BELTON — The Bell County Commissioners Court voted Monday to expand the county’s contract with Rene Bates Auctioneers. The new addendum allows the county to place an unclaimed horse up for sale, as well as authorizes the sale of any future livestock through the company on an as-needed basis.

Ammy James, with the county auditor’s office, told commissioners that putting the horse on the auction block was a last resort.

“We tried to look at rescue organizations first but they didn’t want to take it, so we have to go to auction,” James said,

James told commissioners that none of the rescue organizations contacted could take in another horse at this time.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Richard Cortese said part of the problem with trying to auction horses is that “there’s just no market for them.”

Cortese also wanted to ensure the county would continue using local auction houses for other forms of livestock, such as cattle.

McKinney-based Rene Bates auctioneers specializes in online and live auctions for government, financial and regulatory agencies. In September, Bell County sold a 2003 asphalt distributor truck through the company.

In addition to working with Bell County, the company has contracts with various municipal and county governments throughout the state. Rene Bates clients include Burnet, McLennan and Williamson counties, as well as the city of Harker Heights, the city of Waco and Copperas Cove Independent School District.

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