California officials announced Tuesday that a second arrest has been made in the horse theft case involving a brand inspector.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Department says Billy Ray Brown, Jr., was arrested on suspicion of transporting horses out of state for slaughter for human consumption. Brown owns B&B Livestock, a livestock auction house.
Sheriff John Anderson also confirmed one of the stolen horses was shipped out of state for slaughter.
California Brand Inspector Summer Tex was arrested last month on a charge of grand theft. Tex was supposed to ship two aged, but sound horses, Lacey and Squirt, to Harris Ranch for their owner in August 2013, but the equines never arrived. The Quarter Horses were to be retired to a “Pasture Buddies” program at the ranch.
Officials say a paper trail leads from Madera to Florence Packing Company in Stanwood, Washington where ownership changed hands on September 12, 2013. The horses were then taken into Canada. Since Lacey (pictured) was branded, the sheriff’s department confirms the mare was inspected and shipped to Bouvry Exports, a slaughterhouse located in Alberta, Canada. Squirt was not branded, but it is believed he was also sold for slaughter and died with Lacey.
Paperwork produced to get the horses inspected was fraudulent. The horses’ owner was listed as a Lebanon, Oregon resident who was not Billy Brown, Jr. When the subject listed on the document was contacted he told authorities he had no idea who Bill Ray Brown, Jr. was, and that he did not sell any horses to him.
According to Washington state authorities, had they known the horses were illegally transported out of the state of California to a facility used typically as a transfer station for slaughter, the equines’ lives could have been spared.
Brown could face a maximum prison sentence of up to three years if he is found guilty.