he wouldn’t be back for over a week. I left a message.

Next, I called the NDA office in Elko, and they directed me to Ed Foster, their spokesman. He was not in his office, and I left a message. No one returned my calls.

Next, I turned to Shannon Windle, to see if she could answer my management questions. She told me that the estray horses are rounded up and transported to the prison in Carson City. There, they’re held for branding, micro-chipping and gelding. Any male horse a year old or older is gelded, but they’ve been known to geld foals 8-10 months old. There’s no set time for how long they’re there. They run legal advertisements in newspapers in the county seat where the horses were picked up, but all ads also run in the “Nevada Appeal.” People who might own any of the horses have five days after the ad runs to claim their horses. After that, the horses are taken to the next sale.

What About the Horses of the VC Highlands and Virginia City?

I asked Bob Maccario, of the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association, to comment about all of this.

He said, “The horses on the Virginia Range are under NDA control, unless they leave the Virginia Range; then they are under BLM control.We cannot do anything like birth control without their authorization. Bottom line is NDA doesn’t want the horses, doesn’t have the resources to deal with them, but tells us, under current NDA policy they cannot enter into any cooperative agreements with any of the groups so we can help. The Director of NDA has very specifically told me, ‘You have no authority to do anything as an individual or as a group (VRWPA).’ and he is correct. As a 501c nonprofit, we will always follow the laws. But we do have the authority of public opinion, and that is why we need everyone at our meetings before it is too late and the horses are removed.”

(Call Bob at 847-7390 for information)

Who is Shannon Windle, and How Can She Buy So Many Horses?

Shannon spent over an hour answering my questions about horse rescue, and I felt very privileged to be talking to someone who has taken on such a huge, costly and emotional task.

So far she has, “Spent over $49,000 on 136 horses sent to auction by the NDA, and they are boarded on private property. We get the money from donations, but barely have enough for feed and transport. Fundraising is a constant. We’ve been extremely fortunate in getting the word out, and the response from the public in northern Nevada, the United States, and around the world has been absolutely incredible. People are outraged, and that’s reflected in their financial support to save these horses. I think it’s driven by all the news about the NDA, and their constant barrage of pricing up horses. I believe the BLM has 55,000 horses in pens across the country. More than on the range, and now the Virginia Range horses are being threatened.”

I asked her how she felt about Jack Payne bidding up the prices (some for more than $600) at his sales yard.

“I wrote a complaint to the Nevada Attorney General, and he forwarded the letter to Blaine Northrup, the Brand Inspector, who brings the horses to the auction. Northrup responded that what Payne did was not unethical or against the law. It’s no different than what he does with the cattle. I told him that Payne doesn’t run up the prices of the cattle. If they were selling for a dollar a pound no one would buy them! I protested that he only ran up the prices on the estrays, but Northrup said the prices were the same as South Dakota and other states where horses were culled. I couldn’t believe that the Attorney General had the department that needed to be investigated, investigate themselves! The agency that was profiting, turned the investigation over to themselves!”

When asked about the major responsibility with these horses, Windle said, “It’s not just me, there are a lot of people involved in this, and a lot of support. Volunteers in the Reno area have grown tremendously, especially the “trailer brigade.” The township of Stagecoach has energized and organized itself and bought the eight horses who were trapped, and put up a fence along the highway. It’s not just me. I’m just a voice. None of this could have taken place without a solid network of wild horse advocates that reaches across this country and around the world. I don’t believe the NDA was prepared for this outpouring of support, nor was Governor Sandoval. I feel I play a very small role in this machine that we are creating. Our next step is to go for a sanctuary.”

But Aren’t These Nuisance Horses?

Windle “Counted 30 horses out of the 140+ horses they’ve trapped as nuisances. Only those 30 needed to be picked up and relocated. The rest were not a public safety issue. The Pleasant Valley horses that caused that big accident, have NOT been picked up. They picked up horses that were eating a woman’s lawn. She was so upset, because she’d only asked for help from the NDA in keeping them off her lawn. They weren’t horses on a highway. They also tried to trap horses way up on Toll Road. How could they be a nuisance or hazard?”

