Pages Navigation Menu

ON-LINE MAGAZINE & WEB SITE - SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWS

☛ Vogels and Dufurrena settle – Alvin Fults purchases Stevie Rey Von 2-10-18

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE LAWSUITS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

VOGELS  AND ED DUFURRENA AGREE ON A PRIVATE SETTLEMENT OF LAWSUIT 

 

VOGELS RECEIVE AUSPICIOUS CAT, STEVIE REY VON AND CREYZY TRAIN;

AFTER PRIVATE SETTLEMENT, STEVIE REY VON SELLS FOR $2 MILLION

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 10, 2018

After close to eight years of disagreements and lawsuits, Ed Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas, on Thursday, Feb. 8, agreed to sign over three horses to Don and Janie Vogel, Saint Jo, Texas, during a private settlement in the Fort Worth office of their lawyer Lew Stevens.

But these weren’t just any horses. They included Auspicious Cat , a 2005 stallion sired by High Brow Cat out of Lenas O Lady by Peppy San Badger, with over $333,000 in lifetime earnings;  Stevie Rey Von, a 2012 son of Metallic Cat out of Miss Ella Rey and the winner of the 2015 NCHA Open Futurity, earning over $340,000 and Creyzy Train, a trained cutting mare that is a 2012 daughter of Auspicious Cat out of Miss Ella Rey by Dual Rey with earnings of close to $14,000.

The venture started on March 29, 2011, when Janie Vogel wrote a check for $105,000 to Ed Dufurrena Cutting Horses for 49 percent of four horses. They included three (3) registered horses including Auspicious Cat for $49,000, Whata Sneaky Cat ($20,000) and Ozzum Cat ($3,500).  Ozzum Man (registration pending) was listed at $2,500.  Two embryos out of Miss Ella Rey by Auspicious Cat and Metallic Cat (which later turned out to be Stevie Rey Von, the winner of the 2014 NCHA Futurity) were listed at $15,000 each.  Also, a 2011 embryo out of Miss Hickory Wheel by Auspicious Cat was included for 100% of reproductive costs.

Among other things, the hand-written contract stated that the purpose of the alliance was to promote cutting horses through training, showing, breeding and sales for a potential profit. The agreement stated that the Vogels had purchased the percentage of those horses and embryos, which would be known as Dos Cats Partners. The owners would share all expenses, including board, vet care, farrier, advertising, training, showing, nominations, hauling, insurance and any other expense incurred in the care and promotion of horses proportionately. The horses would be managed by Ed Dufurrena, including training, showing and advertising.  Diufurrena agreed to use acceptable practices of animal husbandry in the care and condition of the horses – as well as being the stallion manager.

Asked how the couple got involved in the cutting horse business, Janie said, “Our vet got injured badly in an accident loading horses in a trailer on New Year’s Eve. After five months in the hospital, she sold her practice. So when we went to an auction and bought some breedings for stallions, someone gave me Ed’s number and Shona helped me get my three mares bred.”

“I’ve always been fascinated with cutting horse and went to their shows,” continued Janie. “I had some halter horses that I loved to death – but for a long time I really liked cutting horses.”

Her husband, Don, was born in Muenster, Texas and they lived in South Lake, where they owned a swimming pool concrete company.

“When we decided to retire, we sold the company and bought a farm in Saint Jo, Texas,” sad Janie.

VOGEL LAWSUIT:

However, in a lawsuit filed six years later on Sept. 27, 2017, the Vogels (the plaintiffs) sued Dufurrena (the defendant), stating that in the beginning, the partnership owned four horses; however, presently the horses remaining in the partnership were Auspicious Cat, Creyzy Train and Stevie Rey Von (at that time ann embryo by Metallic Cat out of Miss Ella Rey). The rest of the horses in the agreement had been sold by Dufurrena. The terms included all expenses being shared proportionately by the ownership interests of each partner; all earnings from any source were to be shared proportionately according to the ownership interests of each partner and the defendant would manage the horses.

Also, expenses were allegedly incurred in the partnership with Dufurrena  being responsible for sending an invoice to the Vogels, that was prepared by Dufurrena, or at the direction of him, providing a description of the expense and the proportionate share owed by the Plaintiffs.

Stevie Rey Von went on to win the 2015 NCHA Futurity, taking home over $300,000 – without Dufurrena paying the Vogels their proportionate share of the winnings. At that time Stevie Rey Von’s breeding fee was $4,000 plus a $650 chute fee.

The Vogels response was that they had  not received their share of the breeding fees, with Dufurrena responding by sending the Vogels “self-generated” invoices containing expenses. When the Vogels requested the expenses be substantiated, they claimed the defendant never complied. In fact, at the time of the lawsuit, none of the expenses had been substantiated by Dufurrena.

The Vogels also claimed gross misrepresentations of material facts by Dufurrena. For example, the number of breedings of the stallions. The Vogels learned that Dufurrena permitted at least 100 breedings to Stevie Rey Von, during that period. The Vogels anticipated that the same would be true for 2015 and 2017 for Stevie Rey Von as well as Auspicious Cat.

According to the lawsuit, at the time of the agreement, Dufurrena represented to the Vogels that Auspicious Cat had no physical defects, which was untrue as it was later learned he was a cryptorchid (only one testicle) and carried the HERDA gene. They claim Dufurrena also misrepresented expenses of the partnership, claiming expenses for things that had not incurred, as well as inflated expenses and some that were not authorized and/or excessive. They also claim the horses generated income but that the Vogels never received their share.

Also, Dufurrena did not include the Vogels ownership on the AQHA registration papers of the partnership horses in the name of the Partnership nor the name of the Vogels. Auspicious Cat was  not transferred to Dos Cats Partners until Jan. 16, 2008, even though the date on the sale was Dec. 30, 2006 and he alone pocketed the $345,000 paycheck for winning the Open NCHA Futurity.

According to AQHA registration papers, Stevie Rey Von was  bred and owned by Brandon Dufurrena (Ed and Shona Dufurrena’s son), but his AQHA registration shows the stallion was transferred to Edward L. Dufurrena on 12/1/15 – just in time for the pair’s win in the 2015 NCHA Futurity, but the ownership of the horse was not actually recorded by the AQHA until Feb. 4, 2016. Note: Stevie Rey Von had never been transferred into the Vogels’ names.)

