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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Horses find homes at auction

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office auctioned four abused horses Saturday.

The horses were seized from owner Shelley Kay Dinsmore, 44, of La Crosse, on Aug. 18 according to an article in the Gainesville Sun, after they were found without adequate food and water.

Sgt. Robert Behl of the Rural Services Unit said the pasture was mostly dirt, there was no natural vegetation and no running water.

“That’s not sufficient for horses,” he said.

Perry Koon, ASO’s rural services deputy, said he spent about six weeks working with the owner before filing for petition through a judge to get ownership of the horses.

Koon warned bidders that the horses were not in the best condition. One horse, nicknamed “Old Man” by the unit, was so thin his ribs were visible.

“Obviously if these horses weren’t mistreated they wouldn’t be here,” Koon, said.

Koon requested the minimum bid to start at $120 for each horse to recoup the cost of food and shelter. A UF veterinarian evaluated the horses for about $415.

The horses were kept at the Rural Services Livestock Impound, a 30-acre pasture with a seven-stall barn and four-pen sorting area, in La Crosse.

Peter Gregory, 82, bought a 30-year-old dark bay gelding for $25 on Saturday.  He and his wife, Mary Gregory, founded the gelding’s new home, the Mill Creek Farm Retirement Home for Horses, in 1984.

The 265-acre farm in Alachua is home to about 129 horses. He said he retires horses that are at least 20 years old that have commonly worked in public service.

“We let them roam around and enjoy life,” he said. “We let them live like a horse.”

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Mickey Bath, a physician’s assistant at UF’s Student Health Care Center, and his wife, Tuyet Bath, bought a dark bay paint mare for $145 and a black and white gelding for $110. Both will live on the Baths’ 97-acre farm in Bradford County.

Mickey Bath said he’s not worried about the horses’ condition and hopes his grandchildren can eventually ride them. He said he bought a second horse to keep the other company and didn’t have a reason for which horses he chose.

The final bid was on a paint mare, purchased for $100.

“The point is to get the horses to a good home,” Koon said.

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