Monday, November 24, 2008
This list was updated 08/04/2010
Daniel Almond (Trainer) and Howard Murray (Owner)- Dance Madam- bought by killer 8/3/2011
Allen Arnold (Trainer) and Calvin Felder (owner)- Talk of the Block- rescued 6/20/08
Danny Bird (Trainer)- Deputy Broad- slaughtered 7/19/2011
Ronney W. Brown (Trainer) - September Princess- rescued 11/10/08 -
it is unclear at this point whether the filly's owner knew her horse was sent to New Holland only 2 weeks after her last race.
Misael Ceciliano (Trainer/Owner)- Dynergy- rescued 09/28/08
Randy Faulkner (Trainer) and Outlaws and Angels, Inc. (owner)- Marquet Gold- rescued 6/20/08
Jaron Gold (Owner/Trainer)- Possibility- taken to slaughter by Gold personally 07/05
-Sports Ridge- taken to slaughter by Gold personally 07/05
This individual collects and hauls to slaughter whatever horses he can get his hands on.
He has his own rig. He hauls directly to Viande Richelieu in Quebec.
The above horses were rehabbed and rehomed by CANTER, had adoption
contracts attached to their papers. Draw your own conclusions about what sort of
ethics he operates under.
Reid Gross (Trainer) and Elaine Gross (owner)- Sue's Episode- still missing 03/15/05
Ed Harvey (Trainer) and Karen Harvey (owner)- Miss Fancy Gold sold to slaughter 4/11/08
Kenneth Morgan (Trainer/Owner)- Rose Minister rescued 6/20/08
Kenneth Morgan(Trainer) and Peggy Tope (owner)- Slew Okee rescued 6/20/08
"Mike" Gerasimos Moschonas (Trainer)- sent 2 TBs to killbuyer 11/25/08
Joseph Orseno (Trainer)- Yes it's me- rescued summer 2008
Russell Polichena (Trainer/Owner)- Our Lilly rescued 6/20/08
-readily admits to routinely bringing horses to Sugarcreek
Russell Polichena (Trainer/Owner)- Lordlebo N Marylou sold to slaughter 6/20/08
Donald Roberson (Trainer) and Paul Girdner (owner)- Don't Jinx It- sold to slaughter 10/17/08
Renee Schlesinger (Trainer/Owner)- Glenda Jane- rescued 11/03/2008 New Holland
Fernando Silva (Trainer/Owner)- Go Geta Job- rescued 11/03/2008 New Holland
Jeff Taylor (Trainer/Owner)- Twilight Overture- sold to slaughter at Sugarcreek- saved because the killer buyer was kind enough to turn the truck around and bring him back to the auction to be saved- 12/05/08
William Thoburn (Trainer/Owner)- Hopi's Lolo - rescued 11/03/2008 New Holland
Jack York (Trainer) and Robin Harvey (owner)- Bam Attack rescued 4/11/08
Monday, November 17, 2008
(the information below is directly copied and pasted from the ITOBA.com website)
Perhaps not the most attention getting way to announce this, but nevertheless, BRAVO Hoosier Park for being a class act!
Please note the following Hoosier Park policy: Any trainer or owner stabling at Hoosier Park who directly or indirectly participates in the transport of a horse from Hoosier Park to a slaughter facility or to an auction to sell horses for slaughter will be prohibited from having stalls at the track.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
BANNED TRAINER: ‘SUFFOLK DONE ME DIRTY’By Ray Paulick
The tale of five horses from the Suffolk Downs backstretch that recently ended up in the kill pen of the infamous New Holland, Pa., livestock auction demonstrates the challenges the East Boston, Mass., racetrack has in enforcing its “zero-tolerance” horse welfare policy that will ban trainers or owners who sell their horses for slaughter.
The five Thoroughbreds discovered at New Holland were saved from an ignominious death in a Canadian slaughterhouse, one that typically follows a cramped and uncomfortable van ride with other livestock. Instead, these five horses are being placed in retirement or retraining facilities. Because of the incident, however, five people, including trainer Pam Pompell and owner Albert Michelson, have been told they are no longer welcome at Suffolk Downs.
The story begins Oct. 26, when the New England division of CANTER (Communications Alliance to Network Ex-Racehorses) held its third annual Suffolk Showcase to bring potential horses and adopters together. The Suffolk meeting, which ends tomorrow, has a number of horses whose future in racing has been compromised by physical infirmities or lack of competitiveness. They are among the population becoming known as "unwanted horses."
Trainer Pompell was one of those who attended the CANTER showcase. Two days later, it is alleged, she approached trainers Gerry LeFleur and Tony D’Angelo and said she had good homes for horses each of them brought to the Suffolk showcase, either at a Boy Scout camp or another charitable program for special-needs children. LaFleur gave Tercia de Reinas to Pompell, and D’Angelo gave Storm Up Front to the trainer. Owner Michelson, who raced a few horses at Suffolk with Pompell during the meeting, filled out some paperwork and vanned them off the track property. No money is said to have changed hands.
Five days later, on Nov. 1, Michelson is alleged to have vanned three more horses out of Suffolk (Tiny Target, Jimmy the Gov and Arrested Gatorgirl) that had been trained by Wayne Sargent. Pompell allegedly told Sargent the horses were going to CANTER. Again, the horses were said to have been donated at no cost.
On Sunday, Nov. 2, a CANTER volunteer was tipped off that some Thoroughbreds were en route to the notorious auction at New Holland where “killer buyers” have been operating for years. CANTER notified Sam Elliott, vice president of racing for Suffolk Downs, and he made arrangements the following day with the auction company to buy the five racehorses for $2,700, with financial assistance from the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The horses were subsequently placed with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
How the horses went from supposedly being donated to a Boy Scout ranch or to the CANTER program and ending up in the kill pen destined for slaughter is where the story gets a bit fuzzy. Pompell and Michelson told the Paulick Report they donated the horses at no cost to a horse trader named Dave Costa, who owns Chipaway Stables in Acushnet, Mass. Costa, however, said he paid Michelson for the horses and intended to send them to his farm in Florida, where he hoped to sell them as polo horses in the toney Wellington area of Palm Beach County.