Dufurrena represented himself as the sole owner of the stallion, which is a serious violation of the rules and regulations of the National Cutting Horse Association. Also, advertisements of the stallion also indicate that Ed Dufurrena was the sole owner. And when breedings were received due to the advertisements, Dufurrena kept all the money and did not pay the Vogels their proportionate share.

THE LEGAL BATTLE:

The Vogels hired Lisa Bennett, of the law firm of Adams, Bennett, Duncan and Henley in Gainesville, Texas, who on Sept. 27, 2017 filed a lawsuit against Ed Dufurrena.

The lawsuit filed by Bennett, claimed that Dufurrena had committed conversion against the Vogels by selling partnership property without the right to do so and against the benefit of the Plaintiffs. Also Dufurrena had sold partnership property without paying the Plaintiffs their proportional share or permission of the Plaintiffs. This property included breedings from Stevie Rey Von, the prize winnings from the NCHA Futurity (over $340,000)  and by invoicing “paid for” expenses that had not been incurred or were not for the benefit of the partnership.

The suit also included the producing of documentation that Dufurrena had committed forgeries, breached the duty of loyalty owed to the Plaintiffs under the law and terms of the Partnership and using Partnership property for  his own personal gain and to the deprivation of the Plaintiffs, stating that the Vogels were billed expenses to Dufurrena wrongfully – expenses that never existed or were improperly applied or grossly inflated. Also that Dufurrena improperly titled Stevie Rey Von’s ownership with the AQHA in his own name only.

Also, when the Vogels demanded an accounting from Dufurrena, they said Dufurrena refused, breaching his fiduciary duty to the Plaintiffs.

The Vogels sought a dissolution of the Partnership, demanding an accounting from Dufurrena, all monies due them be paid from him and that a receiver be appointed for the sale of all partnership property, including, but not limited to, Steve Rey Von.

The suit claimed that Fraud had been committed on the Plaintiffs and that a points in Vogel’s pleading be filed against Dufurrena within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judgment directed Dufurrena to account for all profits earned on the transactions that are a subject of the suit; prejudgment and post judgment interests as provided by law, an order directing Dufurrena to surrender the records of the Partnership to the Plaintiffs for inspection, appoint a receiver to take custody and control of Partnership property for safekeeping and sale; appoint a receiver to take custody and control of Partnership property for safekeeping and sale; that proceeds from the sale of partnership property be placed in the registry of the court, as well as costs of the suit and any further relief to which the Vogels are entitled.

On Oct. 2, 2017, the Vogels made a motion for the appointment of a receiver, stating that if the assets of the partnership were not immediately placed in a receivership and liquidated, irreparable harm will ensue to Plaintiffs. The present assets of the partnership are the three horses, with Stevie Rey Von being the most valuable since he had won the 2015 NCHA Cutting futurity, giving him a value of $1 million. Auspicious Cat was valued at $160,000 and Creyzy Train at $8,000.

Also the suit claims that Dufurrena has insured the horses, with his and his wife’s names being the beneficiaries and when the Vogels insisted that they be included in the ownership interest in the policy. Dufurrena failed to do so.

The Plaintiffs requested the appointment of a receiver to have authority after the hearing, immediately taking possession of the horses, safe keep and maintain the horses and sell them at public auction. They submitted that Jeremy Barwick of Western Bloodstock Company would be an appropriate person for that since Western Bloodstock put on the big NCHA Futurity sales in December. But since the case was not closed before the NCHA Futurity sales, that never happened.

DUFURRENA FILES COUNTERCLAIM AGAINST VOGELS:

On October 7, 2017, Dufurrena filed a counterclaim suing the Vogels, who were 66 (and considered elderly by the court*) at the time of the partnership agreement, and their company Jandon Ltd., a Texas Limited Partnership, for disclosure, stating that “over the years the Vogels had placed 10 horses with Dufurrena and were not current with their account, accumulating an unpaid balance of approximately $340,000. On Feb. 6, 2017, when the Vogels came back to pick up their horses, it was discovered that Dufurrena had a possessory lien under Texas law as agisters, requiring the person in possession of the horses to retain possession so that it may be sold to apply the prices of the sale to the unpaid balance of the charges subject to the lien.

The lawsuit also claimed Dufurrena had received a $100,000 check from the account of Jandon LLC which was “no good” and did not clear the bank despite multiple requests by the plaintiffs that the check be covered. He claims the defendants have refused to make good on the check and unpaid balance of the invoices. Dufurrena claimed damages of $340,000, exclusive of attorneys’s fees, costs and pre-judgment interest.

Dufurrena was represented by Bryan H. Burg of Siebman, Burg, Phillips & Smith, LLP, Plano, Texas, who also represented him in a previous lawsuit regarding Auspicious Cat. Brandon Dufurrena was represented by Larry Sullivant, a Gainesville, Texas lawyer.

* If a criminal case were filed in this case and the party suing losing are considered “elderly,” the penalty is 3 times the damages.

PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSE TO DUFURRENA:

In an October 20 response to Dufurrena’s counterclaim, the Vogels requested to see Dufurrena’s records of the Partnership, including the bills but Dufurrena failed to comply. Thereafter, through 2017, the Vogels said they requested documentation from Dufurrena and he always had a reason for not complying. As partners, they demanded they be allowed to inspect the records.

What the Vogels saw was a gross misrepresentation of material facts. A number of breedings to Stevie Ray Von were misrepresented by Dufurrena. He said that Stevie Rey Von had 40 breedings in 2016 (foals would be born in 2017), when the Vogels learned that Dufurrena actually had 100 breedings to Stevie Rey Von during the period. The Vogels said in court documents that they anticipate that the same was true for 2015 and 2017 for Stevie Rey Von, as well as for Auspicious Cat. (AQHA does release  the number of breedings to a stallion in a given year; however, they do release the number of foals registered from those breedings.)

The Vogels also claimed that Dufurrena did not title the Partnership horses in the name of the Partnership nor the name of the Vogels, with the exception of Auspicious Cat. Dufurrena titled Stevie Rey Von’s ownership papers originally in the name of his son Brandon and then in his name – never in the name of the partnership. Also, he never informed the Vogels of the ownership papers of Creyzy Train’s ownership papers in the name of his son and never informed the Vogels of his actions.

