• Report: #202919

Complaint Review: Columbia Basin Equine Rescue - CBER

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  • Submitted: Tue, July 25, 2006
  • Updated: Mon, July 02, 2012

  • Reported By:who have been ripped off by CBER! Other
Columbia Basin Equine Rescue - CBER
440 Richartz Road Yakima, Washington U.S.A.

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue - CBER ripoff, dishonest, scam, cover-ups, thieves, liars ripoff Yakima Washington

*Consumer Comment: The Financial Facts

*General Comment: 2006 Article

*Consumer Comment: Satisfied CBER Horse Owner

*Consumer Comment: CBER Horse Rescue or Horse Trader?

*Consumer Comment: More questions

*Consumer Comment: Response to 7 questions for anti-CBER people

*UPDATE Employee: So much incorrect information.

*Consumer Comment: Personal CBER experience

*UPDATE Employee: CBER's Response

*Consumer Comment: CBER is not an honest organization

*Consumer Comment: CBER is trying hard, I have seen it...

*Consumer Comment: Here's what is wrong

*Consumer Comment: Just too many questions about CBER

*Consumer Comment: The Trolls are out!

*Consumer Comment: Columbia Basin Equine Rescue

*Consumer Comment: A few facts to consider

*Consumer Comment: More questions/comments

*Consumer Suggestion: It's time CBER cleaned up its act

*Consumer Comment: Where is this info validated?

*Consumer Comment: Another ex-CBER loyal

*Consumer Comment: What are you talking about?

*Consumer Suggestion: Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

*Consumer Suggestion: Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

*Consumer Suggestion: Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

*Consumer Suggestion: Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

*Consumer Comment: Satisfied CBER Member

*Author of original report: Before you donate, get the facts...

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Before you donate to Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, get the facts about where your money is going.

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue solicits donations as a 501(c)(3) charity. Yet they IP ban from their message board anyone who asks questions about financials or criticizes them for their poor screening of adopters and foster homes, several of which have starved horses.

If we do a little research, we find out why. Sam Milbredt, president of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, helped run Sleepy Hollow, a Washington rescue that was shut down for abuse. She was treasurer of Sleepy Hollow (proven by the Sleepy Hollow 501(c)(3) filing). She is the owner of the domain frenchwellsfarm which used to host the Sleepy Hollow site. Archive doesn't lie! Donors paid for one particular horse and Columbia Basin Equine Rescue sent her to a home they chose for her and allegedly checked out.

Two months later when they got her back, she was a rack of bones with an injured leg. A pissed-off donor is the one who finally called the police after CBER ignored her demands that they do so. CBER now accuses the donors of "interfering with the investigation?" Actually, that would be "initiating the investigation."

Sam refuses to provide updates or pictures of horses rescued who are at her own house. Donations were solicited to rescue an emaciated pregnant Thoroughbred mare named Moonstruck. She was taken to Sam's house and never heard from again, despite numerous requests from donors for pictures to show that she was safe and gaining weight.

Now they claim she was adopted on a "gift contract" - to someone who allegedly has no internet access and therefore will never able to tell the people who paid for her that she is okay. Convenient, isn't it? Where does all the money go? Maybe it went to fund a lavish barbecue held at her house this spring - at which the "killer dealer" they claim to despise was partying with the so-called rescuers.

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue is not a rescue. It is a horse dealership that has no concern for where the horses wind up after the "bail" is paid and refuses to even cover the cost of caring for their own horses in foster care.

Don't believe this post? Please, investigate them yourself! Ask them where the money is. See if they can tell you where the horses they've rescued even are. Ask them if all of the horses they have in "foster care" have even been seen by a veterinarian once at their expense. Ask if they are up to date on hoof care, deworming and tooth floating.

Just ask, before you give.

A group of honest people
who have been ripped off by CBER!
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/25/2006 08:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Columbia-Basin-Equine-Rescue-CBER/Yakima-Washington-98903/Columbia-Basin-Equine-Rescue-CBER-ripoff-dishonest-scam-cover-ups-thieves-liars-rip-202919. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

The Financial Facts

AUTHOR: Maureen Tierney - (United States of America)

Let's end the debate over CBER income.  In the years 2006, 2007, and 2008, CBER reported to the IRS income of $417,462, $268,146, and $214,854, respectively.  These are facts. I have copies of the tax returns, as they are public records for 501(c)3's. 