Costa said he sent the horses to New Holland to “overnight” before someone he hired would drive them to Florida. Costa changed his mind when he got a call from the van driver who said someone was willing to pay $1,500 for the five horses. The new owner then sold them by the pound to the auction company and put them in the kill pen, the area designated for horses not being auctioned off but sent directly to the Canadian slaughterhouse.
That’s where they were when Elliott of Suffolk Downs rescued them. When track management put the story together, Pompell and Michelson were notified that Suffolk Downs was exercising its right to exclude them from the property. LeFleur, D’Angelo and Sargent have also been excluded.
“Suffolk Downs did me dirty,” Pompell said when contacted by the Paulick Report. “CANTER put me on to three horses that were owned by Wayne Sargent. They said to take them and give them to Costa and make them into polo ponies. The horses looked like they hadn’t been fed, hadn’t been cleaned. Those stalls had at least a half a inch of shit on the ground. When we took the horses from Sargent he was happy. Then Suffolk accused me of sending horses to the killers that I had no knowledge of. Costa is a legitimate horse dealer and trainer. These horses did not go to no killers. We gave the horses to Costa. I will not kill a horse for anybody for any money.
“I was doing a favor to Sargent,” she said. “He pretty near begged us to take the horses.”
Michelson insists he received no money from Costa when he turned the five horses over to him. “I never sold them nothing,” he told the Paulick Report. “I’m 80 years old. I’ve raced horses, my father and grandfather raced horses. We are not in the killer business. My father was on the board of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) for 25 years. We’ve never had a citation for abusing animals.”
Costa said he did pay Michelson for the horses, but wouldn’t disclose the amount. “He got a little money, but he didn’t get much,” Costa said.” I bought them as polo prospects, and dropped them off at the (New Holland) sale barn, where they were supposed to be picked up and driven to Florida. But the kid who was going to haul them off sold them.”
Costa claimed that he had never heard the term “kill pen” before. “All this is a bunch of b.s.,” he said. “What’s a kill pen? I’ve seen pigs in that pen, cattle, saddle horses. It was the only pen available, and the guys receiving cattle said to put them in that pen. The horses may have even been marked to keep them out of the sale.”
No matter how the horses wound up in the kill pen, hours away from the final ride of their lives, one thing seems certain: Suffolk Downs is serious about enforcing the anti-slaughter rules adopted under the leadership of Richard Fields, who bought controlling interest in the track last year. The policy was a bold move that a handful of other tracks, including those owned by Magna Entertainment, are adopting.
Pompell and Michelson have been banned from the property, effective immediately, as were the three other trainers, even though they may have believed the horses were going to be used for legitimate purposes.
"Regrettably, for the second time this year we have had a violation of our anti-slaughter policy and we intend to exercise our rights to restrict the access to our property by individuals involved,” said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer for Suffolk Downs. “These horses were sold with deliberate disregard for their ultimate disposition. They didn’t end up at the auction months after they left here but hours later. There are lots of different stories, but the individuals involved should have known better.
“Both Suffolk Downs and the state of Massachusetts expect that the people who stable here will adhere to standards of decency and will uphold their obligation to the animals in their care,” Tuttle said. “The vast majority of the Suffolk Downs horsemen work with us and with accredited retirement programs to ensure safe and healthy second careers for their athletes."
Michelson didn’t seem bothered by the ban, saying, “I wouldn’t race there again if they paid me to come.”
Copyright © 2008, The Paulick Report
For the original report, please go to: http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/banned-trainer-suffolk-done-me-dirty/
Late Saturday evening, I received a phone call from Gail Vacca who told me she had been contacted by Suffolk Downs. The track officials had received a very reliable tip that five horses had been removed from the track by an owner and trainer who said they were retiring the horses to a boys camp. Several quick calls revealed there was no such camp, and that the horses were headed to the New Holland Auction. Gail asked if I would go to New Holland and see if I could find the horses. Gail assured me that I would have desciptions, tattoo numbers, and the resources to purchase the animals. I told her I would go.
Knowing that I would need help identifying the horses, I contacted my friend Diana McClure and asked if she was available. Unfortunately, Diana could not leave her Thoroughbred training facility on such short notice, but she suggested a friend of hers, Amanda , (who is also a Thoroughbred trainer) could go with me. I left my farm at 3:30 in the morning and drove to Berryville to pick up Amanda. We arrived at New Holland at 9:30 A.M.
The parking lot was full of trailers and quite a few horses were already tied up waiting for the horse sale. I explained the auction procedure as best I could to Amanda, and showed her the layout of the pens. Amanda was not at all happy about the fact that Thoroughbreds from off the track would be in this place. I let her vent before we started our search.
As we passed through the rows of horses that were tied up, I took Amanda to the back of the auction where there are pens of cows, and today, an unusual amount of pens with ponies and minis. There were also several pens of horses, all of whom appeared to be grade or drafts. Amanda and I noticed that these horses did not have auction tags, and I told her these were horses probably earmarked for slaughter and would have to be bought privately from the kill buyers.
We then came upon a small pen, 17-A, that had four horses in it. As usual, we both could tell they were Thoroughbreds. As I have stated before, even in their tired , exhausted and stressed out condition, the Thoroughbreds can still be recognized by that "look in their eye". Horses that have spent a lifetime being cared for according to a schedule are suddenly treated like yesterdays garbage. Many of these Thoroughbreds have not been in a herd situation for years, and the cuts, scrapes and injuries they are subjected to by being placed in small pens with other horses is inevitable, and totally avoidable if the auction owners and kill buyers cared. It is hard to imagine how many hours they are forced to stand and travel without the option of lying down, and for those that have entered the slaughter pipeline because of lameness issues, the auction experience becomes even more abusive.