During the lawsuit, a Risk Assessment/Risk Analysis was performed by Richard E. “Rick” Dennis in this matter. Rick is a former Professional Drug Enforcement Agent and a Law Enforcement Officer. Since 1986, he has been involved in the private security industry as an entrepreneur and currency is the managing member of the Wind River company. His company specializes in providing private security, personal protection, security consultation as well as employee drug and alcohol testing and risk management services to the private sector including Risk Assessment and Risk analysis.

He has a total of 47 years experience in his fields of representation and is the author of two books: THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, AVOIDING THE PITFALLS AND CROSS TRAINING 101, Reining, Cutting, Cowhorse and is a freelance writer and contributor for AllAboutCutting.com.

Ricks Response 2-10-18

ENTER NEW LAWYER LEW STEVENS:

Lisa Bennett, the lawyer defending the Vogels, felt the case needed to be co-counseled by someone who specialized in horse cases. Rick Dennis, thought Lew Stevens, a Fort Worth lawyer who not only specialized in horse cases, but was also personally involved in the horse industry, and had  a lot of experience in it and the legal aspects of the law, was perfect for the job. Lew then teamed up with Lisa Bennett.

“We had a lot of people and curious friends tell us we ought to go to Lew, which we did,” said Janie Vogel, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. “We were happy when he said he would help us.”

After seven years had gone by in this case, Stevens, in his first day of a formal appearance by Janie Vogel (that had been set up for her deposition), got the defendants to agree to an out-of-court settlement.

The settlement had just eliminated additional months and possibly years of payments to lawyers by the Vogels but Lew didn’t want to take all the credit. In an interview, he said, “A case is never settled by one person. Everyone has to work toward a common goal.”

“I thought we were going to Lew’s office for depositions,” said Janie Vogel. “All of a sudden I was caught by surprise of a settlement.”

THE PRIVATE SETTLEMENT:

The private settlement included the Vogels receiving Auspicious Cat, Stevie Rey Von and Creyzy Train, who are all at Jo Ellard’s Stallion Station and training facility in  Whitesboro, Texas. Both Auspicious Cat and Stevie Rey Von will be standing at the Ellard facility which has 24 x 14 stalls and an underground tornado shelter for the valuable stallions.

The legal case will show up in court records as “case closed.”

Auspicious Cat (High Brow Cat x Lenas O Lady) will be standing for $3,650, which includes the farm fee and Stevie Rey Von (Metallic Cat x Miss Ella Rey) will stand for $4,650, which includes the farm fee.

Janie Vogel said the plan is to get Creyzy Train, who is a trained cutting mare with close to $15,000 in earnings, to be shown.

She continued, “We’d like to stay in the cutting horse business and ‘dabble’ in it.’ ”

THE VOGELS SELL STEVIE REY VON FOR $2 MILLION:

And “dabble” Don and Janie Vogel can, as less than 24 hours after the settlement, it was announced that Alvin and Becky Fults, Amarillo, Texas, who previously owned Metallic Cat, the sire of Stevie Rey Von, had purchased Stevie Rey Von for $2 million.

Asked about their relationship with Dufurrena, a gracious Janie said, “We’re just going to try to get along with them. I don’t want to be enemies with anyone.”

Read More

☛ To slaughter or not to slaughter 1-26-18

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE HEALTH, INDUSTRY NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 15 comments

TO SLAUGHTER OR NOT TO SLAUGHTER

 

 

A QUESTION FOR THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT TO ANSWER

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Jan. 25, 2018

The year is 2018, we have a new President, our country’s compass is pointed in a new direction, and yet our government hasn’t advanced very far in fulfilling their legal obligation outlined in the “1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” which mandates protection and management of these animals on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

“Eighty four percent of Donald Trump’s voters oppose the slaughter of wild horses and a very narrow band of people are for it because they profit from it,” said “Chris Minakowski, a lobbyist and policy analyst.

To date, our government is still rounding up wild mustangs and burros – by barbaric methods, e.g., helicopter or aerial herding which causes a significant amount of animals to be injured or killed. They’re still confining approximately 45,000 animals in holding pens and tax payer dollars are still being wasted paying landowners to house, feed and care for wild horses and burros which would ordinarily care for themselves on the open range where they were born.

The main culprit for this travesty are government-subsidized ranchers using taxpayer dollars that contribute to 2 percent or less of the annual beef production of the United States of America. Annually, these government-subsidized ranchers encroach more and more on public grazing lands with cattle insertion, which increasingly diminishes the grazing lands available for the natural wildlife inhabitants, such as wild horses and burros, among other wildlife species of the herbivore or carnivore type.

How does this happen?  Cattle grazers complain to the BLM that wildlife (wild horses and burros) are encroaching on available grazing lands and request for the natural occupants to be removed to reduce the competition for available food.  However, statistics prove when wild horses and burros are removed, they are simply replaced with commercial cows and sheep.

Carnivores (meat eaters) such as bears, bobcats, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions are removed because they feed on cattle belonging to the government taxpayer-subsidized ranchers. In my opinion, this costly action accomplishes an imbalance of nature on public lands which incidentally belong to American citizens – not the cattle ranchers.

In one of my studies, I discovered, through BLM-supplied statistics, that the BLM makes more money each year from recreational vehicle slot rentals than it does on grassland grazing fees paid by government taxpayer-subsidized cattle ranchers.

In 2015, I authored an article entitled, “Horse Slaughter – Fact and Fiction”, which precisely details the acquired BLM statistics, as well as other related facts pertaining to the waste of taxpayer dollars. One of the organizations promoting the removal of wild horses and burros is identified in this article as “Protect The Harvest,” an organization owned by Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil. Today, Mr. Lucas is promoting his business with every major 501(c) 3 horse organization by adding piles of cash to payouts. In fact, I’ve been told that “Protect The Harvest” has booths at the major equine events in order to promote Lucas’s organization. However, what Mr. Lucas fails to inform the general public is that there’s a vast majority of cattle ranchers using public grazing land that are millionaires and the vast majority of the rest are being subsidized by our tax dollars.

The real story that’s not being told is how the wild horses and burros suffer after being removed from their home rangeland and confined to holding pens and all because a minority in the cattle business dictates what happens at the BLM.  For the record, I applied to be on the board of the decision makers who decide on matters such as these and I was turned down due to my law enforcement background. Imagine that!

