Friday, August 12, 2011

Texas Prison Horses Returned to Custody of Slaughter Holding Pen as Sheriff Fails to File Cruelty Charges

August 12, 2011
Charges Likely to Be Filed For Dead Horse Dumping in Creek
By Steven Long, Photo Courtesy Ray Field
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Horseback Magazine has confirmed through photographs taken at the scene that 28 horses bought at auction by a well known slaughter kill buyer with a criminal past have been ruturned to the custody of a Presidio, Texas pen awaiting transport across the Rio Grande to a Mexican abbitoir. The Presidio County Sheriff had seized the horses.
The horses show the unmistakable brand of the Texas Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Such horses are coveted by riders when they are rarely advertised for sale.
Spokesmen for the state prison system didn’t respond to inquiries for comment Friday.
The horses sold as “culls” were part of the 1,600 strong herd maintained by Texas Department of Criminal Justice at a Huntsville livestock auction in late July. The auction was not widely advertised.  The animals are stoutly bred to hold the weight of 300 pound prison guards in a shift guarding prisoners in the fields.
The dead horses were discovred after a fly over by Ray Field of the Texas Based Wild Horse Foundation. One source told investigators for Horseback Online that some of the horses hadn’t had water for a week. Presidio frequently boasts the hottest temperatures in the nation according to the National Weather Service. The forecast high for Friday was 105.
Field claims he has photos of at least 40 dead horses that have been dumped into a pit in the Cibolo Creek watershed that feeds into the Rio Grande at Presidio. Just down river is a large recreation area used for swimming, kayaking, tubing, and rafting the famed Santa Elena Canyon.
Field filed a complaint with the Texas Commission ofr Environmental Quality.
The animals returned to the custody of the feed lot owner Friday were seized by Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez after being discovered standing in a lot with the carcasses of dead equines and other starving horses at a leased paddock well known as a holding area for slaughter bound horses.
Sheriff Dominguez has not returned calls to Horseback Magazine after after repeated attempts to reach him. Horseback left word asking what animal cruelty charges had been filed, and against whom such a complaint would be filed. Horseback did not ask about likely public health issues. Despite that, Horseback has learned that charges will be filed “because of the disposition of the dead horses,” said a highly placed source in Presidio County.
Horseback has also asked the office of County Judge Paul Hunt if the state health department or the Texas Animal Health Commission has been alerted to the problem of dead horses and a likely public health issue at the pen.
State health documents indicate this is not the first time the pens have drawn interest. They drew a complaint regarding dead animals in October, 2010.
 The 2010 allegations stated, “Complainant alleges that a land owner in Presidio County, Texas, is piling up massive amounts of dead animals such as horses and cows on top of their private property. The complainant alleges that the smell is polluting the air for the neighbors and that the sight is horrific. “

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