I work with an organization named Stolen Horse International because it is different from the usual “we’re raising funds to save _____ (fill in the blank of the hip number, name, description) of the horse(s), mules(s), or donkey(s)”  in dire distress groups. I can’t go to the sales and auctions because I’d bring all of them home with me or go to jail for beating up somebody. (Besides the fact my spouse would shoot me if I did.) They have their place and their supporters-and that’s fine. I can’t be into that part of things. That’s aside from the fact that I have my own opinions  and they have theirs. We work together sometimes-but you have to pick your battles.

The battles this group fights is that of what is primarily rural crime-that of people who steal or otherwise make horses and other livestock disappear behind the owner’s back. Note the ‘otherwise disappear’ part. This refers to the taking of the horse or livestock because of unpaid board bills, unpaid trainer’s or farrier’s bills, divorce proceedings, parents or ‘friends’ selling horses while the owner moves or is deployed, etc. There are many reasons-some of them very legal-for this to happen.

There’s also the panic that ensues when livestock of any kind escapes for any cause-break in the fence, tornado, storms, wildfires, floods, spooks and heads for who knows where, or a gate left open. If there’s a way for horses and livestock to get loose, they’ll find it.

This group’s mission is to help owners find them against some pretty heavy odds-including the fact that nefarious people will take them to sales with bogus papers to sell for slaughter. It takes a village and a website to pull it off. It takes experience, contacts, many people working sometimes around the clock, thousands of social media contacts on several  different ones, and direct email ALERTS to individuals, organizations, and media outlets.