Wild horse advocates endure bidding war to rescue horses

Virginia range 23 rescued from auction house fate

From a Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund press release:

Captured Virgina Range Horses

The Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund (HVWHPF), in an effort to save the first 23 of an estimated 74 Virginia Range wild horses trapped by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA), attended an auction today, September 19th, at the Nevada Livestock Marketing, LLC, located 1025 Allen Road, Fallon, NV where the horse were sold to the highest bidder.

NDA Brand Inspector Blaine Northrop diligently and methodically organized the delivery of the horses to the auction floor in a manner specifically designed to minimalize stress and trauma to these animals and ensure the bands or families would remain intact.  Once the bidding started at approximately 7:15 pm, HVWHPF successfully out bid several kill buyers and one individual who obviously ran the bid up far higher than what any of these horses should have sold for.  A normal bid price for such horses should not have exceeded $175 – $200 per head, however by the sale of the 12th horse the individual had raised the price to over $1,000 for a mare and baby pair.

At that time, one of the auction attendees recognized the individual to be that of Jack Payne, the owner of the auction house, Nevada Livestock Marketing, LLC.  After Mr. Payne was recognized, he continued to bid on the remainder of Virginia Range 23 and continued to intentionally raise the bid.  The Department of Agriculture agents on locations at that time were questioned by HVWHF volunteers about the legality of Mr. Payne bidding without first disclosing that he was the owner of the auction house and also the act of intentionally raising the bid to an amount obviously much higher than the expected bid range price.  The agents were unable to confirm whether this action was appropriate, commenting that it was a public auction and open to anyone.  Representatives from the NDA were able to confirm the identity of the individual as that of Mr. Jack Payne, the owner of the Nevada Livestock Marketing, LLC.

The HVWHPF is questioning the legitimacy of the transactions that took place this evening at the auction of the Virginia Range 23, formerly the property of the NDA until all were safely acquired by the HVWHFP.  Is it appropriate for an auction house owner to partake in and intentionally raise the bid on any product to be sold in that auction house?  Did these actions cause the auction house to gain financially by increasing its commission on the sale?  Did this auction house cause the people of the State of Nevada to overpay the commission charged by the auction house to the Department of Agriculture to handle the sale of these 23 horses?

The HVWHPF will be requesting a full and immediate refund from Nevada Livestock Marketing, LLC of all the funds spent at its facility in the acquisition of the Virginia Range 23 wild horses.  All the money allocated to the rescue of the wild horses comes from donations received from local, national, and international sources.  The HVWHPF is an all-volunteer registered 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the Virginia Range wild horses.

Additionally, another 31 Virginia Range wild horses are scheduled to be sold at auction at this very same facility on Wednesday, September 26th.  The HVWHPF will be requesting that the NDA stop all plans for this auction pending a full investigation of the activities of the management of the Nevada Livestock Marketing, LLC related to the auction of the Virginia Range 23.  The HVWHPF will also ask NDA to reconsider a plan that would allow for all NDA horses removed from the range to be placed with qualified, accredited rescue organizations, allowing the organizations’ donated funds to be better spent on efforts to find permanent placement for these creatures rather than lining the pockets of those who would deceive and do wrong.

HVWHPF asks that, in the spirit of Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnson, children of all ages write to Governor Sandoval asking him to reinstate a Wild Horse Commission that will work with all interested parties to ensure that our Nevada Heritage Horses become a vital and valuable part of our state culture and will show that we can live harmoniously with these precious relics of our past.

Please donate to the fund to save Wild Horse Annie’s horses here: http://hiddenvalleyhorses.com/main.php?c=donate