If You Own Donkeys or Mules-They’re Not Safe

Source: The Donkey Sanctuary Right now, millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins – the gelatin in the hide being a key ingredient in the prized traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao (e-gee-yow). A new report by The Donkey Sanctuary reveals the shocking […]

via Under the Skin – Donkeys at Risk — Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Stolen Horse International can, if notified promptly, help with the search for stolen animals. The problem is that most people assume that law enforcement will do an exhaustive search. It’s not that they don’t try-they do. The problem is that they have so much to do and so little to do it with. The owner is basically left with a piece of paper saying ‘yes, your animal was probably stolen’ and that’s about as much-realistically-as you are going to get.

The result? The owner is left in the dark and the animal-well, who knows? It might be pulled out by a private buyer (we can all hope!), a rescue group might fight for it (again-that’s a hope), or it will go to slaughter (which none of us want, but is a reality). This whole thing is not good.

Oh, you can try to do this on your own-and lots of people do. I don’t recommend it for several reasons.

  1. No one person is going to have the incredible contacts and reach in social media that this band of volunteers has amassed over the nearly 20 years they’ve been working. That’s just a fact.
  2. No one individual has thousands of horse related email addresses already lined up and ready to go.
  3. They know who to contact and where.
  4. Using the tools that they will give you puts you ahead of the game. All you have to do is follow their lead. That’s great when you are frustrated, angry, and spinning your wheels.

The fees are affordable. If you can afford to keep a horse, you cannot afford not to use this service. It’s that simple. Be smart when the chips are down and your best friend is missing.

 

Searching for Two Mares

Looking for Pearl and Piper  The breeder is looking for Too Sexy for My Tux and One Hot Moon Pie (registered names) or Pearl and Piper. Their sire is getting some age on him and she wants to find these two babies of his. They may be considered as grade horses now, but they were sold originally as Paints.

If you have information on either one, please use the contact information on the webpage to get in touch with the breeder. Feel free to share-you never know who might be the person who has that piece of information you’re looking for.

Getting Involved

henrybuddy5050

This happened in my home state-not too far from where I live. So not only did I have the usual “oh, no, not another horse theft” reaction, but it was also “not in MY backyard you don’t!” response. Now I’m not being naive or silly. I know there are probably other thefts in the state that I’m simply not aware of. In fact, I’d bet money on it. I also know that horses are known to disappear because of various kinds of civil disputes-somebody didn’t pay their board bill, went too long without checking on a horse they left on a “friend’s” farm and, guess what, both friend and horse are long gone, and what seems like endless variations on the theme. There are also the lost ones-they dump a rider on a trail ride, jump a fence, bolt for some reason, etc. But the thefts make me just angry.

The rest of the volunteers and I got busy and went to work. So did the mother and daughter who owned the horses-and they poured themselves into it. Phone calls, social media posts, fliers being posted, thousands of emails going out, TV coverage-and soon someone called that they thought they had the palomino, Buddy. He was some miles away which gave us an idea of which direction to look in for the other horse as well.

It turned out that he did have Buddy-so that was one recovered, but one still missing. We kept up the barrage of internet and email notices. Before another 48 hours had passed, we had messages from one of the thieves-they wanted to give the other horse back because they couldn’t sell him! (Broke our hearts, let me tell you!) They dumped him in a woman’s pasture-she called the owners-and they went to pick him up.

What happens to the thieves? That’s up to law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office. Our team of volunteers was interested only in the well-being and recovery of the two horses-and we accomplished what we were there for.

Now-were we paid? Not in the usual sense, no. There is a very modest fee of $25 to file the report. For that they got 3 people working 12 hour days for 4 days. You do the math. I’d say they got more than their money’s worth. Video link-Henry and Buddy

Yep-it’s a wonderful world we live in.

 

Busy Time of Year-and Not Because of Holidays

boloI used to get into the whole Christmas-holiday thing-decorating, baking, going to see people, buying gifts, and all the whoop-de-do. Then I got older-the money got tighter and tigher, the little kids became big kids, some people actually DIED, and just maybe I got smarter? I don’t know.