I wondered where most of the horses have been trapped.

“Stagecoach, Hidden Valley, Virginia City, Dayton, Fernley, Rhodes Rd., Damonte Ranch, and Clean Water Way.” Windle related.

What Is Going to Happen Now?

An optimistic Windle replied, “With the 18,000 letters the state has received, they should realize that the majority of the people in this state, and 80% of United States citizens, don’t want to see the horses go to slaughter. The NDA should be working with the advocates. We are willing to assist the NDA in managing them, finding out which ones are causing a public safety issue, identifying areas where these horses should be relocated, and if they become repeat offenders, then & only then, be picked up. They should be given to us so we can find homes for them. We’re 100% behind management, birth control, starting a data base, etc. and we’d use our donor money to as sist. We’d purchase the birth control supplies, computer software, and maintain a volunteer base.

“The worst thing that has happened is that communication has been lost entirely. The NDA will not communicate. If they did, they’d find that some of the beliefs they have about us are wrong. For instance, relocating the horses. I asked Northrup if he would move a group from one area to another, and he said, ‘No way, we don’t do that.’ It’s not their agenda, or one of their options, but if you manage these horses correctly with birth control, and move herds that are causing problems, you can satisfy the needs of developers, residents, and advocates who don’t want them in the streets. It’s amazing what you can accomplish. But now, there’s no communication at all, and the public is upset, and the State of Nevada gets bad publicity.

Will The Upcoming Legislative Session Deal With This?

State Sen. Mark Manendo of Las Vegas believes in setting up wild horse sanctuaries to draw visitors. He recently made public a joint resolution for this that will be introduced in this session. His resolution says, “Building eco-sanctuaries that enable the public to view and photograph wild horses and burros may provide a much-needed boost to the Nevada economy.”

Senate Joint Resolution 1, if passed by both houses of the Legislature, would not have the effect of law, but merely encourages advocates and the state and federal agencies to work together to preserve the horses.


For further information about this issue, and the entities involved, see the addresses below.
“Slaughter House Bound” Virginia City News 1-11-13

Next Week – Department of Agriculture’s Views

Click (HERE) to Comment and Support the Virginia City News

Crundwell Horses, Equipment Fetch more than $4 million

by: Pat Raia of

“The care of the horses have been costing about $200,000 a month…”

Horses, tack, trailers, and other equipment belonging to indicted Quarter Horse breeder Rita Crundwell brought more than $4 million during a two-day live auction in Dixon, Ill.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted Crundwell for allegedly misappropriating $53 million in funds from the town of Dixon, Ill., where she had served as comptroller since the 1980s. Federal law enforcement agents later arrested Crundwell and charged her with one count of wire fraud, to which Crundwell later pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Crundwell could face maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the cost of the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater.

Following the arrest, a federal court judge placed more than 400 horses connected to the case in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Professional Auction Services Inc. was later hired to carry out the sale of the horses and related equipment at auction. Earlier this month an online auction of 80 Crundwell horses realized $1.6 million.

On Sept. 23 and 24, another 400 horses along tack, trailers, and other equipment were sold during a live auction at Crundwell’s farm in Dixon. U.S. Marshal’s Service Spokesperson Lynzey Donahue said that proceeds from the sale of the horses totaled $3,797,300. In addition, frozen semen proceeds totaled $98,500, and tack and equipment sales totaled $892,945. Meanwhile, Crundwell’s luxury motor brought $800,000 in an online auction that ended on Sept. 25.

Donahue said that net proceeds from the sales will be placed in escrow while Crundwell’s case is pending. If Crundwell is convicted the proceeds from the sales will be given to the City of Dixon, Ill., as restitution, she said.

Dixon Mayor Jim Burke said that the $4.7 million derived from the live auction represents about 5% of the revenue the city lost though Crundwell’s alleged misappropriation. Just how much of the auction proceeds Dixon will realize is uncertain.

