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Presidio stock pen horses recovering in Marfa, will be auctioned

August 25th, 2011 under Home Story Highlight

By BENJAMIN WERMUND

MARFA – Twenty-five unclaimed horses from the Presidio County stock pens that are the subject of ongoing state and county investigations and have been under fire from animal welfare activists are now recovering near Vizcaino Park in Marfa.

The horses arrived at county-owned pens in Marfa Friday and have been fed by the sheriff’s office twice daily since.

Horses moved to Marfa

Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez inspects horses that were brought from a Presidio stockyard to Marfa. These horses, which were not claimed by any owner, were at the center of an animal abuse investigation. According to the sheriff, they have been inspected by a veterinarian and are receiving proper food and water. (staff photo by ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN)

“They were happy to see that food,” Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez said. “They got off the truck and went straight to it.”

The 25 are the only remaining from more than 300 horses in the Alvarado Pens near Presidio that the sheriff’s department sequestered two weeks ago after the animal welfare activist group Wild Horse Foundation alleged thousands of horses and hundreds of cattle were starving there. The allegations, which were posted online, led to a flood of calls to the sheriff’s office and the county from across the country.

The sheriff’s office launched an investigation into potential animal cruelty in the pens, which act as a way station for horses headed to Mexico for slaughter, and found that the hungry and injured horses arrived at the pens in their condition and were fed and watered adequately while they waited to cross the border.

Since then all but 25 horses have been claimed, either by original owners or by the companies that purchase the horses and ship them to Mexico.

Aaron Burbach of Big Bend Veterinary Services looked at the remaining horses Sunday, some of whom are quite thin, and quarantined eight.

“It’s nothing major,” Burbach said of the quarantined horses. “It’s just to prevent the spread of disease. Nothing was in dire condition or anything like that.”

The horses will be auctioned off — individually, so as to spare them from slaughter for at least a while longer — once they have fully recovered.

“I don’t want to sell them in bulk, they’ll just end up in the same place,” Dominguez said.

The auction should take place in two to five weeks and the money from the horses that sell will go to the county’s jury fund, Dominguez said.

Meanwhile the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is still investigating at least one claim of horse carcasses being dumped illegally in a creek on private property behind the pens the 25 horses came to Marfa from.

Story filed under: Arts » Home Story Highlight » Top Stories

4 Responses to “Presidio stock pen horses recovering in Marfa, will be auctioned”

  1. Priscilla Maulsby says:

    It is understandable that, given the drought, the economy, and the cost of feed, some people who own animals of any sort are desperate. Rather than send horses to slaughter, or abandon dogs and cats, owners should turn to the ASPCA, the HSUS, or local humane societies for assistance, as most of these mistreated animals can find adoptive homes. There is NEVER any excuse for cruelty to animals.

  2. Jennifer Facer Brown says:

    It really angers me, that the law, can not see, that the place practices cruelty. They dumped dead, and dying horses everywhere, and never called a vet. I mean really who cares, they gonna be slaughtered in some Mexican slum anyway, Right?? Its not like the place doesn’t have a cruelty record. At least the Sheriff helped, 25 of them. Its a crying shame. Alotta folks know the reputation of those pens. And to here the words Presidio, only brings nightmares. One day, those pens will be closed for good.. I praise God for that day..

  3. Jeannie says:

    I pray that S1176 gets passed so that this madness and inhumane and just plain ole horrible treatment of horses ends. Why the USA allows our horses to be butchered/stabbed and bled out while alive is just beyond me, why, why, why…Where is humanity’s compassion for these wonderful horses….I pray people heart’s get touched and their conscience get’s awakened

  4. “If one aspires towards a righteous life, the first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
    ~ Albert Einstein

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