Friday, July 16, 2010 , Updated 2:48 p.m., July 16, 2010
47 Arabian horses on their way to new homes after Collin County auction
Proceeds from the sale are reported to be $24,000, which will be used to repay Collin County taxpayers for the cost of caring for the horses.
After several delays and last-minute appeals by Living Waters Arabians, the court-ordered auction of 47 purebred Arabian horses seized last month by the Collin County Sheriff took place this past Saturday. Authorities indicated the horses -- 22 stallions and 25 mares -- were found starving and malnourished at the Living Waters Arabians facility in Farmersville on June 9 and were subsequently placed in the custody of Collin County Animal Services. At a hearing on June 24, a judge ordered an auction be held and the horses sold at auction to qualified buyers.
Meyers Park in McKinney was the setting for the auction. More than 100 people came to bid on the horses and in doing so created the fairy tale endings these proud but neglected animals deserved.
Lisa Henry from Legacy Ranch in Terrell rescued a colt six years ago from a cruelty seizure. On Saturday, she rescued his mom, a gorgeous mare she calls Duchess. Duchess is already settling in to her new home and even has her own blog. Leah Johnson of L & M Equine in Quitman had her heart set on a mare named Candy Sue, but the bidding quickly went too high for Leah. Fortunately, a generous donor stepped in at the last minute and helped Leah win Candy Sue. Leah provided the photos below showing Candy Sue settling into her new home. Barbara Lively ended up with 10 of the horses. "I was there because one of the happiest times in my life was when I owned an Arabian horse. I want to give something back to his less fortunate brothers and sisters. It is so good for my heart to lift these animals out of hell and into new hope." Barbara’s video is below.
Patrice Wheeler of McKinney played a pivotal role in changing the destiny of many of the horses. She spent over $13,000, and purchased more than six mares and seven of the stallions. The majority went to rescue groups she works with; one went to a vet and a few to friends locally. Ms. Wheeler was in junior high when she purchased her first Arabian, but was soon forced to give her up. She's now dedicating her time and money to rescue as she says "in order to repay the debt she says she still feels she owes to that horse she called Rosebud." Jenny Machalicek of McKinney was on hand as well and had this to say: "I was amazed by the people that showed up and the overwhelming sentiment of the crowd."
Most everyone agreed that the highlight of the day was a bidding war over the stallion, Star of Andromeda. The bidding started out slowly until one of the bidders remarked loudly, "I have a lot of lucky mares waiting for you." Three years ago, no one would have given that comment a second thought. In the frenzy of this sale, however, and so soon after another even larger cruelty seizure involving a local Arabian breeder, the comment enraged a number of rescuers. One rescuer explained it this way: "Breeding more Arabians when so many have been starved, neglected, and left homeless due to the economy would be hugely irresponsible." The video below, shot by Kristina Bowman of Dallas, shows what happened next as a band of angry rescuers teamed up with Mrs. Wheeler, pooled their money, and eventually were able to place the winning bid of over $6,000 for Star of Andromeda.
Collin County Animal Services also received a lot of praise after the sale, for the care the horses received while in their custody as well as the way the sale was conducted. One bidder said, "This was my first Sheriff's sale. Every single person I spoke to or overheard in conversation was very nice, polite, and professional. The barn was immaculate. The horses were bedded down in deep pine shavings and had clean water."
Brenda from Laurel Arabians agreed, saying, "The Sheriff's department was outstanding in how they handled this at the auction, and the county folks I spoke to had been working around the clock ... It was pouring down rain nearly the entire time each horse was being loaded ... one at a time, and by the county employees. They did a superb job in literally picking up some of these small horses to get them into a trailer, and there was no rush about it (they didn't care about the rain, thunder, and lightning ... they were getting these horses safely into trailers)." Brenda also wanted to thank the Humane Society of North Texas. "While they were not a part of this rescue, a large group of their people came to the auction simply to ask 'what can we do to help!' They were ... volunteering services, hauling, monies, etc. ... essentially whatever else might be needed to make sure these horses got into good homes," she said.
Ann Webb from Supreme Arabians in Red Oak echoed Lisa’s sentiments in a post on the Arabian Breeder's Network forum. "The people with the county who had been taking care of these horses for the last month were some of the kindest people you could ever meet. Clearly, they cared about the horses, and a couple even said they would miss them. The sheriffs who ran the auction were great -- friendly, helpful and they didn't put up with any BS."
The minimum bid for each horse was $250. That amount was chosen specifically to deter buyers from slaughter houses and all indications are that it worked. 25 mares and 17 of the stallions were sold in the first round of bidding, and the five remaining stallions sold in the second round. Most of the horses brought in between $250-$500, with one mare going for a little over $2,000, and Star of Andromeda going for over $6,000. Proceeds from the sale are reported to be $24,000, which will be used to repay Collin County taxpayers for the cost of caring for the horses, which is estimated at $42,000. While no "kill buyers" attended, Collin County officials are following up on reports that some of the original owner's friends may have purchased back a few of the horses on her behalf.
For more info: According to Patrice Wheeler, there are lessons to be learned from this event. Horse owners need to act responsibly when purchasing a new horse and be sure to plan and budget, not just for food and board but for vet bills, insurance, and emergencies as well. If you are already a horse owner and find yourself struggling due to the economy, don't hesitate to reach out for help. In North Texas, contact the SPCA of Texas or the Humane Society of North Texas, or post a message at Heart4Horses.com. If you know a horse owner who is struggling, encourage them to get help and please share this article and the resources provided.
Seized Arabian horse auction
Pegasus News Content partner - DFW Animal Rescue
See more stories in:
- Taco review: St. Tacos' charm comes straight from the heart of Mexico
- Coffee Squared in McKinney adds sweetener with new bakery counter
- Indie rockers Sons of Fathers to play intimate show April 17 in McKinney
- Orisons Art & Framing features live art-making at McKinney Arts in Bloom
- McKinney spa will soon offer rare laser-free tattoo removal