There were two bay mares, one bay gelding (with poultice on both front legs)and one gray gelding. I immediately noted that they had white auction stickers instead of the yellow New Holland auction stickers. The three bays had #'s 413, 414, and 417. The gray had a white #189. I told Amanda I suspected they were horses that had been sold the previous Friday at Sugarcreek. The gray gelding was in very poor shape. The one side of his body was peppered with bite marks. He was very thin, he had a large laceration on his hind leg, several bleeding cuts on both front legs, and was not willing to move from the spot he was standing in. To make matters worse, the bay gelding would lunge at him and bite him without provocation. Amanda was upset and asked why there were so many horses in such a small pen. I explained to her they were in a kill pen and nobody cares what happens to them.
The other mare was later identified as Bachoquita, the bay gelding was another Mountaineer based horse named Flanked in Gold, and the gray gelding was Go Geta Job. We wrote down the details of their different cuts and injuries and went to continue our search for the Suffolk horses.
We walked across a cement courtyard in back of the sales auction to some pens that are in back of the unloading chute. We immediately saw five Thoroughbreds standing together in a pen, next to larger pens that held dairy cows destined for slaughter. Under normal circumstances the Thoroughbreds would have been freaked out being so close to such a large number of "mooing" cows; but these five were literally "dead on their feet" from exhaustion and stress. As soon as Amanda flipped the first lip, we knew we had found the Suffolk horses. Diana had typed out the complete descriptions of all five horses with their tattoo numbers, and we identified the five. Jimmy the Gov was in bad shape. His knee was blown up, and he was extremely body sore. Four of the five had pieces of their hide burned from what must have been a very cramped trailer ride to the auction. Storm Up Front had an ugly hide burn above his tail, which also appeared to be from rubbing against the side or back of a trailer. Tiny Target, the gray, also appeared lame, but was not as bad as Jimmy. Tercia De Reinas and Arrested Gatorgirl had bonded as mares usually will. They stood side by side, heads close to each other, united as one against the noise and commotion that surrounded them.
We contacted Gail and told her we had positive ID's. I explained to Gail the horses had no auction tags, and I suspected I was going to have to deal with the kill buyer to save them. I walked over to the sales ring where they were finishing up selling tack. I asked one of the Amish men,(Chris) who appeared to be in charge of the ring, why the five horses in the pen behind the loading chute did not have auction tags. He told me they were in the "drop off pens". I asked if they would be going through the auction, he said no. I asked what was a drop off pen. He told me that is where the dealers put loads of horses until they transport them to the next destination. Chris told me that New Holland charges a day rate to rent the pens, but has no interest in who the horses are, where they have come from, who owns them , or anything else for that matter. He also said that the dealers that own and bring these horses to the "drop " pens don't really want the auction to know much about these horses.
I told him I was interested in buying a pen with five Thoroughbreds. He said, "how much do you want to give for them?".
I replied, " I thought you just said that you do not know anything about the drop pen horses.".
He said, " I know who some of them are, you're talking about the pen with the lame gray horse right?"
I said "yes".
Chris said, " those are Josh McKay's horses, what's your offer?"
My first inclination was to tell Chris I wanted to negotiate with Mc Kay myself, but I could tell he was getting impatient and wanted to get back to the tack sale.
I told him based on the condition of the horses, I could offer $350.00 per horse. His response was immediate. " No way, its $550.00 per head." I countered at $450.00, he said $550.00 again. I told him I needed to make a phone call, and he said make the call and let him know.
I called Gail, who said she would call Suffolk and get right back to me. Amanda expressed disbelief that we were being railroaded, but I told her that is the mindset of the kill buyers. They hate the rescue people, they consider our love and passion for the horses a weakness, and they feel that extortion is what we deserve.
Gail called back and said to buy the horses. I went back over to Chris and told him I would give him the $550.00 per horse. Chris gestured to another Amish man to put some stickers on the horses, and to take me upstairs to pay for the horses. Amanda and I followed him to the pen, and watched him attach yellow stickers on the horses, and then another man,(not Amish) came into the pen and attached green stickers to them. I asked him why he was attaching another set of stickers and he said he did not know. I told him I had trouble believing he had no idea what the stickers meant, but he insisted he did not know why he was putting the stickers on them, he was just doing what he had been told. Before he left the pen, he did mumble something about the USDA.
Amanda and I went upstairs and paid for the horses. We paid $2,750.00 for the horses, $165.00 sales tax, and a $58.30 service charge I have no idea what for.
By the time we got back downstairs, the horse auction had started. I couldn't help but notice Ron Harker, the man who we had rescued Falcon Fury from at a previous New Holland Auction. Harker had the microphone and was describing one of the horses he was selling in the ring. I stood and watched several horses sell and it became evident that prices were down, further proving that Mc Kay had "stuck it to us".
Gail called and said that the shipper was on the way, we could expect him in about 90 minutes.
Amanda and I saw another pen that had Thoroughbreds with auction tags. This pen appeared to have several broodmares, a two year old, and some horses off the track. They were mixed in with Standardbreds and grade horses. We got some tattoos, and Amanda was drawn towards a bay filly who was clean legged.
Once again, Amanda was floored that anyone could send a horse to this auction, especially a horse that could easily be placed as a sport horse. Amanda wrote down her tattoo and hip number.
We decided to go back to the Suffolk pen and get pictures. While approaching the pen I noticed a group of people looking at the horses. They were reaching through the bars and petting the mares, and one of the men was telling the others, "these are racehorses.". One member of his group asked, "how can you tell?".