But the older I get the less I do and the less I need to do. Oh, I enjoy getting a Christmas card or two-simply because I enjoy hearing from old friends. But truth be told-you can do that any time of year. We just don’t and Christmas gives us a reason to reconnect. That’s fine and I’m not down playing it. I just don’t have the postage money. I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat.

However, there are a few, well, I won’t call them ‘people’ because of what they do, but the word ‘jerk’ will do-who decide that they will ‘make some cash’ by taking advantage of all the distraction caused by the holiday running around to steal other people’s horses, cattle, trucks, trailers, and tack. Then they take this to the sales (with forged bills of sale and other documents) and sell quickly. OR in the case of the trucks and trailers, they might ‘chop’ them and sell for parts or scrap metal for profit. Turnover is generally 3-7 days. It is, essentially, free money-unles you get caught.

That’s where the organization that I volunteer for-Stolen Horse International or ‘NetPosse’-comes in. We try to make it impossible for these jerks to have the opportunity to sell by blanketing the entire area in notifications via social media, regular media, people handing out fliers, putting up notices, calling auctions, notifying dealers, etc.about the theft and what to look for. In essence, we super-saturate the area. In one instance that I know of, the thief told his girlfriend that the ‘internet has just blown up-we can’t move the product anywhere.’ That was the reaction we were looking for. We got those horses back within a week and he and his accomplice were both arrested and charged. We don’t have  the authority to arrest, but we were darn proud of getting the horses back.

If you want to be a part of this fantastic group of volunteers or just want to support the work that we do (it is a 501(c)(3)), click here.

 

 

 

Benefits of Microchipping Your Horse

I will just list them.

  • When properly registered, a microchip is the unique and unalterable link to the owner of the animal. That should be self-explanatory.
  • Health records are easier to track for vets-this is critical for pre-purchase or breeding exams.
  • Health certificates can be linked to the chips for shipping, showing, racing, and/or sales.
  • Registrations of foals at or close to birth, especially coupled with DNA testing, virtually  eliminates doubt of identity of parentage even when born to surrogate mares.
  • Ownership of horses can be easily traced because a ‘passport’ unique to each horse would follow it from birth to the grave.

The downside? So far-quite honestly, I haven’t found one.

Now I will say-for a couple of my horses, it did make their necks sore for a couple of days. BUT-l will also say this-they were also horses that did not put their heads down that much. The ones that did, didn’t have any problems. I think it was the repetitive stretching down to graze and eat that took the soreness out. Just for whatever it’s worth to you.

Questions? Ask me. Or go to Stolen Horse International and look under the tab for Services. There’s a link for Equine Identification.

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Chasing Stolen Horses

henrybuddy5050

This was in my home state practically ‘next door’ to where we live. It seems incredible to most people that someone would steal a horse, but they do-and, in many cases, they get away with it. Why? It doesn’t seem logical at first, but it really is very reasonable when you learn the facts.

  • Horses are surprisingly easy to transport and resale. There are supposed to be laws regarding this, but they are quite lax and easily worked around.
  • Most horse owners do not keep adequate records on their horses. By that I mean they do not keep bills of sale, registration papers, photographs, vet bills, Coggins, health certificates, farrier bills, show records, etc. organized and in one place. They can’t prove that a horse is actually THEIRS if their lives depended on it.
  • Owners rarely-rarely-do anything toward permanetly identifying a horse. I guess they think that they can walk out to a holding pen, point their finger, and say, “That’s my horse-give it back.” Nope-sorry, doesn’t work that way. Especially when somebody else is standing there holding a bill of sale that says that same horse belongs to THEM. Guess what John Law is going to do? That’s right-he’s going to side with the person who holds the paperwork. You lose.
  • Auction owners and managers do not know nor do they care where a horse comes from. What they care about is the consignment fee they get when the horse is sold. They want the animals run through quickly and get them off the property. That’s wonderful news for horse thieves, kill buyers, and horse ‘flippers’. Terrible news for horse owners. However-most of them will work with us. Being known as a place where this goes down is bad for business for the most part.
  • The public is genuinely unaware that this really does go on. Even law enforcement doesn’t have a clue on how to react or how to deal with it. We teach as we go.