Click for Horse Slaughter article>>

 

HISTORY OF THE BLM:

With historical roots dating back to the earliest days of the nation, the BLM administers the lands that remain from America’s original “public domain.”  Created in 1946 through a government reorganization during the Truman Administration, the BLM is the successor to the General Land Office (established in 1812) and the U.S. Grazing Service (originally called the Division of Grazing and renamed in 1939). The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees. In 1946 the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management.

Fast forward: This year, (2018) the BLM is commemorating two milestone events: It is the 72nd anniversary as an Interior Department agency, and the 42nd anniversary of the principle law defining its mission: the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 commonly referred to by its acronym FLPMA.  As the manager of more land (2.45 million acres) or one-tenth of America’s land base and more subsurface mineral estate (700 million acres) than any other government agency, the BLM carries out a dual mandate under FLPMA: that of managing public land for multiple uses (such as energy development, livestock grazing, mining, timber harvesting and outdoor recreation) while conserving natural, historical and cultural resources, such as wilderness areas, wild horses and wildlife habitat, artifacts and dinosaur fossils.  In the language of FLPMA, the BLM’s responsibility is to administer public lands “on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield” of resources.”

What this means, on a practical level, is that the BLM – except in areas specifically set aside for conservation purposes – must multitask to fulfill its duties.  Nevertheless, consistent with the BLM’s goal of good stewardship of public land resources, “multiple use” does not mean every use on every acre.

ABC NEWS ARTICLE:

A leading headline on ABC News states, “Wild horses facing slaughter after US Government proposes new regulations.”  The BLM controls one-eighth of the country’s landmass but leases over 60 percent of it to cattle ranchers. Since their livestock rely on the same resources as the wild horses do, some ranchers want the wild horses pushed off of the land entirely. There are over 45,000 wild horses in holding areas, costing taxpayers about $50 million annually.  It’s an expense that the U.S. Department of Interior sought to address in its 2018 budget by lifting regulations that prevent slaughtering wild horses. If slaughtering wild horses becomes legal, some animal rights activists are concerned that these horses will become extinct.

“The BLM, the very agency in charge of protecting them, is asking Congress for permission to kill them.”  Netherlands said. “They’ve stockpiled wild horses in holding pens….and so now what are they going to do with all the horses that they’ve stockpiled? The adoption rates are not high enough so they can’t adopt them all out. So now we have a bunch of wild horses, that the taxpayers are paying for, in holding facilities and their solution is to kill them.”

Two of the most ridiculous bureaucratic statements come from Lisa Reid of the BLM.  “There’s three things that wild hoses need: food, water, and obviously space.”

[1] “As you can see, we do have millions of acres out here but not every acre is producing viable forage for the horses. So you know, just as with any type of species, they have to be managed just so they don’t become overpopulated and diseased.”

[2] “The agency’s goal is to always have healthy rangelands, which is aided by controlling their population. They no longer have many natural predators in the wild.”

What makes these statements so ridiculous are the facts: 1), no mention as to the number of commercial cows and sheep that are grazing on the grasslands – only the estimated number of horses. 2) There is no mention of limiting the number of commercial cows and sheep, and 3) there are no predators, which upsets the balance of nature, simply due to the fact that BLM has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to remove them!

Click for Wild Horses article>>

“A wild mustang charging across an open plain is a symbol of the untamed majesty of nature.  But the predators chasing these majestic beasts are anything but natural.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle”

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: windrivercompany@gmal.com
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

Read More

☛ God, Guts, Guns and Taxes – 1-5-18

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 15 comments

GOD, GUTS, GUNS AND TAXES

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Jan. 5, 2018

 

by Richard E. Dennis

The American Horse Industry, Avoiding the Pitfalls by Rick Dennis.

While growing up in Alabama in the 1950s, my grand father always stressed these four premises to live by:  “Always put GOD first in your life, have the GUTS to take on life and live successfully, keep a GUN handy in case you need it and always pay your TAXES.”

Paying taxes is a phrase resonating with every working American this time of the year simply due to the fact April 15 is the time we either file our taxes or file for an extension. Like the old adage, “There are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes!”  No one gets out alive and with new tax laws, Uncle Sam can and will tax you in the grave.

However, there are steps we can take to minimize the amount of taxes we pay by simply taking advantage of the built-in deductions and write offs included in the IRS tax code.

In my opinion, one fact of certainty is: “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seems to hate horses.”  In my book THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding The Pitfalls, I devoted an entire chapter to identifying whether your horse operation is a business or a hobby. One of the included items in this book is a chapter that stresses the importance of determining whether or not your horse operation is a business or a hobby as well as other necessary factors to successfully survive an IRS or State audit of your horse operation and yourself.

 

Case-In-Point:

In June 2016, I opened a new bank account at Chase Bank in Covington, Louisiana.  According to the information supplied by the bank officer who opened my account, new Federal and State tax regulations and laws require the financial institution to be the first line of defense in identifying fraudulent money laundering or illegal operations by account holders. Essentially, the bank opens your account with the information you supply them including providing your name, social security number, business name and business Tax Identification Number (TIN), along with a copy of your completed financial questionnaire to Federal and State taxing agencies for verification, authentication of your citizenship and to check for any outstanding tax bills, liens, etc.

Further, the brief financial questionnaire generally encompasses annual income, expenses, net profits for a given period, tax filings, assets and liabilities. In essence, and in my opinion, this is used for a comparison by the Federal and State taxing agencies to perform a brief audit of prior tax filings to determine the accuracy of your prior tax reports, among other items of interest. According to the Chase Bank officer, this is a requirement to open a bank account with Chase Bank. No completed financial questionnaire = no bank account!

 

Maintaining Immaculate Financial Records:

Another aspect stressed in my book is the importance of maintaining immaculate financial records for both your personal and business financial reporting. For the record, I’m in the horse business and I file a Schedule C, along with my personal 1040, which represents my Limited Liability Company’s financial records. In my case and after opening the bank account, I received an arbitrary tax assessment from the State of Louisiana for a tax bill of $41,589.73 for the 2015 year.

Knowing that I didn’t owe the proposed tax liability, I contacted the Louisiana Department of Revenue and inquired about the certified letter I had received and I was informed that an unnamed source had provided to the State that I made $701,400.00 in 2015. I informed the State of Louisiana tax representative that the figure she quoted me was more than my gross annual income. In fact, it was a well-documented and IRS-approved 20-year “carry-forward casualty loss” from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

However, I was told I had two choices: 1) Protest the arbitrary assessment through the tax process or 2) pay the amount assessed plus interest and penalty.