The man replied" cause they have racing shoes on.". A woman in the group said she thought it was terrible that anyone would bring a horse here, and they all nodded in agreement. As Amanda and I entered the pen, one of the men asked if we were a rescue and were we going to help these horses. I told him we were not a rescue, and explained to him about the zero slaughter policy at Suffolk Downs and that the vice -president of the track had arranged for the horses to be saved from slaughter. The group errupted in smiles and said that was a good thing, and they were so happy for the horses. Several other people had overheard the conversation and were eager to tell us they had seen Thoroughbreds in other pens, especially the pen with the "gray horse that is all beat up and bleeding".
By now, Amanda and I were both fighting to keep our emotions in check. We were relieved to have found the Suffolk horses, but despondent about the others. I told Amanda I had some money that had been given to me from my last visit to Sugarcreek , but I had no way to transport any more horses and nowhere to take them. About this time Gail called with the names of the four thoroughbreds we had first seen. Since Go Geta Job was a Thistledown horse, (a Magna track that has a no slaughter policy) We decide to buy that pen also. Gail assured me that the Fans of Barbaro, people who log onto the Alex Brown forum, would raise the money for boarding at a quarantine facility.
Once again I went back to Chris. This time I told him I wanted to buy the horse in pen 17-A. He immediately said "$550.00?". I said " I don't think so. I've been watching horses go through this ring that are rideable and sound going for less than $500.00, you already screwed me on the last five, and this bunch is worse off than the first five, I'll give you $350.00 a head. ". Chris shook his head no, but said 'I'll go ask Josh, but I doubt he will take that offer." I told him I would appreciate it if he would ask him anyway.
Amanda and I watched Chris walk across the ring and talk to Josh Mc Kay. A few minutes later Chris came back and said "$450.00, no less.".
I told him "okay". This time , Chris did not send me with an Amish man, he told me to go see Josh. I walked to the end of the ring and Josh McKay came over. He said " you want that pen of Thoroughbreds?" I said I did. Josh said "$450.00 a head" to which I replied " are you sure you can't cut me a break? You already got me for $550.00 for the other group, one of which has a knee as big as a cantalope, and the gray in this pen is one of the worse looking horses at this auction.".
Josh immediately became agitated, " look lady, you either want these horses or you don't. I don't care what shape their in, $450.00 or forget it.".
I pressed on, " I do want the horses, but I still have to pay a shipper. Can't you let me have them for $400.00?
Josh said "No". I said "can't you even take off $25.00 a head? Even a car dealer lets the customer think they are getting some kind of a break."
Josh just shook his head, "$450.00 or no deal. You're the one who wants these horses, I don't care if you buy them or not, there worth money to me either way."
I told him that I had been at Sugarcreek the week before this group had sold and that Thoroughbreds were going for under $300.00".
Josh replied, "so what. this isn't Sugarcreek, prices are better here. I don't have time for this, either you want them or not, I got things to do."
I agreed to give him the $450.00 and he said to meet him upstairs in the office, he was going to put stickers on the horses. Instead of going upstairs, I decide to follow him to the pen. Josh walked over to a man and told him I was buying his pen, he told me to show this man my buyers number, and he grabbed a roll of yellow auction stickers #'s 122-125. As we were walking to the pen, I asked him once again if the horses had come from Sugarcreek and he said yes. I asked him where were their coggins and he asked me "what do you mean?" I explained to him that if they already had coggins from Sugarcreek, I could save money by not having to take them again. I also told him that once before I had shipped horses from Sugarcreek to West Virginia and I had gotten in trouble with the WV Department of Ag for not having a health certificate or coggins. Josh told me " that's a bunch of bull, those cogins papers are a joke, just a way for someone to make money, I ship horses all over, some states have rules, some don't. No one keeps track of that stuff, you don't need any coggins; just take them on out of here."
I asked Josh who had brought the horses to New Holland and he said he did not know. I told him I had never been to an auction where more money and horses changed hands and no one knows who anyone else is. Josh just shrugged.
When we got to the pen, he put the yellow stickers on, but no one ever put the green stickers on like they had for the Suffolk horses. Josh and I walked up to the office and I paid for the horses.
While I was dealing with Josh, Amanda had been watching the auction. The Thoroughbred mare that had been in with the broodmares, Hip #917, had been purchased by a kill buyer named Brian Moore for $275.00. She had been brought to the auction by Mike Simonelli.
About this time the shipper for the Suffolk horses arrived and I went to help him load the horses. While I was doing that, Amanda was on a new mission. She had decided she was going to rescue Hip # 917. Either Brian Moore has an ounce of decency, or Amanda has a talent for negotiation. She was able to buy the filly for the same price Brian had paid. All I know is the next time I saw Amanda, she was standing with her mare, clinging to her by the halter since she had no shank, with a look of sheer joy. We later identified the mare as Glenda Jane.
Gail called back and told me the fantastic news that the FOB's had not only raised the two months board and quarantine money, but a young woman named Stacy who has fostered horses for Christy Schiedy and the Exceller Fund was coming to pick up the remaining Thoroughbreds to take them to her Pennsylvania farm. Gail said Stacy would be at New Holland in about two hours.
By now the auction was winding down and Amanda and I decided to seperate our Thoroughbreds into seperate pens so they would have more room. While we were standing with the horses, we watched as the kill buyers filled their pens with the horses they had bought. This was the first time I stayed at an auction after it was over. As I stood there and watched these horses for the last time before they were slaughtered, I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Any satisifaction I had felt for saving the ten Thoroughbreds was diminished by the scene unfolding before me. Horse after horse after horse was loaded onto stock trailers. Josh McKay was going over his inventory and hollered over to us that he had a few more thoroughbreds if we wanted to buy them. I actually went to see them even though I knew I had no more money. One of the horses was a big beautiful hunt horse. His tattoo was not legible, but his teeth put him at about twenty years old. I thought about the years of service he had provided for someone, the glorious days of galloping across green fields with a herd of horses and a pack of hounds. The joy he must have brought to someone . But for some reason, some irresponsible owner did not have the compassion to give this horse the dignified death he deserved. Instead they had sentenced him to the abuse and indifference of a kill buyer who would make sure that the last days of this horses life would be the worse he had ever known. And it was me, not the thoughtless owner, that was experiencing the guilt.