“The people of Dixon expected that there would be some restitution,” Burke said. “The care of the horses have been costing (the federal government) about $200,000 a month, so we don’t know what the City will get on the horse sales.”

As the Crundwell case continues, the auction of other assets is pending, Burke said. In the meantime, morale among Dixon residents is high, he said.

“It’s a complicated case, but most people who care about the community are looking ahead, and not at the past,” said Burke.

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Animal’s Angels Investigates New Holland Slaughter Sales

Report Issued by Animal’s Angels

AA Needs Help Identifying Horse

New Holland, PA – Investigators arrived at the weekly auction at 4:00am. Trucks were arriving to unload animals and most of the pens in the sheep & goat barn as well as the pig barn were already occupied. No dying or injured animals were found. However, investigators saw several dead pigs in the pen area. Many of the pens still have no access to water for the animals.

When the horse auction started it was noted that kill buyers Bruce Rotz & Brian Moore were present as well as horse trader Frank Carper. When investigators looked at Bruce Rotz’s trailer they saw that three Thoroughbreds were inside the trailer. One of them was very thin. They were able to identify two of them by their lip tattoos as former race horses named Hawser and Bobcat Bandit. Bobcat Bandit had last raced at Laurel Park on October 29, 2010. Hawser had last raced at Gulfstream Park on February 12, 2011.

When the owners were contacted that same day, very little, plausible explanation was offered as to why their horses were on a kill buyer’s trailer. However, miraculously, Hawser and Bobcat Bandit both returned to their owners a few days later. When questioned, the owner of bobcat bandit provided the statement that her mare “apparently” had “just got a ride about an hour north and was dropped off at a small farm to be used as a tease/broodmare”.

Hawser’s owner ensured Animals’ Angels that the thin gelding would receive very good care and that they were currently trying to “get some weight back on him”.

Animals’ Angels has no knowledge in regards to what happened to the third horse they unfortunately were not able to identify. (If you recognize the horse in the picture, please email information to    Likely it ended up at the same destination kill buyer Bruce Rotz delivers thousands of horses to every year, the Richelieu Meats slaughter plant in Quebec.

The Director of Racing for Laurel Park stated that the track would no longer take any horses in its entries from the owner of Bobcat Bandit.

Animal’s Angels Investigates Horse Slaughter Auction

Report Supplied by Animal’s Angels

T & M Horse Auction, Smiths Grove, KY 6/25/11

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Animals’ Angels investigators arrived at the large, bi-monthly horse auction at 4:00pm. It was a hot & humid day with temperatures of 90 degrees. While fans were installed in the barn, no fans were running, which created a very stale and dusty atmosphere. No water or food was provided for the animals.

Approx. 300 horses, 15 donkeys & mules and 10 minis were present. Three mares had foals by their side. While all the riding horses were put in front pens close to the overlooking catwalk, all the “slaughter” horses were put in 4 large pens all the way in the back, out of reach from the public eye. When investigators checked on these horses, they noticed that several were emaciated and many very thin. One horse was observed with a fresh forehead injury that was bleeding profusely. All the “slaughter” horses were moved through a narrow chute, 3 at a time, where kill buyer Tim Ryan took their blood for Coggins testing. The handling around the chute was rough and many of the horses did not want to go in there.

Several kill buyers were present and ready to buy. Ryan, who appears to manage the sale, had brought his large stock trailer. R & R livestock arrived with a semi and single deck trailer at 5:18pm. The truck & trailer of William Middleton was parked in front of the barn.

Registered horse /riding horse sale started at 6:00pm and continued well into the night. The auctioneer took a very long time trying to sell each individual horse. After the sale, when the majority of the public had left, the “slaughter” horses were sold. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this auction.

Update:Texas Prison Horses Found in Waco

Story and Photo by Steven Long ~ Publisher/Editor of Horseback Magazine

Future of Horses Uncertain

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – At least some of the horses once belonging to the State of Texas and in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have been found after being sold at auction. The TDCJ prison horses were located at a facility owned by a former Texas prison inmate and equine kill buyer whose wife confirmed that the horses were the same ones purchased Monday night at a Huntsville, Texas livestock auction. “We are not selling these horses for food,” said TDCJ chief spokeswoman Michelle Lyons. “They were sold at a public auction to the public.”