That is $900,462!!  Almost a million dollars in three years. 
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#2 General Comment

2006 Article

AUTHOR: Becki - (United States of America)

For all of you United Horsemen people that will use this in your pro propaganda, this article is from 2006!!!!!!!!!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Satisfied CBER Horse Owner

AUTHOR: Karan - (U.S.A.)

I am the proud owner of a CBER horse that was given to me on a gift contract. I have contact with the donor who paid for my horse and update her usually daily on my horse with pictures!
Since adopting my beautiful OTTB I now volunteer with CBER and love each and every minute I spend helping to find homes for these horses. We have in the business many naysayers and hateful people who love nothing more than to give out false information and spread lies.
Try doing it yourself instead of trying to twart our attempts and see how much money you dont make! A small fee doesnt cover even half the cost that is put into each horse.
If any of you have questions Ill be happy to answer them at (((ROR REDACTED)))

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#4 Consumer Comment

CBER Horse Rescue or Horse Trader?

AUTHOR: Lincoln Loper - (U.S.A.)

I can't comment on the finances or the nonprofit status of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER), however, I can comment on my experience with them and the "rescue" of Ace (aka Soft Kiss). In April 2007, I "rescued" a three year old gelding from CBER. Ace was quaranteed as required by state law at Sam's place for almost two months. During Ace's QT, Sam was proactive in getting him seen by a vet who updated all his shots and provided his travel papers to come to California. I received pictures and updates from Sam every couple of weeks.

CBER also helped me located a hauler who provided excellent care for Ace on his trip from Washington State to California. After an almost 16 hour ride in the trailer Ace arrived fresh and relaxed. The hauler works with CBER and provides a discounted price to owners of rescue horses. I know I received a good price because I researched other haulers.

CBER contacted my references and I was told by my references that CBER spent a great deal of time finding out about my history as a horse owner. I don't believe a "trader" would go to so much trouble if all they were interested in was my money.

I recently had to contact Deb and Sam at CBER about some health history on Ace. The health issues weren't serious and CBER could not have known the issue existed based on a physical exam alone. They responded without hesitation and appeared to be geniunely interested in Ace's future.

Again, I can't comment on their nonprofit status etc. I do know that my experience with CBER was professional and I received exactly the horse I thought I was getting. I had never before in my life purchased a horse without seeing it in person but I trusted CBER's disclosure and evaluation of this horse. He has been wonderful and is going to make a fabulous mount for any discipline.

Rescue or trader, I don't care. I received a wonderful horse that I expect to keep for a very long time. I am glad he didn't go to Canada on some truck.

Respectfully,
Mariane
Brentwood, CA
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#5 Consumer Comment

More questions

AUTHOR: Angela - (U.S.A.)

"The people who are issuing the complaints are the same people that CBER has been dealing with for quite some time. These questions have been answered but yet they continue to ask the same questions over and over; probably because they didn't like our answer and hope get a different answer that they really want to hear? "

Wendy I e-mailed you asking for your 990 shortly after the Hamlet incident in April, and a second time since.
I have still not seen it or heard back from you. Why would the VP and Secretary of an organization ignore those requests?
The IRS doesn;t care if I have 2 heads and spit purple prune juice, if I ask for that paperwork you/CBER, as a 501, HAVE to make it available.

"Anyone who was banned from CBER's BB is not just because they asked for financial records, there are many other reasons and warnings have been issued and ignored which led to being banned."

I got zero warnings and I was banned based on hearsay between two other members of the bb that eluded to my HUSBAND having questions about the integrity of the organization.

"None of the CBER board members or volunteers were active board members with Sleepy Hollow Horse Rescue (SHHR) at the time of its closure as stated. "

So just cause you left before the shit hit the fan' means you had NO idea there was any shit? Baloney. So why did you leave then?

