Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Update on Horses in Presidio, Texas
By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A buyer and purveyor of slaughter bound horses has been arrested in Presidio County, Texas on unknown charges.
Trent Saulters, was being transported from the custody of Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez to the nearby Brewster County Jail in Alpine, Texas late Wednesday.
Saulters has been at the center of a controversy that has embroiled the local sheriff’s department in news stories focusing on allegations of animal cruelty, misuse of federal horse health records, the dumping of dead horses in a flash flood prone creek bed during hurricane season, and ignoring possible crimes at the pen. The well known “killer buyer” is also embroiled in the controversial sale of horses by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The case has been under investigation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. It is unknown if other agencies, including the Texas Animal Health Commission, or federal law enforcement are involved.
Horseback Magazine learned late Wednesday that an assistant attorney general has been assigned by Attorney General Greg Abbott to look into the case.
Saulters and his father, former prison inmate Terry Saulters, are the buyers of more than 30 horses purchased at the Huntsville livestock auction last month. It is alleged that the horses were transported to the Presidio holding pen within four days of the sale to await transport across the Rio Grande for slaughter. The horses allegedly suffered severe weight loss over a brief period.
Saulters told Horseback Online Friday that he was getting out of the business of selling horses for slaughter, and if he could get them back from the Presidio holding pen he would dispose of them and they would not be killed. Horseback offered to put the horse trader in touch with anti-slaughter activists for possible humane adoption. Many of the horses in the lot have suffered severe injuries. Some are alleged to have died on arrival, however, it’s unclear if the dead horses were owned or transported by Saulters.
The Texas prison system sold the stout horses, a Quarter Horse/Percheron cross capable of holding a 300 pound corrections officer for an eight hour shift, as culls. Prison horses are highly coveted by trail riders and other horsemen. Some expressed outrage at the sale of the horses to known “killer buyers.”
Killer buyers are often under contract to supply slaughter houses with fresh horses. The horses are then butchered and their meat sold as a delicacy in Europe, Japan, and Latin America.
Thus far Horseback Online has been unable to determine what charges Saulters is being held under, or whether they relate to the current controversy. However, rumors are swirling that bond has been set at more than $100,000.
Horseback will continually update this story and post updates as circumstances warrant and information becomes available. We urge our readers to refresh their browser for frequently until we determine what charges Saulters is being held under.