MOUND HOUSE, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV) - Members of a local wild horse advocacy group say they were forced into paying more than necessary during a bidding war at a livestock sale in Fallon, Nevada. Now, they want auctions to halt. President of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, Shannon Windle spearheaded fundraising efforts to buy 23 horses. "We received donations locally, nationally and internationally. They are people who are concerned and want to see that these horses don't end up in slaughter houses," said Windle.
Windle says they spent more than $11,000 on the horses. "That’s way over what we had anticipated even budgeted for," she said. Windle says they were there to outbid kill-buyers, but ended up going up against the owner of the livestock yard in a bidding war. "He was obviously running up the price of horses," said Windle.
It has not been confirmed that the owner was in fact bidding against the horse advocates. However, Jim Barbee, Director of the Department of Agriculture says it is legal for the owner to bid on livestock. Barbee also compared the price of the horses to the stock exchange. "A price on a stock can be low one day and high on the next. That's just how the market works," said Barbee.
Barbee says the Department of Agriculture has worked with advocacy groups in the past but they ran into problems. "Horses were turned over to advocacy groups for $90, but they were turned back out onto open range." That is against the law and Barbee said that's what resulted in policy shift. "It wasn't just random,” he said.
There are 31 horses up for auction next week. Windle says they will keep raising money and save as many horses as they can. They are also desperately trying to find the 23 horses from this auction a forever home.