The discussion going under the FB photo reveals the shelter is not putting him up for adoption, but rather holding an auction for him. Umm...what? According to some of the others commenting on the photo, this is not too unusual a practice, and can be done privately and/or online. Again--I've never heard of such a thing. Have you?
Well, I am on the fence on this. But, maybe with an auction they can get a bit more, yanno, like people will get their blood up for auctioning against each other?? Then again, how do you vet the people bidding, unless you do it beforehand?? Maybe not a bad idea...IDK....
I am the medical director for a small humane society in Arizona. We routinely (may happen every 2-3 months) auction off dogs and/or cats that have had multiple individuals express an interest to adopt. It is a way to increase revenue which we need in order to save more animals. Auction participants/adopters are required to meet the same criteria as they would for any routine adoption. The auction is silent and the animal goes home with the highest "qualified" bidder. In a time when cats are pick your price, dogs are often $40, all fully vaccinated and sterilized, any means that provides additional income that still allows us to screen adopters is a go in my book. We currently do not deal with horses though my husband does. He's the state vet and unwanted/lost/ownership contested livestock fall under his jurisdiction. The State regularly auctions off unwanted (stray) horses if they are not claimed by the end of their hold period or they are euthanized. Often there is no one to bid on them. It's really not an unheard of practice.
For instance in Texas (which I know isn't CA), if horses are seized the JP who hears the case can order them to auction, order them euthanized, or order them turned over to a nonprofit animal welfare organization. If horses are found estray, they have to be held for a minimum number of days and then if the owner isn't found, they can go to auction or to a nonprofit animal welfare organization. In Texas, there are no state laws on how livestock that's voluntarily given to a shelter is disposed of (selling, auction, euthanasia, rescue), but other locations may have laws that govern that.
Sometimes, too, smaller shelters don't know how to deal with large animals and auction is a relatively easy way to do it. It is hard to imagine it could be a fundraising venture - our adoption fees are at an all-time low and if we tried to auction off a horse I cannot imagine it would bring much (unless someone donated a well-trained show horse).
I've also seen animal shelters do the auction thing but require that any bidders be pre-approved so they can check them out. Or require that the winning bidder must be checked out before the purchase is final.