If I did not file an objection, I would also be assessed a taxable amount by the IRS to include interest and penalties. The worst that could happen if I didn’t address this scenario is: I would be charged with tax evasion, my bank accounts would be seized, tax liens would be filed on my property and I would face prosecution.

I elected to fight the proposed tax liability and requested a hearing. On the day of the hearing, I represented myself “in-proper-person,” essentially meaning I was my own lawyer. This is not a recommendation that I would make to everyone.

I figured that since I knew my tax records better than anyone, I would be the best person to explain my case at the hearing. On hearing day, I was armed with my Federal and State tax filings from 2005 forward, which completely documented the $769,000.00 20-year carry-forward loss as well as the very well documented IRS approval of the loss. At the hearing I explained, that whoever their “erroneous source” was, he or she failed to recognize that there was a minus sign in the front of my 2015 tax filing amount and the -$701,400.00 carry forward to my 2016 tax year had a minus sign, not a plus sign. Therefore, the amount was a loss and not income.

 

Resolution:

On Jan. 2, 2018 I received a letter from the Louisiana Department of Revenue dated December 29, 2017 stating, “The outstanding liability for the above referenced period(s) has been cancelled based on the information provided. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

Over all, we all have to pay taxes.  My suggestion to all readers of this article is to keep and maintain immaculate financial records with every annual tax filing. I keep all of my annual tax filings instead of merely the three years suggested by the IRS.  If I hadn’t had all of my tax filings readily at hand, the outcome of this saga might have resulted in an ominous ending.

Click for tax letter from state of Louisiana>>

 

Another Happy Ending:


Recently I received a Federal Tax ruling entitled UNITED STATES TAX COURT, Finis R. Welch and Linda J. Waite – Petitioners Versus Commissioner of Internal Revenue – Respondent.  This tax ruling is an extremely good read and involves another individual in the cutting horse industry which resulted in the cancellation of millions of dollars in proposed tax liabilities due to their immaculate records retention.

Click for Stunning Tax Court Victory>>

Click for Center Ranch Tax Ruling>>

Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

For the record, I’m not a certified public accountant. However, I’ve been in business for 33 years with a 48-year professional background including: Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, Forensic Audit, Risk Management and a 19-year history as a professional in the horse business but I highly recommend the incorporation of a certified public accountant in your life to formulate your tax filings.

 

Determining Whether You’re A Business Or A Hobby:

The key to operating a successful horse business is to determine whether you’re in the horse business for fun or to make a profit as a business owner doing something you love. If the former is your answer, go have fun. If the latter is your answer and you’ve decided to enter the equine industry as a business owner, then I suggest you perform a self evaluation of your proposed or existing business to determine if all of your bases are covered: For example:

1. What is your business entity: a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Sole-Owned Proprietorship, Partnership, etc.,?

2. Does your business have its own Federal Tax Identification Number (which you should have), or are you using your social security number for this?

3. How are your bank accounts set up? In order to avoid the “co-mingling of Funds Rule,” i.e., mixing personal non-business funds with business funds, you need to have separate bank accounts: one for your personal and one for your business.

4. If your business is like mine, where I receive checks in the mail for services rendered as well as cash payments, are you incorporating the use of a cash book to keep track of these funds, especially if you aren’t depositing the cash in the bank?  If not, I suggest you incorporate one and each time you spend from this “stash of cash,” make a record of it along with maintaining a receipt for spent funds.

5. Are your accounting books immaculate? If not, seek the advice of a Certified Public Accountant to assist you in this matter.

6. Does your horse business have a written “Business Plan?”  If not, I suggest you consult with a Certified Public Account and write one.  Essentially, your business plan is your survivability insurance in the event of audit.  After the key phrase used by the auditors is, “Are you in business to make a profit?”

7. “Intent To Make A Profit” is your key phrase you should memorize in all of your business affairs. During an audit, this separates you and your horse business from being identified as a hobby versus a viable business. It’s OK not to make a profit if you truly intended to make a profit during an annual period. However, you need to consult with a Certified Public Accountant to further explain this aspect of the tax code.

In setting up your business, always show an intent to make a profit by using advertising. I suggest to all business owners that they should have a web site to promote their business on the internet. Also, it’s an impressive marketing tool for prospective clients to evaluate your services.

An immaculate and accurate set of books will allow your tax preparer to utilize all of the items available to you as a business owner to minimize the amount of taxes you pay during an annual tax filing cycle as well as a defense in the event of a tax audit.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Phone: (985) 630-3500

Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com

Email – Personal: windrivercompany.rd@gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

 

Read More

☛ A lesson in horse buying 11-14 -17

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in COW HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

A LESSON IN HORSE BUYING

By Rick Dennis
Nov. 14, 2017

by Richard E. Dennis

In 2012, I authored and released a book entitled, “The American Horse Industry, Avoiding The Pitfalls.” The book was written from my professional viewpoint and spanned over my twenty years as a professional trainer, breeder, exhibitor and owner.

Initially, the book was designed to help individuals entering the industry, as first-time buyers or investors, to avoid the inherent risks associated with the horse industry during horse ownership, buying, boarding, training, exhibiting and sales.

However, as soon as the book was released and put in production, I learned my book was also being highly regarded and purchased by individuals already in the horse industry as the model and guide to successful horse ownership and equine business operations. The book has never received less than a 5-Star Rating and has been sold in National and International Markets.

The book is unique in a fashion, as it provides the basic knowledge anyone would desire to avoid the pitfalls in the American Horse Industry. The book is comprised of eleven chapters:

1) Horse Operation – Business or Hobby?
2) Equine Warning Law.
3) Selecting A Horse.
4) Equine Drug Testing.
5) Selecting A Horse Boarding Facility.
6) Selecting A Horse Trainer.
7) Non-profit Horse Organizations.
8) Equipment and Applications.
9) Farrier Service.
10) Health and Care of the Horse.
11) Horse Safety.

As previously stated, initially the book was designed as a primer to newcomers in the industry but over time its reading audience has expanded to also include equestrians with many years in the industry.  For many, it has become the “go-to book” for common-sense knowledge to guide them through to become successful equine business operations and horse  owners. Perhaps the best attribute of the book is teaching individuals the steps to take to avoid the court room in costly civil disputes.