I walked back over to Amanda and we stood silently together and watched as the Amish began to move the cattle into pens closer to the loading docks. It was hard to imagine that our day could get any worse, but it did. We saw dairy cows, their udders so full they almost dragged the ground. The cows could barely walk because their hind legs were impeded by the size of their udders, yet the Amish beat them continuosly in an effort to make them move faster. Down the aisles they tried to trot, bellowing the whole time, spooking the horses tied to the rails of the aisleway. One large mule broke free from his halter and trotted into the empty sales arena. Amanda and I were the only ones who saw him break away, and we both said out loud, "run for your life". I followed the mule inside and saw that he had found a bale of hay. I closed the door just enough so that he could eat in peace.
About this time a young Amish boy got into a bobcat and began cleaning the manure from the sales pens. He was very adept at handling the bobcat, but he raced the machine up and down the aisles, coming within inches of spooking horses who jerked and strained against their ropes in an effort to get away from him. It was a ludicrous display of insensitivity.
I began to wonder about some of the horses left behind. Was anyone coming for them? Would they stay tied all night without water or hay? I was especially concerned about two small burros. They were tied side by side, but no one seemed to be claiming them. There was no one around I could ask. I went to find them some hay and took it to them, which they readily began eating. Amanda did not say a word. At this point, the futility of my actions was beginning to hit home.
I would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and money to this rescue. It was very well organized. The pipeline to slaughter needs constant exposure until that time when the different state agriculture departments step up to the plate and enforce the regulations that are being violated every week at livestock auctions across the country. Racetracks like Suffolk Downs who have enacted a zero slaughter tolerance policy and who are stepping up to retrieve their horses that are found in kill pens, should be commended and supported by each and every one of us.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Here is an email from a source who actively works to save horses from slaughter. Below is the article from the TB Times. Please call Mountaineer Racetrack Management and ask them to re-word their policy to include all slaughter auctions.
Their toll-free number is 800-489-8192- ask for the Director of Racing, Rose Mary Williams.
Mon, Nov. 3, 2008
"This is pure bullsh$t..smoke and mirrors. They are only banning people from sending horses to Sugarcreek. It doesn't stop them from sending them directly to the meatman's farm who then sends them to New Holland or elsewhere. Just today a Mountaineer filly was in the kill pen at NH. I called MNR to tell them about her and to see if they would help us pull her. As expected I was given the run-around usual boatload of rhetoric. the gloves are off on MNR...we must not allow them to dupe people into believing they actually give care about their horses being sent to slaughter."
Mountaineer enacts anti-slaughter policy
by Tim Nichols
Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, West Virginia, enacted a new policy
on October 31 concerning the sale of horses at the Sugarcreek Livestock
Auction in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
The auction is known as a popular place where horses are sold to people
who in turn sell the equines to slaughterhouses in Canada and other
foreign nations. Horse meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign
Horsemen found to have sent equines to Sugarcreek will lose their stalls
and may be subject to management exclusion.
"What we found out was that some of the horses ended up at the
Sugarcreek auction," Mountaineer Director of Racing Rose Mary Williams
said. "What we decided to do was take measures to prevent that from
Williams said that she informed the West Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent
and Protective Association of the policy on October 31.
With this step, Mountaineer joined other tracks trying to end the
practice of selling horses to killer buyers-those who purchase horses
for the sole purpose of sending them to a slaughterhouse.
Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Massachusetts, in June became the first
track to ban trainers who sell horses with the intent of having that
animal slaughtered for profit.
In August, Magna Entertainment Corp. enacted a similar policy at all of
its Thoroughbred and harness racing tracks.
While Williams said she was aware of Suffolk and Magna's policies, they
did not influence her decision.
"We're trying to start locally," Williams said. "We're right in the
process of starting that."
Sugarcreek recently was the subject of an investigative piece on the
program "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO in May. The piece showed
how horses, some of whom raced at Mountaineer, were sold at Sugarcreek
and then subsequently shipped to foreign slaughterhouses.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In the past few weeks there have been several stories about the continued abuses and lack of regulatory enforcement at the Sugarcreek auction in Ohio. First we had the story of the two weanlings that were rescued by Rachael and Amy. The filly had been brought to the auction with a broken hip and a broken ankle. After her rescue, while being examined at a local veterinary clinic, she was also discovered to have a severely torn vulva. The filly was humanely euthanised at the clinic due to the severity of her injuries. Leroy Baker , the owner of Sugarcreek, refused to disclose the name of the individual who had brought the filly to the auction in this condition. You can read the entire heartbreaking story and view photo's of the little filly "Rememberence" here http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=29138.1
One week later, Vicki was on a day trip to the town of Sugarcreek and decided to stop at the auction on Monday. She quickly learned that a cattle auction was underway, but she happened to wander into the pen area since she had spotted a few horses left over from the Friday auction. Unfortunately, she happened upon a dead pile which contained two dead horses and two dead cows. Incredibly , one of the "dead" horses began flailing his legs and weakly trying to whinny. Despite repeated efforts to obtain help for this unfortunate animal, she was unable to contact any humane officials, and the auction management showed no particular concern about the situation. Vicki did take pictures however, and hopefully charges can still be filed. You can read Vicki's firsthand account and view photo's of what she saw at Sugarcreek here
In recent weeks several racetracks have adopted a" zero tolerance" policy relating to racehorses being sent to slaughter via auctions and direct to kill venues. All tracks under the Magna partnership are now operating under a no slaughter policy. Since Thistledowns is a Magna track, and Sugarcreek has often been the destination for many Thistledowns horses, I decided to go to Sugarcreek on Oct 17. I also had information that a particular horse from Mountaineer might be at the auction, and for reasons I am not able to elaborate on in this report , I chose this date. A good freind of mine, Linda, took it upon herself to raise the money so that I might rescue this horse if he was at the auction. Linda raised funds for his purchase, transport, and board. She did this in within 24 hours of my departure.
