It started innocently enough. A friend of mine shared a horse needing a home on her Facebook timeline. It seemed like the horse was in rather dire straits. So I shared the post. And someone steered me towards this article:
The horse sale started. There were several thin horses going through the sale, however, all were within the legal limits of Pennsylvania law. One draft horse had a milk leg and horribly neglected feet. Prices were average and all the kill buyers were obtaining their share of horses.
Investigators walked outside to check for animals left in trailers. Inside the farrier barn, they noticed a group of horses in poor condition. An emaciated draft horse not fit for sale under PA law. An emaciated grey with a large bleeding sore on his point of buttock. Two thin and depressed looking Standardbreds. Observing from a distance, investigators noted that the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt, proceeded to check the animals. When approached by the investigators, he stated that these horses belonged to a horse “collector” named “Gene” and that this individual would gather up horses in bad condition and flip them. He added that these horses would not be going through the sale and that he had “told him the law”.
Investigators documented the condition of the animals when they were confronted by “Gene”. Claiming they were interested in purchasing the animals, Gene became friendlier and stated that these horses had been brought in by a kill buyer from Virginia and that he was flipping them to a rescue. He bragged about being well connected to over 40 rescues and how much money was to be made with this set-up. He elaborated that the “man from Virginia” did not like to deal with the rescue folks, that’s why he was being used as a middle-man. Suddenly, Gene’s phone rang, and the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt was on the other end. After listening to Holt for a while, a concerned looking Gene hung up the phone, called his transporter and urged him to come to the barn. “They have been seen, I need to get them out of here now…”, Gene told the person on the phone. Judging by his reaction, it is entirely possible that Holt informed Gene of our investigators’ presence, potentially putting their safety at risk.
So who is Eugene Horn? His Facebook profile claims he is an animal trainer at the Philadelphia Zoo. ￼
So I called the zoo and got transferred to human resources. I think at first they thought I was completely nuts. But I said I just want to verify if this guy is doing horse rescue and he says he’s a trainer at the Philadelphia Zoo is he really?￼ The woman said well first of all we have keepers we don’t have trainers. So is this man someone who works for your zoo I asked again?￼￼ they said no so who is this guy really?￼
Equine Rescues Scams says this guy is a fake. They also seem to have put a lot of energy into alerting people.
If you visit their page on Facebook there’s a lot about a lot of fake horse stuff up there. I haven’t posted on questionable horse rescue in years. The last time I questioned horse rescues I received all sorts of menacing and threatening private messages and comments.
But what made me sit up and take a look at this was also another post people are sharing about a baby cow that needs a home. And it’s this same person this page is talking about:￼￼
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a distinct affinity for cows and goats and chickens and horses. It’s probably good that I don’t live on a farm. But I do know farmers. And I do know that Holsteins are very expensive beasts.￼
A four day old Holstein calf should be with its mother or being hand bottle-fed if its mother died correct? So this really bothered me to see this.￼ and then somebody else posted one of the guy’s horses and I thought here we are again in 2020 and where are the people the two large animal stuff that are supposed to keep an eye on things like this? LAP or whatever?
As far as unregulated horse rescues and charities go here’s an article from January out of a New Jersey paper:
A Mercer County woman who took in more than $344,000 in donations for what she described as a horse rescue charity put the money in her personal bank account and never properly registered the organization, officials said.
Dina Alborano, of Hamilton, used the internet and social media to promote her “I Care I Help” thoroughbred rescue organization, authorities said. She accepted more than $330,000 in donations via PayPal and personal checks in 2018 after reeling in more than $12,000 the previous year, the state Attorney General’s office said in a statement Monday.
So I don’t understand still to this day why the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Attorney General’s office doesn’t look into problems like this in Pennsylvania?￼
Sometimes I think rescues of all kinds start with well-intentioned people who get in over their heads. I don’t know what to think here.