The horses were sold as culls from the prison system’s extensive livestock program.

“We cannot speak intelligently as to the buyers’ intent,” Lyon’s told Horseback Magazine late Thursday, “but have been informed by the auction house that there were at least 10 different buyers of TDCJ horses.”

Asked if TDCJ was aware of recent concerns raised about the chemicals used to medically treat U.S. horses, Lyons said “Without an extensive review of the horses’ veterinary records, we cannot make assurances regarding what medications they have or have not taken.”

Drugs such as phenylbutazone (Bute), wormers, and a variety of other drugs routinely administered to horses here, possibly including prison horses, are strictly prohibited for use in food animals.

One of the most genetically perfect herds of horses in North America was hit hard by the selloff of 61 animals at a public auction, their most likely destination, a Mexican slaughterhouse notorious for unspeakable cruelty. The herd is genetically and historically important because they have been part of a captive breeding program for more than a century with little outside genetic influence. On the rare occasions other horses have been introduced, they have been foundation pedigreed lines.

The horses were part of a herd of 1,600 owned by the State of Texas and managed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, according to Lyons.

The state’s captive herd is subject to the most advanced breeding techniques and is held to exacting standards that are world class. The horses are not grade horses but are beneficiaries of the very best techniques of modern agricultural science. The livestock managers are products of the renowned schools of agriculture at Texas A&M University and the nearby Sam Houston State University. The horses are primarily Quarter Horses with substantial Percheron blood.

The information that the horses had been sold at auction came to Horseback Online Monday night when a confidential source who was at the Huntsville cattle auction called and said that a large number of prison horses had been sold to slaughter and had been loaded on a truck south heading down I-45.

“People who work at the prison are really upset about this,” the man said during a phone call to the magazine’s offices.

The Texas prison system holds “Premium Auctions” of horses only rarely where the public is invited to bid after extensive advertising of the sale. No such ads were placed for the 61 horses sold Monday. They were quietly sent to auction where a large truck was already waiting, according to the source who said the horses sold for about 40 cents a pound.

Lyons confirmed the prison system auctions 90-100 “cull” horses each year from its program.

Livestock auctions are the primary sources of horses sent abroad for food.

The Texas prison system breeds big horses, big enough to hold a 300 pound guard for an eight hour shift in the fields, hence the draft horse bloodlines brought into the herd. The stout corrections officer is known in prison parlance as “The Boss.” The horses and their human counterparts guard men dressed in white garb as they work fields with a garden hoe called by the derisive name, an “aggie.” The horses are bread for Texas’ 176 prison units which boast approx. 75 mounted guards or more.

There is one boss for each 25 inmates.

The prison horses are almost as wide as their bellies are deep. They hold saddles made behind the walls. The animals and men herd the system’s 20,000 cattle that are sold on the open market by the state. None of the meat is kept by TDCJ. The cheaper cuts fed to prisoners are bought at market price for the institution’s commissaries. Officials are quick to point out that prison inmates don’t eat steak but consumers may be lucky enough to eat beef raised behind prison walls.

Besides security and agriculture duty, the horses follow dogs chasing escaped convicts.

The state’s ideal prison horse is three quarters Quarter Horse and one quarter draft horse. Throughout his life a prison horse is freeze branded so that extensive records can be maintained in the system. The markings include a tattoo on the inside of the lip, a Texas star, the birth year, and ID number on the back left, and an additional identification on the horses left cheek near the anus. Like their fellow inmates, the horses have no name, only their number to identify them. The records are so extensive that a manager can track the record of a 20 year old horse and know every significant event of its life just by looking up his record.

The auction buyers Monday didn’t get the records of the horses they bought. When a horse leaves the prison system, only its Coggins certificate and ID sheet follow.

The state has achieved its ideal confirmation of broadness, horses that have hardly any withers, and are short of back.

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