I arrived at Sugarcreek at 8:30 AM Friday. As usual, at this early hour , the pens are easy to navigate. I went into each pen that had horses and began "flipping lips". The first few horses I looked at were standardbreds, and the only thoroughbred I found had a very hard to read tatoo. I walked to the last pen in the back of the auction which had twenty or more horses left over from the previous weeks auction. These were all Leroy Bakers ( owner of Sugarcreek) horses designated for slaughter. Several of the horses in this pen had profuse nasal discharges and one horse had an obvious case of strangles. I quickly spotted a chestnut, Hip # 404 and recorded his tatoo. His name was No Problem For Dino. He was last owned and trained by Ronald Puhl. The pen across the aisle from these horses was full of snotty nosed cattle. Unlike my other trips to Sugarcreek, these cattle were quite friendly. It was very easy for me to reach through the board fence and pet their heads. The floor of the pen was covered in manure, there was hay and water, but as usual, the pens are so overcrowded many of the animals never get near the hay or water.
I walked outside and saw a corral made up of portable gates. This pen was also full of last weeks horses. There was a round hay feeder in the middle of this very muddy pen. The water trough was bone dry, and so I filled it with a hose that was lying on the ground. I wondered to myself how many Sugarcreek employees walked past that trough and the hose without ever bothering to give those horses water. As soon as I turned the hose on, the horses began pushing and biting each other to get a drink. The weaker and less dominant horses stayed far back, patiently waiting their turn. I couldn't help but notice all the racing plates that were lying in the mud in this corral. I also noticed many more horses with heavy nasal discharge. As I walked to the back of the corral I saw a gray horse with a completely swollen right front leg. He could not walk on it, and his body was covered with bite marks.
I walked back into the building and came upon the auction veterinarian, Melissa Reddick, drawing coggins using the "gate method". This is a process by which a group of horses without halters are put into a long aisleway with a swinging gate at each end. The horses are herded down the aisle by the Amish with long whips and then they are singled out individually by being pinned between the gate and the sides of the aisleway. Reddick then climbs up the rungs of the gate, reaches over and sticks the horse with a needle to draw blood. If the horse thrashes, which most of them do, the Amish smack and holler at them, and apply more pressure on the gate which freaks the horse out more, which results in more yelling and more beating. Eventually the horse freezes in fear and the vet gets her blood. It makes absolutely no sense why the auction does not require horses to arrive with halters on so that coggins may be drawn in a safer and less stressful manner. Most of the abuse that occurs at Sugarcreek is because the horses do not have halters and the Amish beat them to move them instead of leading them. Horses slipping and falling on the concrete floors as they are being herded from pen to pen is common.
While I was watching Melissa Reddick draw the coggins on Hip # 941, I heard her tell her assistant that the horse was not fit for travel because of a heavy discharge from its nostrils. I tried to find out after the sale if the horse had been shipped, but Leroy Baker does not have to give out any information if he does not want to. I also wondered why Reddick had decided that particular horse was not fit for travel when there were at least fifty other horses at the auction with discharge worse than # 941.
I went to the area where the horses are offloaded from the trailers. As usual, any stud ponies or small intact horses are put in very narrow standing stalls that resemble stockades. These stalls are so tight and confining the horses can only shift their weight one step forward or backwards. I saw horses put in these stalls as early as 9 AM and stand in them until they sold at 2 PM. They had no hay, no water. When they urinate , they pee on their legs. Sometime during the morning, a very tiny mini was placed in one of these standing stalls. This poor animal was as sick as any horse I have ever seen. Its mane was impossibly tangled with burrs, it was skinny, and its entire face was crooked and deformed because of what appeared to be a sinus infection. Profuse snot was dripping from its nose. I went to a pen where there was hay and brought a handful back to the pony. I unlatched the heavy iron bolt that kept the door closed and placed the hay on the urine soaked floor in front of the pony. She weakly put her head down to eat but it appeared she could not chew and swallow.
As more horses were arriving at the auction, the sounds of horses being kicked in overcrowded pens becomes more frequent. I walked over to one particularly noisy pen and saw a gelding who had obviously been proud cut trying to mount mares and kicking the daylights out of the other geldings. He was so aggressive the entire pen was in constant motion. I then noticed a bay horse with a swollen left leg and a large laceration across her knee. The yellow pus running down her leg was apparent from twenty feet away. She was frozen in fear because of the commotion all around her, and the aggressive gelding was working his way towards her. I entered the pen and attempted to catch the gelding. It wasn't easy, but a man standing outside the pen watching me reached over the fence in an effort to keep the gelding in one corner of the pen. Fortunately I caught him with a halter I had brought with me, and I led him out of the pen and put him into a box stall by himself. I gave him some hay and went back to find the injured horse which we later identified as a standardbred. I put the halter on the mare and slowly led her to the gate. A young woman saw me and offered to help by keeping the other horses away from me so I could get the mare out of the pen. About this time an Amish employee came over to watch me. The young woman saw him and said loud enough from him to hear " We're moving this horse because we don't want her to get kicked.". He looked at her leg and said, "She didn't get knicked here, she come in that way". He then turned and walked away. I thanked the woman and put the mare in another empty box stall and gave her hay.
