Horse auctioneers to be stopped from taking buyers for a ride thanks to bipartisan bill passed by Assembly

TRENTON, N.J. –Legislation approved by the Assembly today (S445/A3673) will require horse auctioneers to release identifying information of a horse before a sale, saving horses that mistakenly end up at auction houses and preventing unscrupulous auctioneers from duping buyers.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Kevin J. Rooney (R-Bergen) and Ron Dancer (R-Ocean) would requirehorse auctioneers to determine if a horse has a microchip, or identifying tattoo or brand and post the information online at least 72 hours before they sell the horse at auction.

“Thankfully, microchips have made identification easier, which is why scanning should be a requirement,” said Rooney. “This legislation helps protects horses and buyers and holds auctioneers responsible for keeping accurate and timely records.”

Since tattoos and brands are not always clear, auctioneers will often rely on a horse’s general appearance for identifying information.  This practice can create a nightmare for an unwitting buyer and a corrupt auction organizer who will use a well-bred horse’s identification papers on a similar looking horse.

Dancer, who spent more than two decades as a professional trainer and driver with the late national hall of famer Stanley Dancer’s Horse Racing Stables, said, “It is a great tragedy when a race horse is erroneously marked for slaughterhouse sale or when a horse accidentally ends up at an auction. Requiring auction organizers to post information will reunite horses with their rightful or previous owners.”

The legislation would require auctioneers to maintain records of any horse they sell for at least one year. Records would need to include a horse’s identifying information, such as the microchip, tattoo, or brand, the date and time the auctioneer posted the information online, and the date and time the horse was sold. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of $200 for a first offense and $500 for any subsequent offenses.

The bill now advances to the Senate.