Investigation Updates

June 28, 2012

Animals' Angels
 PO Box 1056 Westminster, MD 21158

Charges filed in Southwest Livestock Auction case


Gray with bleeding hip injuryDennis Chavez, owner of Southwest Livestock Auction in Los Lunas, NM has been charges with 12 counts of misdemenor charges, which could add up to nearly 11 years in prison.

 District Attorney Lemuel Martinez charged Chavez with animal cruelty, failure to treat an animal that can't walk and for not having a bill of sale for the horses.

The case is a result of undercover footage Animals' Angels took during an investigation in March at the Southwest Auction. Read the news coverage...




Kentucky slaughter auction remains concerning
Mare with fresh face injury
Fresh face injury


When the Ayache wreck occurred on June 12, the second wreck since January, AA investigators were in the area.


Less than 64 hours before the wreck, AA investigators watched as Ayache's driver loaded another one of his horrible trailers. It was almost midnight at the auction in Smith's Grove, KY, a sale run by a large-scale kill buyer.



Horses inside the slaughter pens were in need of veterinary care, in very poor condition, emaciated, with injuries. Stallions were mixed with mares and the uproar in the slaughter pens was disturbing, loud and frequent.  


stallion breeding mareMany horses were kicked with full force or slammed really hard by gates. The slaughter sale started after most of the public had left.


Handling of the horses was harsh and dumb. Unnecessarily aggressive handling made the horses panicky, with yelling and loud slamming of gates. Investigators witnessed horses falling and others trampling over them. Stallions, unseparated in the crowded pens, were fighting and breeding mares who had no place to go.


The driver for Ayache moving horses was as aggressive and impatient as the auction employees. It was difficult to watch the fear it created in the horses.


This is a continually recurring event as every week Dorian Ayache dba Three Angels Farms, takes several loads of horses for slaughter to the Presidio, TX export pens.


Public documents show that Ayache's horses have been rejected for slaughter on multiple occasions this year because of injury or illness.

Three Angel Farms in Presidio
Ayache trailer in Presidio


In March of 2012, AA documented Ayache at the Presidio pens. The interior of the Ayache trailer was in very poor shape with holes, bad flooring, broken pipes, sharp and jagged objects. AA filmed the condition of the trailer and notified the USDA slaughter program of our concerns. They promised to look into it, saying that Ayache was already under investigation for other violations. AA has not yet received a response since making the complaint in March.


Overall, AA's investigation in KY and TN revealed poor conditions and unaccepatable treatment of horses. AA plans to spend significantly more time here.


Bigger than KY and TN however, are AA's investigations and trailings nationwide and what they reveal about the horse slaughter industry.



Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking
Leroy Baker truck and solo driver filmed during 36 hour transport

Violations to DOT regulations, illegal, excessive hours driving without rest, threatening public safety on the nation's highways - the Ayache driver from last week's wreck was cited for driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver's license. (DOT 2100311)

AA investigations continue to prove that poorly maintained rigs and very thin profit margins make the predatory business of horse slaughter not just cruel and inhumane, but a threat to everyone traveling the Interstate-- a lousy rig ahead of them, loaded with horses and a fatigued driver. Ayache is not exceptional; he is merely one more in a long line.


See more examples of slaughter haulers that violate DOT regulations and drive longer than they should...









 The Mount Hope Exotic Auction in Ohio


In September 2011 and again in March of this year, AA investigators attended the Mt. Hope Exotic Auction in Ohio. Ohio was one of the few states that until very recently had virtually no restrictions regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals.  


 The 2-3 day event is held 2 times a year. In both September and March, AA investigators were able to document conditions for literally thousands of animals, including 2 Grevy's zebras on the endangered species list.


Though far from ideal, there was some improvement at the March auction. Wolves, primates and large constricting snakes were not being offerd at the spring sale. The auction notice offered apologies for the "inconvenience this causes...as we also wait on the proposed legislation." Many of the birds and rabbits had access to water only on the first day. Overall, auction conditions were clearly poor.


CagesVehicles from NY, NJ, PA, TN, NC, IN, MI, VA, IL and OH, and several private hunting preserves, exotic animal farms and zoos were in attendance. Vehicles carrying animals in cardboard boxes, homemade cages and plastic laundry baskets waited over 5 hours to unload.


Cages stacked 5 and 6 high and wavered overhead. Some had fallen and hung precariously between other cages.


Cages of doves and chicken were especially packed and crowded. Other cages were so small animals cound not move. Some were home-made and completely unacceptable. Almost all cages had bare wire only for animals to stand on.


peacock cages
Peacock cages, some fallen from the pile

By the 2nd day the majority of cages did not have food or water. Though auction flyers state that it is responsibility of the owner to take care of their animals, they apparently do not monitor to ensure that this really happens.


It appeared that many larger animals such as buffalo, bison, zebras, camels and deer, were bought by private hunting preserves where hunters pay as much as $5,000.00 to shoot a water buffalo, $2,000 for a fallow deer and $2,000 to $6,000 for an elk, and hang the head on a wall.


tortoise in plastic tub
Tortoise in plastic tub

Containers with animals on floor level were kicked repeatedly. Many families at the auction came to see all the "cute" animals. Cages were constantly being opened to pet, handle and stress the animals. Other animals, such as tortoises, were in plastic tubs with tiny air holes.


Investigators were very surprised to see 2 Grevy's zebras, which are on the endangered species list. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, only 2,500 Grevy's zebras are left in the wild and only in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia.


Grevy ZebraAA immediately contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, but was informed that the Endangered Species Act only protects animals that are bought or sold in interstate commerce. Thus, if a 'protected', endangered animal is born in captivity in Ohio, it can legally be sold and killed at a hunting farm within the state.


Recommendations to Auction Management:


- Insist on properly sized, stable, adequate cages with proper flooring.

- Refuse overcrowded cages.


- Advise/train auction employees in proper placement of cages in a safe and stable manner

-- Advise/train auction employees in the proper placement of cages with aggressive birds or other animals to prevent fighting and injuries.

- Advise/train auction employees to maintain access to food and water of all animals during all days the sale. Advise sellers that they will not be allowed to participate in future sales if their animal is without food or water by a particular hour of each day.

- Limit the number of auction visitors allowed in areas to avoid overcrowding and cages being kicked.

- Limit or restrict auction visitors from opening cages and handling animals without supervision.


 Read the full length investigative report...

In this issue
1. Charges filed in Southwest Auction case
2. KY Slaughter Auction remains concerning

3. The Mount Hope Exotic Auction
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About us

Animals' Angels works to improve conditions for farm animals. We closely cooperate with law enforcement and government agencies to fight animal cruelty. Our investigators are out in the field nationwide, visiting auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants.



Animals' Angels Inc.

PO Box 1056

Westminster, MD 21158



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