Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going Once, Going Twice . . . SOLD; This Auction Is a Small Animal Attraction

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going Once, Going Twice . . . SOLD; This Auction Is a Small Animal Attraction

Article excerpt

Byline: John Pemberton, The Times-Union

As the blazing orange sky sunset fades into night, big pickup trucks loaded with small animals pull into the dusty parking lot of Kerr's Auction House on Jacksonville's Westside.

Smiles and handshakes are passed around, arms crossed over each other as old and new friends greet one another. Ball caps, cowboy hats, jeans and overalls are the dress code for men.

Auctioneer Randy Kerr sits atop a wooden stool, metal clipboard and ink pen at the ready, his hands tucked behind his denim bib overalls. Kerr is a big man, wearing a ball cap shading a stern face that quickly breaks into a big smile. Kerr checks in animals that are about to be auctioned and assigns a number to each.

Randy and Leslie Kerr's small animal auction draws more than a hundred people, twice a month, to bid on the farm stock, rodents and birds.

A silver tent covers the garage door opening of the concrete-block auction house. The open doors expose the inside of the building, where tables hold every kind of flea market find -- toys, household appliances, plastic flowers and tools.

"Randy's whole family is into the auction business," Leslie Kerr said. "He sells here, in Lawtey on alternate Thursday nights and in the daytime he works auctioning off goods left in storage buildings around Northeast Florida."

Helper Jeremy Joiner waves to the driver of the pickup truck as they make eye contact in the truck's side mirror. "C'mon back," Joiner yells as he points with his hands. The truck, loaded with wire cages, backs up under the tent, and prospective buyers begin to crowd around to see what it has brought.

Outside the building, animal cages are stacked in the cool air. Wire cages, both homemade and store-bought, hold the cackling, snorting and honking animals. Cute pigs for pets and big pigs for food. Green cockatiels, large gray geese, backyard chickens, fancy chickens and crowing roosters. Bunnies of every color, size and breed. Dogs and cats are not sold at this auction. It is more of a Noah's Ark of animals than a pet store.

Many of the bidders are folks who live in the country and have some land to raise animals. …

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