Louisiana Department Of Agriculture Sanctions Bail Pen Operators; Lot Sets Up Shop In Texas

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture announced sanctions against operators of a high-profile social media bail pen on Thursday. At a regular meeting of the Department’s Board of Animal Health, officials announced impending permanent injunctions against Gary and Jacob Thompson, as well as fines for Jacob Thompson and Tara Sanders. According to charging documents, the actions stemmed from the trio operating without livestock dealer permits, which are required in the state of Louisiana.

Jacob Thompson was fined $23,000 for 23 violations of state code after the Department of Agriculture determined he bought and sold horses in the state within 30 days. Thompson’s longtime partner Sanders was fined $13,000 for 13 violations of state code, including buying and selling horses without a license. The rate of $1,000 per violation is the maximum permitted by state law.

Sanders had an application for a livestock dealer’s permit pending before the Board but has since withdrawn it.

The permanent injunction sought by the Department of Agriculture is intended to stop Gary and Jacob Thompson from buying and selling livestock in the state of Louisiana. Counsel for the department said they have received signed stipulations from both Thompsons and are awaiting a judge’s signature to finalize the permanent injunction.

The process from beginning to end of the state’s quest for such an injunction was about two years and cites incidents going back to 2018.

Jacob Thompson’s livestock dealer permit renewal was denied by the Board in 2018, and a petition from the department alleged that Gary Thompson never held a dealer permit.

All three have at various times been affiliated with Thompson’s Horse Lot in Pitkin, La., where Sanders has maintained the couple bought and horses with the intent to export them to Mexico for slaughter. None of them had a contract with a meat processor in Mexico, but Sanders claimed they worked through dealers to send horses into the slaughter pipeline after buying them at livestock sales. Sanders, together with Jacob Thompson, has offered horses from the lot to be “bailed” by members of the public at high prices with the threat that they will be slaughtered if they are not purchased.

Critics of bail pens say they prey on the emotions of horse lovers to make wider profit margins which are then parlayed into purchasing more horses to either go to slaughter or to fuel the bail business. Sanders has frequently told social media followers that although she makes a profit from the horses, she is offering them for sale as a kindness to horses that would otherwise die.

Read more about the slaughter pipeline in Louisiana in this 2017 Paulick Report feature.

Sanders told the Paulick Report in August 2020 that the requirement to have a livestock dealer’s permit did not apply to her because she maintained residency in Oklahoma. She later announced on the lot’s social media that she had purchased the business from the Thompsons. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, she told followers that she has relocated the business to Texas.

“The reason I moved to Texas is that I’m not dealing with the government in Louisiana, period. I’m not dealing with their rules, their regulations,” said Sanders in a video posted to Facebook on Jan. 27. “Lots of people can say, ‘You just don’t want to follow the law.’ Actually, it’s not that I don’t want to follow the law, it’s just that I grew up in Oklahoma, I lived in Texas for a long time; I don’t want more government in my life. I don’t want a dealer’s permit. I’m not going to pay you every year to get it. I don’t want to do all the things that Louisiana requires to sell livestock there.

“Louisiana is a swamp, and now they want me to obtain a dealer’s permit where I have to go and let them vote on me every year to decide if I can or can’t have it, which means that at all points in time, my livelihood is in the hands of strangers who don’t know me … I dealt with a lot of mean girls in high school and forgive me, but I don’t [expletive] want to be voted on. [Expletive] you and [expletive] that.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Department of Agriculture officials acknowledged that Jacob Thompson and Sanders neither confirmed nor denied the accusations in the charge letter against her. Sanders and the Thompsons were not present at the hearing.

The post Louisiana Department Of Agriculture Sanctions Bail Pen Operators; Lot Sets Up Shop In Texas appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.