COMMON-SENSE HORSE BUYING:
Of late, there seems to be a lot of civil litigation going on involving horses in one fashion or another as well as for other reasons. In assisting individuals in buying a horse, I urge all of my clients to use basic common-sense approaches in the transaction, especially the “TRUST BUT VERIFY” motto. As a whole, I do believe there are more equestrians with honesty than dishonesty in the industry.  However, the industry has its share of bad actors whose intentions aren’t so honorable. Therein lies the pitfalls outlined in my book and how to avoid them.  It really doesn’t matter what breed of horse or what its intended purpose is supposed to be the following rules of horse buying can be applied to them all:

Rules To Avoid The Pitfalls:

1) If your not quite sure of what your looking for or how to go about acquiring it the best approach is to enlist the aid of an experienced reputable trainer who will act as your agent. The agent will locate several prospective animals for  the buyer to evaluate including having the agent ride the horse first to ensure the horse is of the type, kind and performance capability the buyer desires.

2) The agent will also make sure the horse is safe before the buyer ever steps up on the horse. A rule of thumb, so-to-speak, is for the buyer to spend as much time as he or she can with the horse before plunking down that hard-earned money on a horse purchase.

3) Normally an agent will have a contract to sign beforehand and the buyer should take the time to scrutinize it in its entirety to make sure there are no legal loopholes, including attorney evaluation.

4) Normally, the “seller” will also have a contract for the buyer to sign; however, if the “Sellers” contract has stipulations such as “Sold As Is,” “No Warranty,” or “Non-Returnable,” simply walk away from the horse and find another. Every reputable “seller” should guarantee their product.

5) In the event the buyer wishes to represent his or herself, the cardinal rule is to never purchase a horse “Sight-Unseen” or without riding the horse to all of the horse’s performance capabilities prior to making a final selection.

Pre-purchase Vet Exams:

1) Never purchase a horse without a pre-purchase vet exam, including x-rays.

2) Never use the same veterinarian for the pre-purchase exam as the seller. The buyer always wants an independent medical examination and evaluation separate and apart from the seller’s.

3) Have an attorney-at-law draw up a release between “seller” and “buyer” to disclose “ALL” of the medical records for the horse located anywhere and of any type or kind to evaluate and fully disclose any pre-existing conditions, injuries or treatments the horse may have had prior to the sale. In the event the horse has had multiple owners along the way attempt to contact as many as the buyer can to determine the health of the horse.

4) During the pre-purchase veterinarian examination, have the veterinarian draw urine and blood for a drug-test evaluation to see what’s floating around in the horse’s system. In the pre-purchase contract, it should be stipulated that if any drugs of the tranquilizer or sedative type are found in the horse’ s system, the “seller” is responsible for the veterinarian’s bill and the sale is null and void. For the record, I also have a CBC and a liver-function test performed during the pre-purchase.

5) Have an attorney at law draw up a purchase contract whereby the “seller” guarantees the health of the horse as well as its performance capabilities with a guaranteed warranty of performance and health. If the “seller” won’t sign the contract, walk away and find another horse. Most reputable private-treaty sellers wouldn’t have an issue with this type of business transaction. After all, exercise the old motto, “It’s Just Business”.

6) The buyer should document all advertisements the “seller” may have provided to “buyer” due to the fact that in some circumstances these may be required later to demonstrate an “implied” or “expressed warranty” by “seller” or “seller’s agent” in a civil lawsuit for damages. Further, the buyer should fully document electronic messages between “seller” and “buyer” or “seller” as well as any provided videos which can also be used to determine “warranty status” if the need arises.

7) The main purpose of a pre-purchase vet exam is to determine whether or not the horse has any pre-existing or current medical conditions which would prevent the horse from fulfilling the performance capability the buyer has chosen to engage in. Bear in mind that it’s not uncommon for a horse to have some bumps and bruises acquired during training or exhibition. If the horse is a true performance horse, this is expected and common.  It’s the nature of the beast “so to speak”. However, my rule is to buy a horse with bumps and bruises I can live with and not purchase a horse with the types of bumps and bruises I can’t.

Deceptive Trade Practices Laws:

There are laws on the books governing horse sales to prevent or prosecute those unscrupulous individuals engaged in deceptive trade practices from taking advantage of an unsuspecting buyer during a horse sale:

1) Federal Trade Commission.
2) Uniformed Commercial Code.
3) Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
4) Attorney Generals Office of the state of residence.
5) The local law enforcement agency can file fraud or theft charges.

Each of these agencies are capable of investigating and, where appropriate, instituting or referring criminal charges as well as civil litigation to the offender for violations found during an unscrupulous horse sale as well as recovering assets for the victim from a bad horse sale including court-ordered restitution.

Auctions/Sale Barns:

In all probability there’s a lot of good horses bought and sold in a sale barn. However, this is not my “cup of tea” so to speak. I’d much prefer buying from a reputable breeder or owner when I’m in need of a horse. Unless the sale barn offers demonstrations ahead of time, don’t buy a horse at this location. The prospective buyer is just rolling the dice or gambling on whether or not the horse lives up to the hype in the sale catalog. Also, beware of the sale barn whose contract stipulates a “hold harmless or indemnification clause” which essentially means you are buying the horse from the “seller” and not from the sale barn. Therefore, if you buy a horse, the sale barn isn’t responsible for the condition or performance capability of the horse at the time of sale. This is a risky buy.

Again, “Trust, But Verify”. Remember not all horse sellers are reputable individuals and the sale barn isn’t responsible if the “seller” lies on the disclosure contract with the auction house. Another important fact to remember is that in some states, Texas for example, it’s unlawful for the purchaser to stop payment on a check after a horse sale. In other words, this deals out criminal penalties to the party stopping payment on a check.

So if and when you get your horse home and it has pre-existing abnormalities or conditions that weren’t disclosed ahead of the sale and make the horse unsuitable for your intended purpose and the “seller” won’t warranty the horse, the only remedies the “buyer” may have are:

1) Expensive litigation in court, or
2) Filing a complaint with one of the agencies herein mentioned above.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between the Bridle!”

