Lewis County, WV: Please do not auction the Seized Miniature Horses. Instead, let them be adopted out to screened, suitable homes.


A case dating back to 2010 has some resolution.

Many of you will remember this herd from last year and the year before. . .When over 120 Miniature Horses and Donkeys were breeding at large and dying from various conditions in Lewis County, WV.

We would get arrangements in place to help, and the county would shut down the seizure. A few months later, we would hear about it again, and over and over, we tried to help. Finally, the herd was seized, though many had died.

At this time, over 50 Miniature horses and a few mini Donkeys are in the herd. These are all essentially unhandled (not suitable for children, new owners, etc).

They have been with a local person in the county for months while the case played out. The owner was found guilty, thankfully.

But despite the fact HOP has been allowed to rescue horses from this county before, now the Prosecutor insists rescued horses must be auctioned to the highest bidder instead of working with rescues to safely place them.

How can selling previously neglected animals to random highest bidders be a kind option for animals who have suffered for years and years?

Don’t we want to keep them safe?

Keep in mind, many need gelded, farrier work, a lot of handling and specialized care due to long term neglect. Some are healthy, but I’ve talked to many over the last few years who tried to help the herd, and they are NOT TRAINED miniatures.

WV law does not require these animals to be auctioned to the highest bidder. This isn’t routinely done in WV, and it is a harmful public precedent to set if it takes place this month. No seized horses will be safe in any county once this takes place, as other officials will say, “Well, Lewis county did this.” Auction is NOT required by state code. It is allowed, but it isn’t required. It sure isn’t preferred in most places, either.

We have worked in cases across this state, and this is not typical of a case.

What we propose is a 2 part plan:

  1. Work with HSUS, who seems to be willing to offer assistance, and defer to placement with reputable rescues and animal welfare organizations.
  2. If placement isn’t possible with rescues and national organizations who handle equine welfare cases, then Adopt the horses out through the county with a fee, making sure colts and stallions leave gelded, to applicants who fill out a one page application and agreement (this was done in Hampshire County in 2011 with a massive herd) and include their farrier and vet information, as well as agree to not breed, auction or sell the adoptive equine for profit.


Lewis County Prosecutor

(304) 269-8240

Also: http://lewiscountywv.org/index.html

Also, please chime in on this post by a commissioner in this county: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153962959983650&id=789713649&__mref=message_bubble


Do not call the sheriff or ACO. They are not who made this decision.


Be polite and to the point. Explain that a horse auction for previously neglected horses seems very unkind. Explain that there are resources to safer placements, as mentioned above.

5 thoughts on “Lewis County, WV: Please do not auction the Seized Miniature Horses. Instead, let them be adopted out to screened, suitable homes.

  1. I find this extremely unacceptable. The welfare of these animals should be the first and ONLY priority here. How can auctioning them to the highest bidder ensure that they will not end up in yet another neglect situation? Unless you investigate and background check every single person planning on bidding than you can not guarantee this won’t happen. Please consider what you are doing. As city officials I would think you would be more responsible when it comes to issues of animal welfare and well being. We as human beings are supposed to be the voice for the animals.

  2. Just so everyone doesn’t think these horses all went to neglectful homes, here is my story… I successfully bid and purchased #37 (Now named “Gypsy”). She was definitely unhandled, untrained, and didn’t know any positive touch until she came to live on my 38 acre farm. She has a nice clean stall, plenty of fresh water and grass/hay, and loads of attention. She is THRIVING!!! From a mini that wouldn’t let you catch her, my daughter and I have worked patiently and gently since Aug 19, 2016 and she is now doing the following… coming to the gate to greet me, letting me pet her all over (even her belly), pick up her feet and clean them, groom her, walk her on a loose lead, etc. She will walk, trot, whoa (after 4 steps – – we are still fine tuning this) and back on voice command! Last night she let me put the saddle pad and saddle on her with no movement! This is AMAZING considering it has only been slightly over a month since I got her. She has bonded to me and is my little shadow. I hope to train her to pull a cart someday. She walks over plywood, bags, bridges, and doesn’t spook or shy away. She steps over cavilleties (sorry, can’t spell) beautifully. She has made this woman’s days’ worth living! I enjoy getting up and greeting her every morning and saying good night to her every evening. Her stall is cleaned a MINIMUM of twice a day. She can go out and eat grass in two big pastures and return to the safety and shelter of the barn. She is not afraid of my dogs, the 4-wheeler, cars, loud noises, etc. We are still working on her getting used to sudden movements, although she doesn’t spook, just moves over and looks to see what is going on. I have tremors (sometimes severe) and she is used to my touch. I absolutely ADORE my little Miss Gypsy!!! I don’t know what I would do without her at this point. She is LOVED, cared for, and yes, even a little spoiled! I am not a horse trainer. I am just a person who respects, and loves the creatures God has placed in my life. We are learning together and enjoying every minute of it. She nickers to me when she hears me coming and looks forward to our time together.

Leave a Reply