A new kind of animal rescue scam is going around. I was on Facebook the other night looking at one of the Horses For Sale/Lease/Part Board groups and a post caught my eye. I'm not sure if you guys have these groups for people in your area, but it seems like there are a billion for Ontario riders. There are ones for local cities and ones for the entire Province. Horses for Sale. Tack for Sale. Trailers for Sale. OTTBs Needing Homes....the list goes on. These groups can be great for buying used tack, seeing what clinics are coming up where, and maybe finding that horse of your dreams. However, these groups also seem to be creating a new kind of scam artist.
I saw a post that looked something like this;
"Hi, I am 17 years old and l am looking for ANYTHING; BLANKETS, TACK, BUTE for free as I just rescued a mare. I went to the local auction and as I was leaving a Chestnut mare with 3 socks was getting loaded onto a meat truck. As no one else was there to save the mare, I did the only thing I could and bought the mare from the meat dealer and took her home. She is two years old and completely starved, very very skinny, almost dead. She is full of worms and covered in rain rot from head to toe.
I have spent all my Christmas money on vet bills and buying her so I have no more money to care for her. I really need items donated so she can be properly taken care of and have the best possible life. Since I am only 17 this is a big responsibility and I am really hoping you guys can help me out."
The poster goes on in conversation to say that her parents rescue Thoroughbreds and re home them but since this horse was her idea they will not support her in any way and she will have to take care of everything herself. People ask what items she needs and she said blankets, rain sheets, stable sheets, winter blankets, tack, and BUTE. The most shocking thing of all to me were the people responding immediately asking her where to send money and items. Some people asked for photos and the poster said she did not want to post any as the horse is too disgusting looking and that they will scar everyone for life.
My first inclination is that she is lying. I feel this way for many reasons. First off; no kill buyer will buy a bone thin 2 year old, who is full of worms and covered in rain rot, on deaths door. That will not happen. There are very few kill buyers in Ontario now. Second of all, I do not think any 17 year olds parents would allow their daughter to go to an auction by herself, and buy an almost dead horse - then proceed to let the horse die at their house while running a Thoroughbred rescue themselves. Thirdly, there is no proof whatsoever that this horse exists. Regardless, whether or not said horse exists is not really the main issue.
Here we have good hearted people on the Internet, readily opening their wallets to someone simply because they posted a somewhat convincing post on a Facebook Group. People were commenting that she was a hero, she is so great for saving this horse, without seeing the obvious problem. If you can not afford to take care of animal you rescue, you are not really rescuing it. You are simply removing the animal from one bad situation, and placing it in another.
If I could get others to foot the bill for every animal I took in, then I would take in every single horse and dog that needed a home. Part of giving an animal a second chance, is having the resources to take care of that animal properly. The other major issue here is that people were willing to send this girl BUTE. A 17 year old stranger on the internet. Bute should only ever be supplied from a veterinarian. Not only that but it is known to be taken as a street drug. So now we have good hearted (albeit stupid) people on the internet, ready to ship some 17 year old girl equine pharmaceuticals no questions asked. FACE PALM>
I voiced my concerns and while there some people who agreed with me, most others said I was just a negative person trying to attack a 17 year old girl. I explained I simply want people to KNOW where they are donating before they donate, to make sure their good deeds end up in the right hands, and that no one gets hurt. I suggested the girl re home the horse to someone who had the resources to take proper care of it. I also made a point that if you go on the Internet on a public forum asking for handouts - you better have some solid proof of where that money is going and what it has done. The thread disappeared after that post.
Perhaps the story is true and this girl did rescue this 2 year old mare and just needs help. Unfortunate for the horse, but a hard lesson for the teenager that even though your heart is in the right place, you need to use your head at the same time. No 17 year old girl living at home, should be taking in rescue horses without the help of her parents.
Just a warning to those with big hearts. Use your head when determining when to follow your heart.
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