Missing & Presumed Stolen-Rare Heritage Marsh Tacky Horses

5217RiverYago

Link to River & Yago’s webpage

There are only about 400 of these horses in the world and somebody stole these two. That’s pretty low, folks. River and Yago are gentle and friendly-used for educational purposes, Civil War reenactments, and children’s mounts. Use the above link to go to their web page to download their flier to distribute to the public and hand out to those who don’t do social media. Put up fliers in public spots so people will see it and be aware of the search. Pass this information along to anyone you wish as long as you do not change the details. Help get River and Yago back home. Thank you.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Volunteering

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.