OKEECHOBEE, FL -- The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office auctioned off 15 wild mustangs Thursday.
Deputies spent five months rounding up the wild horses after they suspect a rancher abandoned them.
"If we can ever prove it they will be dealt with by the law," said Okeechobee Co. Sheriff Paul May.
Richard Cuoto of Miami's Animal Recovery Mission
traveled to Okeechobee for the auction. He was concerned that slaughterhouses would buy up the animals for profit.
His fears proved unfounded, but his group cornered the market anyhow, buying 11 of the horses - some for as little as $5 each.
Private individuals and two other animal organizations picked up the remaining four horses.
At $600, the sheriff's auction didn't begin to recover his $3000 in expenses for collecting and caring for the animals, but he says the effort was well worth the time and money.
"We lost, we lost, but the horses won," he said.