"However, a certain person, who has issued complaints towards CBER was an active board member as the Vice President and lived not very far from where SHHR was located. Funny how she allows accusations against Samantha being on the SHHR board (she resigned in the spring of 2004 after being on the board only a few months) continue when she knows full well it's not true. "

The person you are mentioning was part of SHHR, and was also a large part of the prosecution and conviction that occured cause she cooperated with the authorities. You and Sam Panayotopulos were in a position to provide the prosecutors with information, but would not cooperate with the authorities. Why?

"People continue to state they have proof to support their accusations or complaints. People state they have contacted the CBER board members multiple times regarding their concerns and/or complaints and have received no response. I am the Vice President of CBER, and have not received any direct e-mails from the majority of the dissatisfied people. "

The majority? So you HAVE received direct e-mails form some? And you provided them with...? I e-mailed you and got nothing.

"These complaints were issued on CBER's public BB or other areas, and it has been requested multiple times by the CBER board members to contact us directly, not post it on the BB or elsewhere. Anyone have any questions or concerns regarding CBER, please feel free to contact me at sissy2go2000@yahoo.com.

Thank you,
Wendy DeGraaf
CBER Vice President

Wendy-Benton City,Washington
U.S.A."

Wendy, people e-mail you all the time and meet deafening silence, get tired of waiting out a response that will never come, and then go to the only other source of information on you, your bb. Makes sense to me. And if you have several people asking the same questions, as in the Hamlet case, why not answeron your bb, instead of addressing e-mail after e-mail individually? Makes no sense for an overtaxed, understaffed all volunteer organization to do things the harder way.... unless there's another reason not to answer.

"That tells me immediately you dont understand how the CBER adoptions work. If a horse is listed at $600, the lot owner is getting something like $450, while CBER is getting $150. "

Why is CBER getting anything? They don't own the horse- which is how they get around treating illnesses and injuries. They can not medicate, vaccinate, provide farrier care for, or otherwise care for the horses... because they do not own them... and yet they rake in $150/horse? Sounds like a small amount until you multiply it by the thousand plus they have placed/sold....
As evidenced by the following:

The horses at the lot ARE NOT in CBER's care. They are owned by someone else entirely. CBER is run strictly by volunteers who work as many hours as possible photographing and assesing the horses. CBER does not own these horses!! Its not up to them to be able to act any way they want with them-- everything must be cleared with the horse's owner.

So tell me again why CBEr takes in $150 per horse? To help out those fostering horses from the dealer? Nope even when they do ask, or beg for financial help the foster homes get nothing.
To pay a lease on CBER Pres Sam Panayotopulos' farm? Where she also gets paid board for any horses housed there? To line the "Pull fund"? Which is used for what?

To buy Sams truck, trailer and car from her so that she can drive them without having to pay gas, maintenance, and insurance on them? What have you used the truck trailer for anyway? What was the advantage to CBER as an organization, to purchasing those??

Why did Sam take a sponsored horse out of foster, return it to the lot, and then send it to slaughter without talking to the sponsor??? I thought CBER was against sending horses to slaughter???
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#6 Consumer Comment

Response to 7 questions for anti-CBER people

AUTHOR: Anybody - (U.S.A.)

1)Do you really think they should be eaten by people in foreign countries?

Of course not, and neither does anyone else who is upset with CBER. Being anti-slaughter and being anti-CBER are not contradictory. I can support feeding the poor and yet oppose giving money to an organization that claims to feed the poor, but manages money poorly and often leaves the poor worse off than they were before the organization got involved.

2) do you believe the horses are better off at the feedlot waiting for a truck to come and get them to be slaughtered?

Again, of course not. But those horses should be rescued at the auction or newspaper level, before the owners get so desperate they sell them to a dealer. Giving a dealer 3x the horse's value doesn't fix the problem of slaughter. It gets that horse off the lot, but that's just the one you see. You're putting money in the pockets of a guy who is just going to buy twenty horses you don't see and ship them to slaughter.

We have it on good authority that Chuck gets many horses free or for less than $100. Then you guys pay $700 for the same horse and Chuck claps his hands in glee, gives CBER their $150 cut, and goes out and buys 5 more with that money to ship to slaughter. Why don't you care about them? Why do you keep giving this man so much money?

