Hayhurst: No public livestock auctions accept horses
By SEAN ELLIS
BOISE -- A bill that would make it easier for people who have horses dumped on them to sell the animals is sailing through the Idaho Legislature.
The bill passed the House 69-0 Feb. 26 and has been sent to the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee.
The legislation would amend Idaho's livestock liens law to allow people who are owed money for horse services they provided or who have horses dumped on them to offer the animals directly to the public for sale. Under current Idaho law, horses with liens can only be sold at licensed public livestock auctions.
The problem with the current law is no public livestock auctions in Idaho accept horses, said Larry Hayhurst, Idaho's state brand inspector. With 200,000 horses in the state, it has become a problem for the industry, he said.
"The horse market is on its face. You can't hardly give them away," he said. "The poor horse people don't have anywhere to go."
Hayhurst said his office can't even take strays to sales yards without paying them $150 per animal to take them.
"This is just a fix for the horse people so they have an option," he said.
A livestock lien is similar to a lien that a mechanic places on a car if an owner doesn't pay for repairs.
As an example, Hayhurst said the bill would benefit someone who boards horses, rents pasture or trains horses and doesn't get paid for their services.
"If you're boarding 20 horses and you don't get paid, you have nowhere to go right now," he said.
While those people are still unlikely to break even if they sell their horses to the public, the new law "would at least allow them to stop the bleeding," Hayhurst told lawmakers.
Idaho's livestock liens law applies to horses and cattle, but Hayhurst said the changes wouldn't apply to cattle.
"There is absolutely no problem with cattle going to a licensed public livestock auction," he said.
Horse owner Connie Blayney, a member of the Idaho Horse Council's board of directors, said the bill's passage would be a big benefit to the industry.
"If someone were to dump a horse on you or if you own a boarding house and someone left you high and dry, this would give you an opportunity to get rid of those horses," she said. "Otherwise, you just have to keep them and there are no other options."