This report is really how and why I began my research into wild horses and burros and the BLM. It was very disheartening and saddening to know the fate of all of those lives. It was while reading this investigation that I realized how crooked the justice system is. A 20 year old who has zero experience with the criminal justice system, but has a pretty good dose of common sense about her, I have a feeling that this case could have/ should have had a far different outcome… However, many of us know how the government tends to be when dealing with another branch of the same government.
Once might say that the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) investigations would be nothing less than lackluster and weak… That said, I feel like under normal circumstances, when someone admits to a crime, they would be arrested, had a case built against them, and finally they are put in jail/prison.
I was shocked to read that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges against Tom Davis. I mean I clearly do not have access to all of the information that I would need to prove this case, but from the outside looking in, this appears to be the type of case that the State of Colorado would want to at least make them look good and give them the warm fuzzies of doing the right thing… But I guess not.
In case you have no idea what I am talking again, I will give you the run-down. Tom Davis- a Colorado rancher and livestock hauler… and buddy of former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar… I.e. mustang murderer. In 2012, the Department of Interior (DOI) received a tip that Davis had purchased a large quantity of wild mustangs from the WH&B program and sent them to slaughter in Mexico (which is a felony… In case you didn’t know). As far as I know, per normal requirements, Davis had to sign a contract before obtaining his purchased animals that he agreed and understood that he could not send them to slaughter… As would you and I if we were to adopt/purchase an animal from the WH&B program. If I had to guess, hundreds of people were interviewed by the DOI as accessories, witnesses, etc.
The BLM’s OLE had received similar tips prior to this incident, accusing Davis of purchasing and then sending his purchases to slaughter outside of the country, on two separate occasions. In these instances with the OLE, Davis had assured the OLE that the horses had been given to good homes and were not slaughtered… yet when the DOI investigators asked Davis how many of his purchases when to slaughter, he said, “Probably close to all…” (pg 2 of report). Now, did he get in trouble for lying to a federal officer? Nope!
There is just so much messed up on one piece of paper that it hurts my head… Now, this man purchased each horse for $10/head. Yes. $10 for one animal. And he would purchase a truckload at a time (35 animals at a time). So all he did was spend $350 just to get 35 horses out to his property. Interestingly enough, Davis received his first purchase a mere 2-weeks after his buddy, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, came into office…
In his (Davis’) sick mind, he thought that he was “helping” the BLM to get rid of “unadoptable” horses that would never have a chance to find homes, claiming that he would rather send them to slaughter than see our government do it themselves. Now… of course he is guilty, and yeah, he should have been arrested and put into prison for a sentence that a judge deemed fit, but not only that… he would not give up those that he had had to transport those horses across the border. He would not tell the WH&B employees where the horses were going, since he was telling them that he was sending them to good homes. Davis lied to a WH&B marketing person, as they are charged with the responsibility to determine good homes for adoptable mustangs, telling them that they were not going to slaughter. Much of this is against the BLM’s own WH&B policies, since in 2005 the BLM developed a policy that limited the number of horses that one household could adopt/purchase without the written permission of the Secretary of the Interior. This limit is set at four (4) and I guess that it can come in handy to be buds with the Secretary when you want to make some money. Naturally, when Davis was interviewed, he told the investigators that he wanted to get more horses to make even more money… 10,000 horses to be exact. And I do believe that he is right in saying that the BLM had to have known what was happening to those horses. Because no one is that oblivious.
Davis supposedly used a “kill buyer” to get his horses across the border, but for whatever reason,
as I would like to hear their reason…, the investigators were unable to even speak with the buyer… Really now? Nice. This said, the horses, as usual, have to pass inspection before passing over the border into Mexico. This inspection would be done by a New Mexico brand inspector who would check the horses for freezemarks (since this would deem the horses unable to cross the border). However, the brand inspector admitted to not visually inspecting the horses that Davis had sent to this Southwest Livestock facility. In addition to this failure in protocol, a USDA-certified veterinarian is also required to inspect all of the livestock that comes through this facility and fill out International Health Certificates (IHC’s) before the horses can be exported. This vet also admitted to never actually inspecting the horses that Davis had sent, which means that the horses were never inspected to check for freezemarks. Here is the deal… Freeze-branding is one of the first things that happens to these horses before they are organized into groups at facilities. Do not tell me that these horses were just a massive outlier of protocol. Because that is a big load of horse poo. I can also say, that often times “kill buyers” are ruthless and cruel, but I wouldn’t think that they would want to risk being arrested for a Federal crime by not inspecting their horses for freezemarks just to make sure that they aren’t about to slaughter Federally protected mustangs.
Davis purchased 1,794 horses and burros over the course of 4 years. From 2008 to 2012, had the truckloads of horses delivered directly to him. Supposedly this is normal protocol, but I sincerely doubt that. Davis cost the BLM $140,000 in transportation alone, while Davis only spent a mere $17,940 buying his horses.
I will stop on this note and continue in my next post, as this is getting quite lengthy. Stick around for the sequel. If you have any questions about this post, do not be afraid to contact me. I don’t bite. Have a blessed day!