Over the past week, my post Charges Against Kelsey Lefever Bring Deceptive Rescue Practices Out Into the Open, has received more than 17,000 views. For a post that’s more than three years old, that’s pretty amazing.
Certainly the story bears repeating. Kelsey Lefever represented herself as a horse trainer who specialized in training and rehabbing thoroughbred racehorses and finding them non-racing homes. Many trainers gave her their horses; some provided her grain and cash to help her. In fact, Kelsely Lefever sold the horses for slaughter.
The story isn’t important because of what happened to Lefever (she got off with probation). It is important because people are outraged by what she did and are continuing to talk about it. Putting the spotlight on people who are scamming the public for their personal profit is an effective way to educate us about the potential issues.
There are a lot of legitimate rescues that help horses. These are the ones who have 501(c) status
But there are a lot of people and organizations who fund raise online, who play on the heartstrings. You know the groups. They are the ones who are threatening to send the horse in the photo to Canada on the next truck unless they get $$$ today.
How do you keep from supporting the wrong organizations? You need to do your homework. Here are a few things to consider.
- Is the organization 501c(3)?
- Do they receive funding from other/larger organizations or are they purely funded by the rescue funds?
- Will they provide financial information?
- Can you visit the location and meet the people?
- Do they have a good reputation? Ask for references, not just from people who got horses from them but from a local vet or farrier.
- Are the horses who live there in good health?
- What are their rescue/adoption fees? Are they higher than normal or consistent with other organizations?
The important thing is not to stop caring. Just to care more wisely.