Thursday, August 25, 2011
Update on Horses in Presido, Texas
By Steven Long, Photos Courtesy Ray Field, Wild Horse Foundation, HOUSTON, (Horseback) - The lid remains on in the case of a Waco based slaughter kill buyer jailed in the small West Texas town of Alpine. Calls to the Presidio County sheriff’s office were futile Thursday morning regarding what crime the man is charged with and how much bail he is being held under.
Horseback has learned that a good samaritan has come forth to post bond for the man, but thus far Trent Saulters remains in jail, his future uncertain. The buyer and purveyor of slaughter bound horses was arrested in Presidio County, Texas on unknown charges Wednesday. The lid is on at the sheriff’s department in Marfa, as well as at the nearby Brewster County jail where prisoners are held for the two West Texas jurisdictions. Neither jail would reveal what charges have been filed against Trent Saulters, a well known slaughter buyer, or how much bond has been place on him after repeated calls from Horseback Magazine and Houston’s CBS affiliate, KHOU-TV.
Saulters, was transported from the custody of Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez late Wednesday to the nearby jail in Alpine, Texas late Wednesday afternoon.
In a call to the Houston television station, Dominguez allegedly told a reporter he didn’t know what what charges his department filed on Saulters, an unusual response in a case which is now attracting wide media coverage.
Horseback has also learned from highly placed sources in Presidio County that only 25 of the original horses held in a slaugher lot in deplorable condition and are being well cared for under the supervision of Deputy Joel Nunez. Unless someone claims the horse with legitimate papers, the county will auction them September 14.
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 Texas 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.
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.