Fortunately, in this case, the owners came to us immediately so we could get to work to stop the resale before they really got started with their plans. That is critical to making a recovery happen. They never got the horses more than about 100-150 miles from their home.

We blanketed the entire area with notifications on social media and emails. People were putting up that flier everywhere in Georgia and the rest of the Southeast. Auctions were being called. TV stations were doing stories. It became impossible for them to ‘move the product’.

Those horses disappeared on 9/21, but they were back home by 9/26.

What’s going on with the thieves? Don’t know-that’s a question for law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office as the case is still under investigation. Our job is finished.

Now-did we get paid for all this? Well, there is a filing fee of $25. That got them 3 unpaid volunteers working 10-12 hour days for nearly 5 days. I will let you do the math.

Satisfying? Immensely so. You can watch the videos on the Stolen Horse International Facebook page to see the pure joy and relief captured on the images there.

Atlanta Journal Constitution article

Henry County Herald

NetPosse YouTube

captureFundraiser shirts Remembering Idaho

All proceeds raised go to supporting Stolen Horse International, 501(c)(3) organization. 6 styles, 5 colors each $19.99-$34.99 Sale ends soon! Pay it ahead-support what we do. Victim support, horse recovery, education, liaison for law enforcement, valuable resource.

Mistakes I See People Making–

Don’t want to seem harsh or critical-because this is something that I’ve learned through observation and I feel it is not just tragic, but avoidable-most of the time. Sometimes it isn’t. Life can be like that-it will bite us while we are busy making other plans and I will be the first to tell you that I’ve been bitten more than a few times. I’d just like to same somebody else’s heart-and butt-from the pain.

  • When you buy/lease/loan/give away a horse-for heaven’t sake, write out a Bill of Sale and make two copies-one for each party. I don’t really care if the horse is worth $1 or $100K-take the time to do it.
  • Get somebody else to “witness” both of you signing that paperwork-and they need to sign it as well. Then make a photo of you/them/horse in ONE PHOTO and make sure the photo is automatically dated. (if you don’t know how to do that on your cell phone, either read the manual or go to your provider and they’ll show you.) Send a copy to the other person.
  • Put copies of all documentation-Bills of sale, Coggins, vet records, breed registration, photos, microchip certificate. show records, etc. into at LEAST two places-I recommend a file cabinet AND an online place such as Google Docs, OneDrive, Box, DropBox, or some other electronic archive. If you register with the NIP ™ Registry, you can stash it there.
  • If you are leasing or loaning a horse-go check on the horse. I don’t mean call. I mean go check on the horse. Get your butt out there. People have a lot harder time lying about what happened to your horse face to face.
  • Remember-just because you think the person ‘looks’ trustworthy doesn’t mean that they are. Go check them out, ask for references, check those references-and do not be shy. Your horse’s life could depend on it.  Many, many horses never make it to those ‘good’ homes.
  • Once you sell a horse-you have no way to control what happens. That ‘first right of refusal’ thing is a thing that is touted a lot. It doesn’t work. If somebody wants to turn around and sell your horse to slaughter-there is nothing to stop them. NOTHING. Legally, it is their horse to do what they want to with. How do they get by with it? Very simple-it costs a lot of money and a whole lot of time to bring a lawsuit about a broken contract. In the meantime, your horse is long gone. That’s reality.
  • Waiting and hoping the horse will come home. If your horse is missing-call NetPosse right then. Don’t wait. It takes anywhere from 3-7 days for a horse to go from your pasture to either Canada or Mexico. Much less than that in Florida-they are gone overnight. If you wait-you’re gambling with your horse’s life.

Is this some tough language? Yeah-probably for some folks. I hope it’s a wake up for some.