About this time Kathy and Diana met up with me and we went to every pen looking for thoroughbreds. I showed them the three injured horses. Kathy said that the thoroughbreds from Mountaineer would not arrive until the sale was ready to start, and the throughbreds we did identify had been left over from the previous Friday. We were able to get good readings on two or three, and had difficulty with two or three others. The same gelding I had identified earlier, No Problem For Dino, made it very obvious we were not leaving without him. Kathy said that even though he would not sell through the ring, she felt sure she could buy him privately after the sale.
Kathy and Diana went to wait for the Mounatineer horses and I made another call to animal control. The answering service told me they had no way to page the humane offficer, Dawn Smitely. Worried that she would never get the message, I called a county commisioner , Mr.Abbuhl. I had been advised by an Ohio Department of Agriculture official, Dr. Darmen, that all abuse at auctions must go through the local humane officer, and so I decided to follow the chain of command to get through to Ms. Smitely. Mr. Abbuhl told me that Dawn would be at the auction within the hour.
I went back to the unloading area just as the auction began selling the horses. Not long after, the Mountaineer horses arrived. Ther were five of them, all without halters, all wearing racing plates. Their shoes made sparks on the concrete floors as they scrambled to keep their balance as they were herded into a pen closest to the auction ring. They were a very attractive group. Four of the five were easy to catch and read their tatoos. The large bay, with an obvious bowed tendon, Hip# 406, was the hardest to catch. He was beside himself with worry. No matter how many rescues I go on, I am always torn apart by the look of confusion in the eyes of the thoroughbreds. They are desperate for someone to lead them to a place of safety. While we were still reading tattoos, and Amish man opened the gate to their pen and herded them into the aisleway so they could have their blood drawn. Like so many other horses before them, they were pinned in the gate while Reddick drew blood. Every one of these thoroughbreds off the track have a valid cogggins in the racing office, I have no idea why the kill buyers who pick them up at the track don't bring the coggins with them. I suspect it is because the name of the last owner and trainer is on them. Not to mention, it would be harder for the track management to ignore the slaughter pipeline.
About this time I noticed a Sugarcreek police car pull into the parking lot. I decided to go check on the standardbred with the hurt knee and was shocked to see her being herded down an aisleway on her way to the auction ring. She went through the ring in less than 20 seconds, was purchased by Leroy Baker, and put in the kill pen with twenty or more other horses. I went to her pen and as I was going in to check on her, I was stopped by Dr. Reddick, a policeman and Dawn Smitely. Dawn asked me if my name was Anne, and I told her "yes". She asked me what was the problem. I told them that there were three horses at the auction who were obviously brought to the auction by their owners suffering from either abuse or neglect. I offered to go into the pen and show them Hip#807. I led her over and Dr. reddick immediately stated the leg was not broken. I asked her how she could make that call when the knee was swollen three times its normal size with a deep laceration and yellow pus dripping down her leg. Reddick said it can't be broken because she is standing on it. I then pointed out that if someone had given her enough Banamine and bute she would be able to stand, but only an x-ray could determine if it was broken. The policeman asked Redick if that was true and Reddick acknowledged she couldn't say for sure without an x-ray. I told the policeman that since the horse was standing in a kill pen, I wanted to make sure she would not be loaded on a trailer and forced to ship thousands of miles. Reddick said she would not okay her for transport. Reddick went on a rant about how it was not her job to check every horse , but rather she was only responsible for taking coggins. She said that going in the pens was too dangerous, and she had recently been badly injured and was not going to risk her life checking for abused horses.
I then told them there was another horse outside. We walked over to the broken legged gray horse. This time , everyone took a step back. Dr. Reddick told the policeman she had never seen this horse before, it had been here for over a week, and she would never issue a health certificate for him to be transported. The policeman asked if his leg was broken and she said she did not know. About this time one of Bakers thugs came from out of nowhere. He demanded to know what we were doing and said the horse was private property and Baker could do whatever he wanted with him. Reddick explained the horse could not travel. The thug said that it was not Bakers fault the horse was in this condition, that the horse had been brought to the auction looking like this. I asked if that meant the horse had been standing in the pen with a broken leg for over a week and the thug said it was none of my business. Dawn, ( humane officer) said that Baker could not be held responsible since he had bought the horse at auction, not brought the horse to auction. I suggested we could find out who had brought the horse here if we asked Baker to check his sales records and the thug said that was not going to happen. Dawn indicated to me that if I filed a complaint Baker would have to reveal the name and I said , "fine, I'll file a complaint.". I then told Dawn there was still another horse we needed to look at.
We then all walked back inside to the standing stalls. I removed the steel bar to the door and showed them the mini, cowering in the back of her filthy stall, with her deformed face. Dr. Reddick immediately diagnosed her as having a severe sinus infection. I found it amazing that she could immediately recognize a severe sinus infection within thirty seconds but could not acknowledge a horse may have a broken leg when it was swollen three times its normal size. At any rate, it was once again agreed that the horse was brought to the auction in this condition, and that the owner was guilty of abuse or neglect. At this point, the police officer was showing obvious signs of resentment. He did not want to be here, and he just wanted to know whether or not a complaint was going to be made. Once again, I told him I was wiling to make that complaint. Dr. Reddick then began to state her case. She said , again, that her job was not to tell owners they could not bring their abused horses to the auction. ( Dawn Smitely later confided to me the exact opposite, Dawn said that if Reddick would call her when these types of horses showed up at the auction, Dawn could prosecute). Reddick also went on to say that if the abused and neglected horses were not admitted to the auction, they would only be abused further at the owners home. I couldn't decide if Reddick did not know the law or felt she had the right to interpret the law to suit her own agenda. I told Dr. Reddick that is precisely why we have animal abuse laws, so that the offenders are prosecuted. Dr. Reddick said I was living a fantasy and that she would not/could not uphold the law. Dr. Reddick then proclaimed that the single biggest illegal activity taking place at the Sugarcreek Auction was the fact that every Friday , after the sale, dealers were leaving the auction with trailer loads of horses and crossing state lines without health certificates or coggins papers. She said that DOT was not doing their job. This opinion was verified by Dawn Smitely. Amazingly enough, even though the police officer heard both of these authorities tell him about the illegal activity that would be occurring that very afternoon, he made no effort to call DOT.
