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Group tries to save horses from slaughter

DeKALB - A man dashed across First Street and along Harvestore Drive around 7:40 a.m. Thursday to a pickup truck pulling a lone trailer on the driveway in front of Cavel International. The man and the truck's driver briefly exchanged words, and then the truck continued through the gates onto the horse slaughterhouse's property. The man walked back to a group of five people gathered in a parking lot across the street and shook his head. &#8220We just want to save a horse,” said Sue Balla, one of the group. &#8220We're willing to pay the same price or better.” They had been denied three times in about 30 minutes. Balla, a Sycamore resident, runs the Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption in Elburn. She said the group gathered near the plant was willing to purchase horses. She said it would benefit horse owners to sell their horses now before Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption - which presumably would lower the going price for unwanted horses. The state Senate passed the ban on May 16. It has already passed the House. Blagojevich press secretary Gerardo Cardenas said the governor is expected to sign the bill sometime in the next two months. &#8220The governor has indicated he will sign it,” Cardenas said. &#8220It has to go through the normal bill review process, which can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days. So it will be somewhere in that framework.” Local anti-horse-slaughter advocate Angela Valianos had been at the scene since about 5 a.m. when she first heard about a double-decker trailer dropping off horses at the plant. She claimed it's illegal to transport horses in double-decker trailers. DeKalb Police Lt. Jim Kayes said police were called to the scene in regard to a report around 5:40 a.m. of a suspicious vehicle, but no tickets were issued. &#8220I don't think it was an actual complaint,” Cavel Manager Jim Tucker said. &#8220It was a double-decker trailer, but it wasn't being used as a double-decker.” The five people had about $14,000, raised by an informal horse-rescue group called The Friends of Barbaro, to purchase the animals, Balla said. Told about the group of people trying to buy horses, Tucker said, &#8220If somebody wants to buy horses, they can go to the horse auction.” Balla said later Thursday morning that some of the horses were pre-purchased by the plant, and drivers could not negotiate with the group. &#8220We weren't able to save any horses,” she said. The group was asked to leave a private parking lot around 9:20 a.m. Staff Writer Dana Herra contributed to this report. Aracely Hernandez can be reached at ahernandez@daily-chronicle.com.

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