Wind River Company LLC
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com
Stock Horse Web Site: http://www.windriverstockhorses,com

Read More

☛ Comparing cell phone plans 8-30-17

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FEATURE ARTICLES, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

COMPARING CELL PHONE PLANS

 

CARRIERS, CONTRACTS, PREPAID, CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Aug. 30, 2017

 Traversing the maze of cell phones and plans seeking the best deal can become an arduous affair, especially when a litany of cell phones and cell phone plans occupy the open market. Every major cell phone carrier, including Verizon, ATT, Sprint and T-Mobile, offer an array of plans with each plan strategically designed to lure shoppers in and make them spend their money. Smaller or sub-companies such as Boost Mobile, US Cellular, Walmart Straight Talk, Virgin Wireless also offer their own cell plans with the same philosophy in mind: making money. Cell phone plans are basically of two variety types: prepaid and postpaid.

 

Prepaid cell phone plans are paid in advance with the consumer picking the types of services he or she is willing to pay for.

 

Postpaid plans are paid after the service is provided. Each plan type offers a myriad of services to the consumer and the pricing structure is made in advance of the purchase. There are services that include talk only, talk and text, up to the more advances services that include talk, text and data. Further, there are national plans and international plans. Each service provider or (cell phone carrier) advertises a myriad of plans and are generally in line with the number of gigabytes (GB) of data you require. Data plans generally start with one (GB) of data and top out with the unlimited GB variety. However, there are some differences between prepaid and postpaid plans so thoroughly research each plan carefully.

 

SMALLER CARRIERS VERSUS LARGE CARRIERS

Lately the cell phone market has been inundated with enough cell-phone plans to make your head swim. However, the major differences among cell phone plans are the plans offered by the major carrier versus the smaller carriers. Generally speaking, the smaller carriers purchase data time from the major carriers at wholesale pricing, allowing the smaller carrier to sell cell phone plans at a reduced rate.

 

In theory, the only differences between major versus minor cell phone carriers are the types of phones sold and the abilities of these lower-end market phones to reliably pick up signals provided by each one’s cell-phone towers, enabling the phones to function smoothly.

 

However, while researching the Internet, I did determine there were a lot of complaints from customers about reception with the lower-end priced phones. Today, the smaller cell-phone carriers generally dealing in lower-end priced phones are providing their customers with a combination of low-end priced phones as well as the higher or state-of-the-art phones such as the Apple iPhones. These are the same type of cell phones provided by the major carriers. Theoretically, this should offer the small cell-phone carrier customers with the ability to have the same reception as the major carriers. Time will tell.

 

CELL PHONE CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINTS

My research was conclusive in one specific category and that is customer service complaints. The customer-service ratings of the major carriers, as well as smaller carriers, are very poor. In an article by Consumer Reports entitled, “Best Cell-Phone Companies: Is a Big Carrier or a Small Provider Right for You?” by Mike Gikas, the author offers a comparison of providers: Find out how Consumer Cellular, Ting, and other smaller companies compare with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in Consumer Reports’ exclusive new survey. In the article, Mr. Gikas offers a compelling analogy of all carriers.
Click for carrier article>>

 In still another article entitled, “Five Reasons you may want to consider prepaid mobile,” written by Nate Swanner, he offers his own analogy of the pros and cons of prepaid versus postpaid wireless service. In his report, Mr. Swanner states, “As new prepaid plans become more and more ambitious, customers are starting to wonder if they should think about what life might be like on the other side of a contract. Prepaid has a hollow ring for many, as readers tend to see it as a second-rung alternative to a ‘proper’ plan and service. If that’s your thinking, we’ve got a few reasons why you should reconsider prepaid for your next smart phone. You never know, reading this article might actually save you some money!

 

PREPAID SERVICE

Some customers tend to think that they’ll get worse service with a prepaid plan. That’s a fair assumption, but not always correct.

 

If you were to go through a carrier that doesn’t have its own network (they are referred to as an MVNO), you would technically be piggybacking onto a network. Boost, for instance, works on the Sprint network. They don’t have their own towers. Spectrum “rents” space from Sprint.

 

That doesn’t make them any less a carrier, but it’s something to consider. If you were to go prepaid from a carrier like T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon, you’d get the same service and coverage as you would from a subsidized plan. Although it’s not fair to consider an MVNO “lesser-than,” it’s a consideration to make.

 

FREEDOM

Prepaid plans can bring some freedoms you might not utilize at every turn but they’re nice to have. For instance, you can switch plans any time you like. If you find a different plan that works better for you, just switch! There’s no fuss. You can just choose a different plan, even with a different carrier!

 

This is especially handy when traveling. If you’re going away for a period of time and you find coverage in the area you’re going to isn’t what you want with the carrier you have (we suggest “Open Signal” for this), just get a new SIM card from a carrier that might work better. For a few days or weeks, you use that SIM card, and life goes on relatively uninterrupted.

 

You might have a new phone number with the new SIM card, but that’s a small price to pay for reliable coverage when you need it. It won’t work across the board, as Verizon and Sprint use different technology than T-Mobile and AT&T do, but it’s definitely a nice option. The complete article by Mr. Swanner follows:

Click for Swanner’s article>>

 

 CONTRACT VERSUS NO CONTRACT

More specifically, previous cell-phone plans with all major carriers required a contract for a specific amount of time. Today, they’d like you to think there are no contracts but that’s not exactly true. Essentially, each major carrier operates on a specific band referred to as (CDMA) and (GSM). Each carrier orders phones from cell phone manufacturers to their specification and locked to a specific carrier’s band, which essentially are in a locked position, thus restricting it to that band. Verizon phones and Sprint phones work off of the (CDMA). ATT and T-Mobile work off of the (GSM) band.

 

Each band was explained in a previous article. Also, the smaller carriers who purchase services from the major carriers and in-turn sell it to their consumers, also carry the specific cell-phone types that work on their band. Further, each major carrier offers a deal for buying their phones, such as the ATT’s Next Plan, which offers pricing for the phone for an extended period of time – or in this case three years. Also, it’s a little known fact that these cell phones are being sold at the manufacturer’s full retail price.

 

Therefore, by the time you pay off your phone, it’s virtually worthless considering the rapid depreciation of the cell phone in today’s market. Thus the major carrier financing the cell phone is in the virtual moneymaking market with each new sale. Further, cell-phone manufacturers are consistently redesigning cell phones with new characteristics and updated advances in updated models, specifically designed to attract new purchasers with each annual product release.

