Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Five Gazillion Served, Just This Year!

A friend of mine made what I consider to be the Best Comment Ever about some horse rescues on another board today. Allow me to quote:

"They like sitting around and saying I saved X many horses. If they could they probably would put a sign out front like Mickey D's."

She goes on to point out that those who are into the numbers game are the same ones who get in over their heads and then wind up whining for help all over the Internet, or worse yet, wind up getting raided by Animal Control. They are the ones who will later excuse the rain rot and the thrush and the low body condition scores and the bad feet by whining that they're a rescuuuuuuue and they don't have any heeeeelp and it's so haaaaard and hay is so expensive...

*passes out cheese to go with whine...*

Well, you know how you deal with high prices and needing help? It's called getting a J-O-B. Possibly more than one. Many of you who spend your time whining all over the Internet for money somehow think that having 10 or 20 horses at home is a full time job. Um, no. Having 10 or 20 horses at home means you have to get up at 5 AM before work and feed, and it means that after you come home at night, you have feeding and cleaning and doctoring and perhaps exercising to do. It is not easy. It is exhausting. But it is also a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to rescue horses.

Of course, you have to WANT to get a job (or at least accept that you don't have a choice in the matter!). I notice a lot of rescuers are on disability a.k.a. "leeching off our tax dollars." Here's one report from a visitor to Choctaw Ridge rescue in Missouri: "I heard Beverly mention that they were going to have to postdate a check to pay for hay and that she was counting on her disability check to cover what she was planning on buying at the next stock sale on April 29th. My friend and I were both thinking that she should forget the sale and put the money toward some quality feed and foot trimming for all of the ones we saw." Touche. And ya know what, if you're healthy enough to stand around in pictures holding various horsies, YOU ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO WORK. Stop cheating the taxpayers and get off your duff!

Now we need to address what proper rescue is. Again, usual disclaimer, this is my opinion. You may feel free to disagree. I think rescue means rescuing for life. By that I mean that you don't just overpay a killer buyer to gain a horse's freedom and then scream all over the Internet "WE SAVED HIM FROM THE TRUCK!" and bask in the glow of your gullible donors telling you what an "angel" you are. Instead, you actually make your very best effort to fix everything that's wrong with Punkin and make sure he's still in a good home ten years later!

1. First of all, stop financing the kill buyers, you fools! Rescue straight from the auction, the prices are 1/3 what you pay Chuck Walker and Charlie Carter and guys like them, who have got your number and are laughing all the way to the bank. Or rescue from Craigslist and the local papers. Plenty of free horses there who need your help. Plenty coming off the racetracks too - often for free. LOPE in Texas puts out alerts on free TB's quite frequently. They can hook you up for sure. It is not hard at all to find a rescue project, and you should not have to pay more than $300 for one EVER.

2. Second of all, you need to do ALL the vet work and get the feet done and evaluate the behavior/riding potential BEFORE, BEFORE, BEFORE you adopt out. You lazy jackasses who just flip horses left and right and send unhandled stock to people who have no freakin' clue how to manage something more complicated than their 15 year old AQHA gelding or horses with severe health issues to novice horsepeople...you suck. You are not rescuing those horses. You are merely pocketing money as you set them up for a detour where they wind up hurting someone or their health issues go untreated out of ignorance and eventually they go right back on another double-decker. This is NOT rescue. The horse on the left is shown as confiscated from a "rescuer." Yeah, good job there. Asshole. (To clarify, Blaze's Tribute, which rehabbed this horse later, is a good rescue. They got him from an A.C. seizure from a bad rescue.)

3. Third, you need to have a CONTRACT. I am amazed at the number of rescue horror stories I hear where the rescue has to admit they did not get a contract before handing the horse off to the horse neglecter/horse abuser/bestiality practitioner. My God people, this is basic. Get a contract, preferably one drafted by a lawyer. Get it signed by an adult, before the horse goes anywhere out of your sight.

4. Fourth, you need to SITE CHECK. And see, I know you people who are adopting out 300 horses a year probably aren't doing that. Maybe one or two rescues like that, particularly well staffed ones, have devised a system to accomplish this - but most of you have not. You accept photographs (could be the neighbor's property) or references (hey, Susie, when they call, tell them my place is a showplace and make sure you don't mention those two horses Animal Control took last year!) over checking things out yourselves. And so horses go off to barbed wire hell with a pond for water and some moldy hay that was on sale for $1.50 a bale. Again, this is not rescue.

5. Fifth, you need to FOLLOW UP. Again, this means getting off your butt and going for a visit. And if you see things aren't right, you have to put on your Big Girl pants and request changes, and if your instructions aren't followed, repo the horse per your contract This means making sure that you are not already so overwhelmed that you cannot possibly take the horse back because you have no place to put him. Any rescue horse should be considered as a potential boomerang. If you cannot or will not take back a horse you have adopted out, that's not rescue.

