The Crook County Sheriff's Office has been caring for 75 livestock, including 55 horses and 20 cattle, since January, after a Powell Butte ranchhand was arrested and charged with dozens of counts of neglect.
On Tuesday, the animals were supposed to be sold at an auction on the Crook County Courthouse steps. But the postponement surprised everyone.
"I'm sorry to tell you that we are postponing the sale until May 4th at 9:00 a.m.," said District Attorney Daina Vitolins told a small crowd that had gathered to watch (or take part in) the proceedings.
About a dozen people had gathered at of the courthouse for the foreclosure lien auction, all wanting to know who will buy the 75 animals in need of a home.
But Tuesday's delay means the horses will remain in the care of the sheriff's office for at least two weeks, increasing the cost
The community has helped by donating money and tons of feed, but the sheriff's office is still in charge of taking care of them. It's already spent more than $22,000 doing so.
"The sheriff's office or Crook County isn't in the horse business," Sheriff Jim Hensley said a couple of weeks ago, when we asked him about the case.
"We know one individual has been interested," Hensley said."(He) wants to come down and bid on them as a lot as they are going to be sold for."
Vitolins acted on behalf of the county counsel Tuesday, saying the delay was a legal matter.
"We need additional time in order to make some arrangements to conduct the sale properly," Vitolins said.
The county wants to sell the livestock as fast as possible -- caring for them costs about $ 500 dollars a day.
But Vitolins said she wants to make sure the process is done properly.
"We need to do it right -- we can't do it haphazardly," Vitolins said.
The auction was public so people could have placed a bid or just watched like Jim D'Andrea.
"I like the experience of it, and I like to learn things from it," D'Andrea said."This one should be kind of interesting."
The horses could be sold to slaughter, but the county hopes that doesn't happen.
"That's not what are intentions are here," Hensley said. "We do have people that are bidding on them."
"From that point, we will see what happens next, why the postponement and really what's going on," D'Andrea said.
The county's legal counsel said recently the county will bid up to the amount its owed for caring for the animals. And if they are the top bidder, the county could then legally adopt out the animals individually, and recoup their costs. But the chances still remain of a top bidder who could possibly sell them as a group for slaughter.