 

The irony of advertisement stipulating service without contract is essentially a half-hearted truth, simply because cheaper financing sounds good but your locked into the carrier for the specific time of the pricing/payment agreement, essentially placing you on contract. Sure you can pay your phone off if you want to but you’re only able to move to a carrier that your phone is adaptable to. The unlocked cell phone is more appealing at this point but requires paying full price for the phone up front at purchase. Before purchasing an unlocked phone make sure the unlocked version of your favorite phone will work on all carrier systems after purchase.

 

CELL PHONE CARRIER COMPARISONS

A little research will provide you with all of the comparative studies on the market today as well as the pricing advantage or disadvantage of each before you sign up. In order to help you along, I’ve provided one in this article. Just click on the following links and they will provide the reader with an assortment of answers, including which carrier has the best or worst coverage or customer service. One thing I learned from this research is that Walmart’s Straight Talk advertises “working on all major carrier bands” and is the only one with such specifications.

Click for Who Has The Best Coverage>> 

Click for Verizon versus ATT>>

 

“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Office.Mobile: (985) 630-3500

Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

Read More

☛ Manion appealing to NCHA Appeal Board 8-28-17

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ABUSE, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

TOMMY MANION APPEALING HIS ANIMAL-ABUSE CASE TO NCHA APPEAL BOARD

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 28, 2017

For all of you wondering what is happening in the Tommy Manion animal-abuse case within the NCHA, the Executive Committee evidently found him guilty as, according to a Facebook posting by NCHA Vice President Ron Pietrafeso, Manion then appealed to the Grievance Committee.

After the Grievance Committee heard the case, they obviously also found him guilty as now Manion is appealing that decision to an Appeal Board which is included in the 2017 NCHA Rule Book.That Board is appointed by the NCHA President and will have a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of nine (9) members. Each member must be in good standing of the NCHA. A majority Of the committee members shall constitute a quorum for hearing purposes.

Click for NCHA Rule Book on Special Hearing Committee>>

 

Background of the case:

For those of you who don’t know the background on this animal-abuse case, I previously wrote an article stating that on Saturday July 15, Tommy Manion, a top Non-Pro, shot a tied-up unruly stallion multiple times with a BB pistol at an NCHA cutting at Whitesboro, Texas. A member took a video of the event and called NCHA’s Director of Judges Russell McCord, who told him, “to do whatever it took to stop it and and make the person shooting the horse leave,” which the caller did.

I talked to several witnesses who all told me that Manion not only shot the stallion with a BB pistol but at one time had the pistol under a jacket draped over his hand, dropped it on the ground and bent over to pick it up – all of which is shown on the video.

The shooting was definitely against the NCHA’s highly advertised ZERO tolerance “horse-cruelty” policy.

After receiving and confirming the reported horse abuse by Manion, I reached out to Rick Dennis, a Threat Assessment/Risk Analyst who is also a former Drug Enforcement Agent, for clarification of penalties resulting from Manion’s actions – for Manion, those who witnessed the event and the NCHA committees that are now determining Manion’s fate.

Essentially, Rick informed me there are two laws in play here, one Federal, the other state, as well as two NCHA rule infractions.

The Federal Law:

There is a little-known Federal Law entitled 18 USC 4 – Misprision Of A Felony, which specifically states:  “Whoever having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” Animal abuse is now a Federal Felony with hefty fines and prison sentences.

The State of Texas law:

Also, the State of Texas Animal Cruelty Law, which rates animal abuse as a Felony, states those prosecuted could be punishable by two years in a state jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Therefore, since the NCHA has already been notified of the animal cruelty case, along with being supplied with a video of the act, Manion has placed the association in a precarious spot, as whoever doesn’t report this gross violation to law enforcement in accordance with the provisions set forth in the USC 4 Code -Misprision of a Felony – is in direct violation of the federal law and could be subjected to arrest and prosecution themselves at a later date.

This includes Russell McCord, who received the phone call, as well as the Executive Director and the entire Executive Committee who met after being informed of the incident and who determined their association’s punishment for the offense – and possibly even the lawyer who was informed of the infraction and gave the Executive Committee advice, as well as show management.

Difference of penalties between NCHA and governmental agencies:

The other curious nature of Manion’s act is the two violations in the NCHA Rulebook pertaining to animal abuse and cruelty and how they differ from Federal and State laws.

More specifically, the NCHA Rulebook states “if show management or a judge at any NCHA-approved or sponsored event discovers inhumane treatment or abuse of a horse, they may immediately bar the responsible party and contestant’s horse from further competition in the event and the judge will give a score of zero. The Executive Director must be notified within seven (7) days of the closing date of the show involved and the complaint will be referred to the appropriate NCHA Committee for investigation and consideration. Note: the Federal law says “as soon as possible It must be made known to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States and (the person) is to be fined or  imprisoned for not more than three years.”

While the NCHA disciplines animal cruelty by offense with a fine ($1,000 to $10,000), probation and/or suspension, the State of Texas Animal Cruelty Laws say that the perpetrator could be punished by two years in a state jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Also, the NCHA should make sure that the abused animal is made available as soon as possible to a licensed veterinarian for any damage that has been done, especially since the person who described the incident to me said the when the BBs hit the stallion, he crouched and his body shook in fear.

What has been done?

According to a notification on the NCHA website, the NCHA has fulfilled its obligation to satisfy the Misprision of a Felony law by submitting a complete evidence package in this matter to the District Attorney in the county where the animal abuse violation occurred.

The notification further stipulates the District Attorney has provided the evidence to the Sheriff’s Office in this county for investigation as well as referral of criminal charges (where warranted).  Further, I’ve learned the SPCA is also investigating this matter.

Notwithstanding, there are two motivating factors: 1) The ZERO Animal Abuse policy rule violations of the NCHA and 2) Criminal charges (where warranted).  Each entity operates separate and apart from each other. In other words, the NCHA has to make a decision and law enforcement has to make a decision. The incident becomes problematic for the NCHA due to existing membership rules and member opinion.

In my opinion, the NCHA should be commended on the “fast track” this incident has been placed on and a final decision should be determined on prima facia evidence (only) and regardless of Manion’s financial affiliations with the NCHA. After all, a rule violation is a rule violation. Evidence is evidence. A decision should be made on the facts of the case, and the facts alone.

Read More