I also spoke to Reddick about the weanling filly from the auction two weks before. Reddick acknowledged that the filly had a brokem hip and ankle, but when I told her about the torn vulva, she said " that filly did not have a torn vulva when she came in, she got that after she got here.".
I told the officer and Dawn that I wanted to file a complaint against the owners of the three horses we had looked at, who had brought these injured animals to the auction. The officer commented he should be home by now, but agreed to go with Dawn to speak with Baker.
The sale was winding down but I noticed a young man leading an exceptionally attractive bay mare in from the parking lot. She had a leather halter with her name plate, Foxey Nokea. I asked the man why he was bringing the mare to this auction. He told me that the horse belonged to his partner's girlfriend who was going to vet school and could no longer afford to keep her. I asked if he knew this was a slaughter auction. He acted uncomfortable, but said "she won't go for slaughter, I am going to walk her in the ring myself". I asked him why he thought that would make a diference but he said that it would. I asked him what he wanted for her, and he said he did not know, but whatever she brought, the partner would take. I told him that I could find a buyer for her, but would need a few days. He said they could not wait. I then offered to pay her board if he took her back home until I found a buyer. He said he would ask his partner. I told him I would be around after the sale to give him some money, but to please not let her go to the kill buyers. He told me that would not happen.
By now, Dawn and the policeman returned from talking to Baker. Dawn said that Baker was going to shoot the gray horse. Dawn said that Baker was going to put a bandage on the standardbreds leg, and if it was not better by the morning, he would shoot her also. (I offered to pay for x-rays but Baker refused.)
The mini had been purchased by a couple for $30.00, and they were going to take her home and try and save her. Dawn asked me if I was satisfied. I told Dawn that I not only was not satisfied, I wanted to know what follow up she intended to do. Dawn said if there was no complaint, as far as she was concerned, the investigation was over. I told Dawn I wanted to file a complaint, and I wanted her to do a follow -up on all three horses. Dawn was not happy with my resquest, and the policeman was real unhappy with my request. Dawn said that this was why she hated coming to the auction. She said she was underpaid, ( $400.00 per month) and she was tired of being yelled at by Baker. She also mentioned a five year old son but I have no idea what he had to do with the situation . The police officer said he was going home, and if I wanted to file a complaint I had to go to the Sugarcreek police station but the only other officer who could register my complaint was at a traffic accident and might not be back for hours. I told him I would wait at the police station as long as I had to. That was the last I saw of Dawn and the policeman.
By now the auction was over. I saw the boy who had brought Foxey Nokea in. I asked him what happened and he said," the killers got her". I asked him why he had allowed that to happen, and he shrugged his shoulders and said "my parner wasn't going to bring her home". I reminded him that I had said Iwould pay her board but he said that his partner did not care. I cannot get that mares face out of my mind. I never thought for a minute that I would be leaving the auction without her.
The pro -slaughter side promotes the lie that the horses are unwanted, but the truth is that auctions such as Sugarcreek are set up to deter people from buying the horses in the first place. For starters, the horses are in crowded pens with no halters. Secondly, the thoroughbreds are the last to arrive and the first to sell. They have no opportunity to be examined by the public. The auction process takes less than thirty seconds per horse.
There is no protection for the buyer regarding the health or soundness of an animal, I saw a large bottle of Banamine on a shelf next to one of the pens. Anyone could have used it for any purpose.
While I was grieving for Foxey Nokea, Diana found me and told me that Fred Bauer was extorting money from Kathy. He had bought one of the Mountaineer throughbreds for less than $300.00 , yet he would only sell her to Kathy if she gave him an additional $500.00.She gave him the money, but his sinister demands limited our ability to save the other three. When it was all over, Kathy and Diana saved three, whose names and background are at the end of this report.
In regards to the abuse complaint, I have called Dawn Smitely every day for the past three days. She does not answer my calls, but I will persist. I would suggest that anyone who reads this report who wants to help should contact Rosemary Williams at Mountaineer Prk and ask why she does nothing to stop the pipeline from her racetarck to Sugarcreek. The number to call is 304-387-8300. This # will connect you to the stewards at which point you should tell them how disgusting it is that they send horses to slaughter and then ask for the number for Rosemary Williams, who is the director of racing at Mountaineer Park.
I would also call the mayor of Sugarcreek, Jerri Middaugh, 330-852-4415 and ask him why he allows the auction to operate in violation of federal transport regulations. I would also ask him why he allows this auction to accept abused and injured animals.
I would stop buying anything made or produced by the Amish. They have a serious problem within their cult, and their Bishops need to address the issue of cruelty towards their animals by a majority of their members.
I would also urge anyone who attends livestock auctions to start reporting violations. The important thing to remember is to get the name and number of the humane officer before you go. Then, follow through with complaints when they do show up.
Finally, continue your support for the anti slaughter legislation in Washington. This bill should have been passed five years ago...... the horse slaughter pipeline is a disgrace to America, and the weekly violations point out the inadequacy of the USDA and state agriculture departments to police the industry.
Here are the thoroughbreds from the Sugarcreek Auctio, Oct 17
UPDATE!! October 24--I just spoke to the girl who rescued the mini. Her veterinarian said the pony does not have a sinus infection, her nose had been broken, probably by geing beaten with a board or other object. Vet report is now on file.