3) Why do you support sports that send horses to the feedlot (only some breeders) when they have no more use to them, like racing?

Horse sports are not to blame for horses going to a horse dealer's. Irresponsible owners are. Those irresponsible owners may be people who compete with their horses or they may be trail riders. Make a list of the horses CBER has listed - only a small percentage are tattooed Thoroughbreds. Most are chunky QH's, Appaloosas, and Paints. They weren't bred for the track.

4) Why are YOU not doing something for horses other than bashing rescues?

Why do you assume we aren't? All of us who oppose CBER are former supporters of CBER who are now funding other rescues with our dollars. Every one of us has rescued horses of our own that we are still spending a great deal of money to rehab and care for. Again, criticizing CBER and being pro-rescue and actively involved simply are not mutually exclusive states.

5) Do you work for the slaughter houses?

That's an amusing allegation, but again, of course not. You are like those people who say that anyone who supports a war must want to see people die. It's a little more complex than that. Most things in life are.

6) If Columbia Basin Equine Rescue doesn't help those on the feedlot that have no other chance at life, who should they be helping?

They should be helping those horses. They should not be lying about their condition to get them adopted, marking up horses to a ridiculous extent, and paying their President board while refusing to pay their foster homes for expenses.

They repeatedly refuse to help foster homes in need. They turn their back on adoptions that aren't working out. They wouldn't call the sheriff for over a month after finding out a "group adopter" was starving horses. Now they're mad at us for doing so. Don't you even see that this is not rescue? This is just selling horses.

7) If you really believe that Columbia Basin is a rip off, why aren't you buying horses at the auctions before they can go to the feedlot?

At the moment, I think most of us are at capacity taking care of the rescues we already have and donating to reputable rescues like (((competitor's name deleted - see below))). This may surprise you, but some people draw the line at a number they can properly afford to feed, vet and care for. They don't shove 80 horses on 11 acres and hope for the best.

I hope that answered your questions. Feel free to ask more!

sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#7 UPDATE Employee

So much incorrect information.

AUTHOR: Amanda - (U.S.A.)

There were so many incorrect assumptions in the complaints that I dont even know where to start.

First, I am a CBER "supporter." I have one CBER lot horse. I am not a volunteer.

The biggest issue, is someone mentioned that CBER "took in $400,000 from its donors".

That tells me immediately you dont understand how the CBER adoptions work. If a horse is listed at $600, the lot owner is getting something like $450, while CBER is getting $150.

THIS IMMEDIATELY ELIMINATES 75% of the so called "profit" of the donation. Granted, some donations are purely that -- donations-- but much of the 'donations' are actually adoption fees-- aka "prices" for the horses.

Second, even shelters and humane societies have adoption fees. Do you thik you're "buying" a dog or adopting one? Does it make a difference?

Third, Someone stated that they went from $50K in one year to $400K the next. Let's assume this is true. Now, doesn't this mean that they are a newer rescue with an explosion of popularity? Wouldn't this make you think that maybe they dont have all the kinks ironed out and they are working to figure out what kind of systems work and what they can do with their "profits" to be best utilizied?

Fourth, THEY DO PROMOTE ANTI-SLAUGHTER in the governement, as evidenced by their support of the bills and their urging on their bulletin board to get everyone to write their congressmen/senators.

Fifth, someone said something about the horses at the lot being sick, injured, etc, and "how can CBER let this go on in their care.

The horses at the lot ARE NOT in CBER's care. They are owned by someone else entirely. CBER is run strictly by volunteers who work as many hours as possible photographing and assesing the horses. CBER does not own these horses!! Its not up to them to be able to act any way they want with them-- everything must be cleared with the horse's owner.

Sixth-- Yes, the lot owner is licensed as a horse dealer and NOT a feed lot. This is something talked about over and over on CBER's message boards. What this dealer does is keep the horses for a short period, and any that are not bought by the public or adopted via CBER are sent to an actual feed lot for 30 day so or so and then shipped to slaughter. The second they leave the "dealer's" place, they have no more changes.

Seventh-- It is possible and probably true that CBER increases his bottom line by paying a slightly increased fee in order to get the horses out. Its no secret that their prices are above meat prices.

