It started with finding a horse lamed by barbed wire, living knee deep in raw sewage, being underfed. He was further lamed by a rider 100 lbs. too heavy for his size, riding on gravel roads without shoes. His feet were overgrown to further crippling levels. He lived in a junkyard of rusty machinery, with hazardous broken fencing. He had come up to Canada from People Helping Horses, two years previous. He had been tangled in barbed wire while on their watch.
I was appalled to find he had been adopted from a rescue. It was clear from his Success Story on PHH's website, they knew of the horrific conditions. This horse was further adopted to Society of Creative Anachronism "jousters." These complete amateurs were going to ride a lame horse with one blind eye, at full gallop in competitions.
When I met them, they were yahooing the horses around recklessly on concrete with sewer holes and on gravel. They did not have even the skills to lead a horse out of a stall, let alone ride. To get their animals in and out of stalls, they cracked whips and slammed doors and gates directly on their bodies. None of the tack fit. Halters, bridles, saddles; it was all so tight and badly cracked from lack of cleaning, the horses were being rubbed raw just from this.
In the two years since the horse had been adopted, PHH did no reference checks and no follow up visits. The adopter transported the horse herself from Arlington WA to BC. If PHH did any sort of adopter evaluation, they didn't care that these people had 0 experience or facilities for a horse. I quite frankly wouldn't keep a rat on their farm.
I began investigating PHH. I wondered how a "rescue" that garners over $1 million annually, could not rehab and monitor a horse such as this. I also wondered why they were rehoming only ten horses per year. I have rescued animals for decades, responsibly, and could rehab and rehome dozens for just one year's worth of PHH donations.
I took prolific photos and videos, and of course called the SPCA. With the help of other horse advocates, evidence went to the WA Attorney General. Witnesses from PHH came forward, as well.
This rescue deserved to be shut down. God willing, it will make people more cautious in future.
The poor horse was moved to a decent facility after SPCA intervention. Unfortunately, a similarly abused senior cat horribly died of neglect, despite my efforts to save his life.
To further highlight the nature of the "adopters": I am still being harassed by their friends. An entire network of people were yahooing on their horses, and protecting them in their abusive endeavours.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Celebrate that it has shut down. Caution people to visit local rescues, look at the books, visit past adopters, read the contracts. Please donate locally, to entities whom you know are using your money responsibly.
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