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By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
March 4, 2019


Through time and memorial, I’ve written a litany of articles on horse slaughter, horse abuse and the many sufferings horses are subjected to in their often-times short lifespan.  Perhaps, the most unsavory of them all is:  The FRAUD associated with individuals posing as legitimate horse rescues which turn out to be nothing more than FRAUDULENT SCAM ARTISTS whose sole purpose is to acquire horse(s) from owners under nefarious pretenses, in order to supply the horse-slaughter pipeline with fresh horse meat for their own greed and monetary reward.

Over the years, my research has revealed a myriad of reasons why the once revered and adored household pet (the horse) ends up in a foreign slaughter house. However, the primary factor can be contributed to economic hardship for the private owner.  Once the owner can no longer sustain the financial responsibility of owning and caring for a horse, the owner undergoes a gut-wrenching dilemma of what to do with their revered and adored pet.  On one hand their emotional attachment to the horse demands that the horse be cared for, while on the other hand they have no idea how to find that forever-caring home for their pet. Primary care of the horse is the viable option, while the foreign horse slaughter house is viewed as an abhorrent alternative.  After a period of vacillation, the owner eventually explores the “HORSE RESCUE OPTION.”

There are a lot of reasons why horses enter the foreign horse-slaughter pipeline but the primary contributing factor is the over population of horses in the United States.  As a Quarter Horse breeder, my opinion is that “Over population is primarily motivated by greed and big money”.  Each spring, a new supply of foals are born, with each one having a chance of entering the foreign horse-slaughter pipeline due to their inability to become a superstar in the show pen arena or on the race track. Other factors include accidents or injuries during training or showing. The success versus the washout ratio is very high with the “washout factor” being an important component to the equation.


Scientific advances in horse breeding is another contributing factor in the over-population of horses in the United States and include:  Frozen semen that allows stallions to breed from the grave long after they’ve crossed over the rainbow bridge; multiple-embryo transfer that allows a single mare to produce multiple foals in a single year, as well as shipped cooled semen that allows a single stallion to remain stationery in a single geographical location while breeding mares in multiple states as well as in the international marketplace.


Another motivating factor for a horse’s entry into the foreign slaughter horse pipeline is illegal drug use.  In order to have a horse perform at a higher pace, run faster and jump higher, the unscrupulous trainer incorporates a regiment of illegal cocktail injections or ingestions into the horse’s daily training regiment.

However, these illegal concoctions actually do more harm to the horse in the short term than in the long run.  To quantify this assertion, I previously authored an article on the subject entitled:  THE MECHANICAL HORSE, A HORSE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS.  Essentially, illegal drug use allows the musculature of a horse to develop faster than the bone structure; therefore, the horse’s bone frame can’t withstand the energy exerted on it by the powerful built muscles attributed to illegal drug use.  This is the direct causative factor for broken bones, ruined hocks and stifle ligament damage. Click on the following link for a review of the article:

☛ Mechanical Horse Under the Influence 8-6-14


As the name implies, Horse Rescues are privately owned organizations whose mission statement and objective is to provide a sanctuary for unwanted, neglected, abused and/or abandoned horses.  A horse rescue usually occupies one of three business categories:  1) Non-profit, 2) 501 (C) 3 non-profit and 3) privately owned.  As previously discussed in a previous article, the Federal 501 (C) 3 is a charitable organization with tax exempt status, the Non-Profit is a state-organized entity with tax-exempt status and the privately owned business has no tax exempt status. Of the three categories, the only one which affords a tax write off is the 501 (C) 3.  

However, each one has to adhere to either state or federal [public] financial disclosure laws.

