And here I thought horsegate would calm down. Apparently not. It is kinda like groundhog day…except with horses.
It appears that the mysterious Craigslist ads of a few weeks ago have disappeared. But a techno geek non horse loving source sent me a link to check out: http://offthetrackrescue.tumblr.com/
Ahhh yes, who knew? They have yet another website. So I took a quick gander and have more (or more of the same) questions for the owner Jessica Troxell Basciano regarding Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue of which she is owner/head/president/grand poobah…and Barbara Luna too (she is the one who supplies the horses to OTTR from the non-profit she works for called Turning for Home. )
I truly so want to have a comfort level with this because in theory it is a wonderful idea, yet every time I might reach a comfort level something else pops up, doesn’t it?
So there is this tumblr page right? I have a couple of questions.
First there is the “donate” word/tab again. Is Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(4) within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? I can’t find anything can any of you? So is there an official non-profit status? Does this rescue even have a charter or any kind of incorporation documents? As per the helpful multi-state filing website I found, does this Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue do any of what Pennsylvania requires? OR if they are in fact NOT a true non-profit and they are soliciting donations are they doing that disclosure? If it is NOT a non-profit, is it a LLC, sole proprietorship or what? Horses are big critters and they have a lot of expenses, so one would think someone owning a business that does this kind of thing would want some sort of protection for themselves, right? It’s a big financial risk at a minimum, right?
I found this regarding donations to organizations that are NOT non-profit:
The “donations” will be considered income and you will not be able to offer a tax deduction to those donors. The other issue is whether certain states where you solicit donations will require a registration before doing so. This is a state by state analysis……There are no specific prohibitions or regulations about accepting monetary contributions, but you should be careful to advise any potential “donors” that you are not a registered non-profit and therefore their contribution is not tax deductible. You of course could not make any misrepresentations. It would simply be business income.
Also, be careful with your accounting. Donations aren’t necessarily immediately final, as in a sale. If you received a large amount of donations you might want to hold a certain amount in reserve in case of an issue, in which case you might have to refund it.
Then there is the post where she (I presume it is this Jessica posting herself on tumblr?) says they have farms in Glenmoore and Phoenixville? Where in Phoenixville? I thought the other location was in Oxford, PA? So are there
three locations now? Or is this like many other rescues where critters are fostered in multiple locations due to overflow?
And this site is still used given the Christmas Eve posting. And again, I am trying to be fair, but it is VERY hard.
Rescue is a tough business, but I know the ones that I know which have non-profit statuses have pretty strict guidelines. And they get inspected a lot too. Is it LAPS that inspects horse rescues in these parts for the state, or does the state conduct their own inspections? Is this a non-profit or a for profit business and if it is for profit does that work with the whole concept of rescue? Does anyone know of other animal rescues that are actually for profit or have no non profit statuses? Or does Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue since I can’t find a non-profit status fall somehow under the umbrella of Turning For Home?
So here is some of what I found on GuideStar about Turning for Home:
They have big expense numbers. I guess that is because horses are just so darn expensive:
Now what you see above is all the info you can easily find if something is a non-profit. GuideStar picks most of this stuff up.
Again, rescue is not an easy business. But I am not the only one asking questions. Check this out too:
I found a website that indicates they are also seeking sponsorships:
(Related solely because it mentions OTTR and TFH, it was just a little over a year ago that horses were rescued in Adams County. )
And on a super positive note, I found this really cool blog about thoroughbred rescue – I think it is out of Massachusetts called Off-Track Thoroughbreds
So to finish up, most of my questions remain over how a rescue can operate if it is NOT a non-profit? (Note I have not found anything illegal about that so I am not implying that at all.)
If it is NOT a non-profit and is in fact FOR profit is there an actual corporation in addition to the fictitious name? If people are donating to something that is NOT a non-profit how does that work? If it is a corporation is there a board of directors? If they are applying to become a non-profit is there a proposed board of directors or trustees or whatever?
I am still thinking at the end of the day that Jessica’s heart is in the right place for rescue, but if she is overwhelmed she should let the horse community know. That way they can help, not criticize or whisper, right?
I am not one of the horse rescue haters. I merely have questions. Once all the questions are answered there will be no more posts asking questions. I do think some of the answers need to come from Barbara Luna who distributes the horses to horse rescues don’t you?
A final note is a gentle reminder for the more shall we say spirited commenters. I am allowed to exercise my First Amendment Rights, am allowed to ask questions. I don’t suffer fools lightly and don’t cotton to threats or harassment. And oh yes, a lot of media and other assorted types read this blog.