Now, potential adopters, it's also up to you to use your head. Just because something has a 501(c)(3) does NOT mean it is a good rescue! Here's a lovely pic of conditions at Sleepy Hollow Horse Rescue in Washington State. Sleepy Hollow HAD their 501(c)(3). It bears noting that the treasurer of SHHR who used to host their web site at her personal domain is now president of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, another 501(c)(3). (More info here) The bad rescuers NEVER get out of business...they change their location and name but the b.s. continues. (Much like sleazy used car dealers). I can name two rescuers in my immediate area who are being investigated by Animal Control and I'm praying they lose every one of their horses - it's a long time coming in both cases. And that's just my area. Good God, people. Here's a clue, if Animal Control is on your doorstep and it's not to drop off a horse and thank you profusely for your help, then you've become part of the problem.

Of course it's hard to say no. I rescue on a small scale and right now, I cannot take a horse. I am at capacity with horses that must be permanent residents due to physical issues. However, I help network horses, I'll haul if needed, I'm going to be doing some training for another rescue, and I've done a follow up visit on a previous placement just today. There are a lot of ways to help without taking on another horse when you know you cannot afford it/do not have room for it.

I'm sure someone will take this post as bashing rescues, but I'm not at all. I'm saying USE YOUR HEAD...don't patronize a bad rescue any more than you patronize a backyard breeder. They are equally bad news. If you want to rescue a horse, go to your local auction OR choose a rescue that can tell you everything about the horse you're considering, including the results of a vet exam after his rescue. Instead of being offended if a rescue checks you out thoroughly, be appreciative of the fact that this is a rescue that actually cares where the horse goes and is not just looking for you to write them a check and get another horse out of their hair. If you have money to donate, choose a rescue that is very public about their financials and where the money goes. Do a little research, just as with buying from a breeder - don't pitch your money at some sloth who doesn't want to get a job just because the pictures on their web site look pretty and the stories make you cry!

Hey, you morons at Carsley Horse Ranch and Rescue? RESCUERS DON'T RIDE FOALS! For fuck's sake, are you smoking crack down there? This baby's back end looks bad enough! ARE YOU PEOPLE COMPLETELY INSANE???

This is our Grand Prize Award Winner for today though. Meadow Haven Horse Rescue . As an alert reader points out (bullets are hers):

* They are a 501 3c horse rescue facility.

* They take in horses and ponies of any breed or mix.

* They CREATED their own TWO registries to then put select rescued ponies in. No, I'm not kidding.

1) American Pocket Pony
2) Standard Pocket Pony

* Their "assistant trainer" as they call him, is 5 years old. (I think you'd call him a guinea pig)

* They then BREED these mixed ponies to sell the offspring, or sell the now "registered" ponies for a PROFIT.

" A portion of the profit goes to "feed the rescue horses".

* They also charge for anyone to register their ponies in these new registries, hence making more money.

* They ALSO breed CKC registered Dachsunds and sell them to "fund the horse rescue"!! They sell the pups online via paypal and will ship them by plane. (In case you did not know, the CKC lets you register ANY dog as long as you sign a paper that says you "swear" it's purebred!!!! You can print the form right from the CKC web site...I did.) In other words, they are also a backyard breeder of mutts too!! But with a good cause of course!!

I agree with my alert reader. Although I am not opposed to a rescue sharing quarters with a legitimate breeding or training operation, WTF is a pocket pony? These people are just breeding mutt ponies and not very good looking ones at that. Not to mention the Crackerjack Kennel Club registered doxies. I will let their own words speak for themselves (with my comments in blue, of course!)

"We are now on 58 acres (mostly underwater per pics on the front page of the site) but we are still limited as to how many horses we can accept because we are lacking fencing at this time. (That's because we are also lacking jobs and lacking any motivation to acquire jobs. Hot tape and t-posts are cheap, you twits.) We average 2 new horses a week and have to turn away just as many because we do not have stalls or pastures area to rehabilitate them in. We are opening a building fund for anyone who would like to contribute. At present only 10 acres are fenced and we do not have a barn, only 2 run in shelters. (Because god forbid you have the good judgment to wait to rescue 2 new horses a week until you have the proper facilities first) Since we rely entirely on donations we need your help! (Why do you rely entirely on donations? Too lazy to get a job or too stupid? I think Mickey D's will take just about anybody with a pulse. Give it a shot!) If you can donate to our building fund, we can happily give you a tax reciept so you can get a tax break at the end of the year (please check with your acountant to find out more), as we are a non- profit 501 c 3 corporation. We have an attorney who can help you with this bequest anything you may like to donate. " (You sound smart enough to get jobs, even if you can't spell 'receipt.' You sure do understand tax breaks! Amazing how you can afford an attorney but not fencing, isn't it?)

*sigh* Ridiculous. I could keep writing this post all night but I'll stop here...