The fact of reality is:  There are a lot of professional organizations in existence who meet or exceed their mission statement and objective. However, on the other hand, there are a lot of unscrupulous individuals in existence whose sole purpose is to defraud the horse owner out of his or her horse under false pretenses and for personal gain.  The “scam artist” is usually a very smooth-talking and accomplished individual who could sell ice cream to an Eskimo “so-to-speak.”  Of late, the Internet is reporting an increase in arrests, prosecutions, convictions and imprisonments of individuals who have been identified by law enforcement as being the “fraudulent type”.  The reported cases do not occupy one specific geographical location or region in the United States. Instead, they comprise a litany of states. Two such cases are identified as follows:


According to a Union Parish, La.  Sheriff’s Office press release printed in The Blood Horse: “Horseman Tied To Rescue Outfit Faces Cruelty Charges”, Hal Parker, a Louisiana man involved with a controversial horse-rescue operation, was arrested Feb. 19 and charged on multiple counts of cruelty to animals and theft of a horse. To read the entire article click here: Link:

Hal Parker, 60, of Marion in northern Louisiana, near the Arkansas state line, was taken into custody following a five-week investigation into his involvement in acquiring horses, mostly Thoroughbreds, from auction houses known for selling animals for slaughter, that Parker would then re-sell,

Parker was charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty, two counts of simple animal cruelty and one charge of theft related to allegations that a woman in Iowa paid for a horse she never received, according to the Sheriff’s Office.  Parker’s bond was set at $250,000.  The investigation is currently on-going.


Another  example was reported by FOX NEWS on Jan. 17, 2019. A third-year veterinary school student in Alabama was arrested Saturday after allegedly promising to care for rescue horses but instead selling them to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

Fallon Blackwood, 24, was taken into custody at a rodeo in Blount Count, Alabama, three months after she was indicted on 13 counts for bringing into the state, property obtained by false pretense elsewhere.

The 24-year-old was also arrested at a veterinary school in Macon County, Alabama, eight months ago on an outstanding North Carolina warrant on similar charges, according to the Birmingham News.  Blackwood is accused of telling owners of older horses that she would take their horses to live on her farm in Boaz, Alabama, according to the criminal complaint.  But many of the owners said that instead of providing a place of refuge, the 24-year-old sold the horses to slaughter houses in Mexico for meat. The previous owners filed complaints with authorities after Blackwood could not account for their horses. To read the complete article, click on the following link:


The primary instrument used by law enforcement to reconcile a horse rescue’s books during an investigation is by the use of a “forensic audit”. A forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual’s financial records and information for use as evidence in court.  A forensic audit  can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial crimes or claims.  As a Risk Manager and Risk Analyst, a forensic audit is my primary tool of choice to reconcile a set of books during a Risk Management Audit.  It’s concise, complete and separates the wheat-from-the-chaff, so to speak.  

In Drug Enforcement, I used this exact same investigative tool to dismantle a myriad of illegal drug cartels. I can personally attest to its effectiveness.  I was trained by the IRS and the FBI.  Therefore, my advice for any horse rescue is: Maintain an impeccable set of financial records to ensure he or she can pass a forensic audit if the need arises.  Every donation, horse, horse-related expenditures and adoption records should be accounted for.  If not, the end result could be dire for the owner of the horse rescue.

There are a lot of very fine horse rescues out there; you just have to find one.  My recommendation for the prospective individual requiring the services of a horse rescue is to perform a due diligent search, including Guidstar, to ascertain they are really a 501 (C) 3 non-profit, and ask for references as well as checking with the local law enforcement to ascertain whether or not any animal-abuse complaints had been filed against the facility.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Wind River Company LLC
Freelance Writer and Author
Phone (985) 630-3500
Web Site:

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  1. Good article Richard.


  2. Dear Mr. Dennis congratulations on your excellent articles that was sent to me and thank you for your references to To further enlighten your readers on the capabilities of I have prepared a brief overview on salary compensation:

    Accurate nonprofit compensation is often tough to find. That’s exactly why we created the Guidestar compensation report. It’s comprised using 160,000 observations from 113,000 IRS filings.

    Thank you


  3. Just finished reading your wonderful trio of articles on nonprofits and horse rescues. With your in-depth background and experience in law enforcement I’ve Invited you in a group that involves a 9 year old girl that supposedly ran away from black hills children society in rapid city south Dakota. Thought you could help into eliten people on searches. I personally don’t believe she ever left from inside the children home. Thank you


  4. This is truly a great article!

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