Young foals, torn away from their mothers.

Overcrowded trailers, filled with disease. The tiny cries of lonely, scared, and suffering horses.  

For years, Animals' Angels has investigated and exposed the dealings of kill buyer Dennis Chavez in Los Lunas, New Mexico. In fact, we are the only organization to have successfully initiated cruelty charges against the infamous kill buyer-and the outrage of our community convinced the New Mexico governor to change the state's regulations for accepting horses at auctions and through feedlots. 

Mares with foal at Dennis Chavez feedlot

Unfortunately, Chavez is still profiting off of suffering horses, and his latest actions have shocked even our most seasoned investigators.
Animals' Angels has received evidence that Chavez purchased a large number of mares and young foals from an Indian Reservation. He separated the babies from their mothers, sent the adult horses to slaughter, and then shipped the foals across the country to kill buyers and horse traders in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. 
As if these actions weren't heinous enough, Animals' Angels has reason to believe that the paperwork documenting the horses' age and condition was not accurate and insufficient actions were taken to protect the vulnerable creatures. 

Trucks at Southwest Livestock Auction

According to the official health certificates, all foals were between four and five months of age. However, eyewitness accounts and video filmed of the foals and reviewed by our experts indicates that some were as young as three weeks of age. Three weeks is much too young for foals to be separated from their mothers, and the animals would need to be hand fed with a milk replacer in order to survive.  

No evidence suggests that these steps were taken - several of the foals died in transport and others arrived at their destination severely emaciated and apparently suffering from strangles (a contagious and sometimes deadly disease).
So, what awaited the foals who survived this terrifying journey?
Our research confirms that 53 of the foals traveled a staggering 1,037 miles to a facility in Sebastian, Texas, a small town along the border with Mexico. We can only guess why they were brought to such a remote and distant location - maybe the horses were kept there until they reached legal slaughter age (six months) and were then shipped to Mexico-if they lived that long.

Rescued Foal - did not survive
The other 183 foals were transported 600 miles to Earnie Schenker in Nickerson, Kansas. From there, the foals were loaded into different trucks and moved again. The majority were sent to Troy Jennings, who runs the Daviess County Livestock Auction in Gallatin, Missouri, and has long-held ties to Kansas kill buyer, Jeff Smith.

Jennings had his foals delivered to the Yoder Harness Shop in Jamesport, and immediately listed them for sale, with price tags of up to $150 each. The remaining foals were listed for sale on Amy Bayes' (kill buyer Jeff Smith's broker program) Facebook page, where they were advertised as being younger than two months and potentially suffering with strangles.
Several generous individuals purchased foals from the different sellers, but the horses were very ill and many died shortly after arriving at their new owners. Veterinary records obtained by Animals' Angels confirm that several of these foals had severe purulent nasal discharge, were coughing, and febrile. Others were covered in wounds which appeared to be heavily infected.

Rescued Foal - did not survive
What can we do to stop this unthinkable abuse?
Animals' Angels is working to secure documentation from the New Mexico, Kansas and Missouri Departments of Agriculture and several other governmental agencies involved in this case. Initially, we received pushback from some of the agencies, but we appealed the decisions. We have finally obtained records that confirm our initial investigative results.
We are also looking into the laws and procedures that failed these horses. Prior to being cruelly shipped across the country, the foals were assessed by a local veterinarian, who signed their health certificates and approved them for transport. Due to age and obvious health concerns, these foals should never have been deemed prepared to endure such a long and difficult journey.

Public records indicate that all of the foals' health certificates were issued by Dr. Florian Sanchez, a veterinarian in Belen, New Mexico. When he signed the forms, Dr. Sanchez knew these young creatures were being shipped 15+ hours without their mothers and crammed together (50 at a time) in a livestock trailer-actions that are highly unethical, if not illegal. As a veterinarian, Dr. Sanchez has sworn to use his knowledge and skills for the "protection of animal health and welfare and the prevention and relief of animal suffering."
Animals' Angels will be filing a complaint with the New Mexico Veterinary Board, asking them to determine if Dr. Sanchez committed gross negligence when he signed off on the transportation. It needs to be investigated how the significant discrepancy between the true age of the foals and the age according to the paperwork came about. Additionally, if all these foals were healthy when Dr Sanchez inspected them, why did so many of them die and why did so many show obvious signs of a communicable disease?

Should the board determine that Dr. Sanchez indeed violated the NM Veterinary Practice Act, they may revoke his license, reprimand and place on probation or impose  an administrative penalty of up to $5,000. 

If you would like to also tell Dr. Sanchez how you feel about shipping unweaned foals across the country, you can contact his office at:
Yucca Veterinary Medical Center
Dr. Florian Sanchez
Belen, NM
Phone # 505-864-6001

We would also like to ask anyone who has any further knowledge about these foals and any documentation such as veterinary records or pictures, to contact Animals' Angels immediately at 443-821-3343 or

Thank you so much! 


The suffering of these innocent foals in New Mexico is heart breaking and infuriating. But as you know, our investigators are working every day to educate people on animal abuses, hold criminals accountable for their cruel behaviors, and ultimately stop these sorts of occurrences all together.
Thanks to you - our passionate Animals' Angels supporters - we have achieved so many victories: the export of US horses to slaughter has significantly declined, some of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world have stopped sourcing horse blood from South America, and the European Union has banned horse meat imports from Mexico. 

You are making a difference for so many precious animals. Thank you for standing by our side, and please consider making a gift today to help fund our ongoing investigations, awareness campaigns, and legal challenges. 

is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so ALL donations are tax deductible. 

sonja inspecting trailer

Your support is crucial to continue the fight against animal cruelty.   Animals' Angels counts on you!  Help us be there for the animals.

Animals' Angels works to improve the conditions for farm animals and horses all over the country. 
Our investigators are out in the field nationwide, visiting auctions, kill pens, feedlots and slaughter plants to uncover the cruelty and abuse that animals all too often face each and every day.
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Westminster, MD 21158

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