But I challenge you to do this: Go to the feedlot. Sit and watch the horses mill around, and look them in the eye. And YOU decide if you can watch these horses be shipped to slaughter becuase you dont want to line his pocket.

In all, CBER is still in its early stages. Maybe there are some kinks. Maybe you wish it was more clear how exactly everything happens and where money goes and what every little thing means. But in the end, they are all volunteers and they must work in all those issues along with getting these horses out of a bad situation.

Its very simple: I look out my window and see two horses (one is mine, one is a friend's) that would currently be on someone's plate, and instead they're running around and rolling in the grass. SOLEY because of CBER. I'm sorry if its not perfect enough for YOU, but its perfect enough for THEM.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Personal CBER experience

AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

Wow, I am at work and do not have much time to write and proof a legnthy letter. But, I want to at least share my personal experience with CBER.

First Horse: I first heard of them online and joined imediately. Save horses, who would not want to do that. I started out by Full Fostering (this means you pay all the bills/feed/care) Hitch. Hitch was an emaciated and sick twenty year old gelding. I drove to Yakima to pick him up from Heidi's house. Paying for my own fuel. Hitch had been stuck in the mud at the feedlot and pulled out by a tractor, to say the least, he was in bad shape.

I got him home, started him on a warm mash with needed supplements. He was coated in mud/feces and had very little strength. With in several days he colliced. I had the vet out for a mineral treatment. Walked him that night and stayed by his side. The vet examined him and said he was actualy close to 30+ years old and was amazed he had endured as much as he had. Two days later he colliced again. I walked him throughout the day, waiting for the vet to arrive again. By that time he was in bad shape and we made the humane descision to euthanize him. The two vet bills came to a total of over 500.00 dollars. I asked CBER for assistance and they said to post instead a request on the general chat board and see if anyone would donate to my cause. I felt foolish begging for help but could not afford the substanital bill on my own. Gracious supports donated all except 50.00 which I paid.

Second horse: You'd think I would learn my lesson-No. I offered to temporarily board a horse that was recently adopted by a sponsor that was out of town. The horse's rear legs were in to poor a condition to travel to the adopters home. So I was a temporary healing/holding home. So again, I drove to Yakima to pick up Italy (Renee). Renee stayed with me for several months. She was extremely down in the back pasterns and in immense pain. The adopter was very kind in supplying supplements and funding to care for her, but I felt her quality of life was poor and, seeing no improvement in that time, asked that she be moved to another home.

So, she was given to another rescue (painted acres) in Goldendale. When she was with me she had to be stalled constantly, as turning her out in pasture would aggrevate the swelling and stress to her pasterns to the point she would lay down most of the day to escape the pain. She was a horse that was to NOT be rescued off the lot, as her previous owners knew her quality of like would be poor and did not want that to continue. Granted she should have been euthanized, still, CBER should not have adopted her out.

Third horse: Ryan asked me to help her out with a horse in a foster situation that had gone south. The horse was located about 1.5 hours from me and she asked me if I could pick her up and take care of her until something permanent could be found. I agreed to if CBER would be willing to pay me 80.00 dollars a month. As I myself was short on cash and did not want to end up over extended. CBER agreed to this so I headed off to get Twain. When I arrived to load her I was amazed at the poor condition she was in. She was emaciated, completely off on her left front foot and had obvious deformalities on her other legs. I got her home, stalled her and started her on supplements for weight gain and bute for her lame hoof.

I contacted CBER about her condition and they said they did not have funds for a vet check so to just keep an eye on her. I could not stand that so called in a favor to my farrier and had him examine her. He was able to dig out a bad abcess that I bandadged and treated for two weeks until it resolved. I then asked for for funding to be able to have her vet axamined as it was obvious she had other issues. They declined. Then a wonderful sponsor from California hear of my issue/concern and sent the money for the vet exam and corrective shoes that Twain needed. The vet exam reported as follows:

"Twain" a rescue horse cared for by Sarah was examined at AVMC on this date to determine potential athletic abilities. Multiple conformational defects were evident at initial examination.

Right Front: moderately toed out from the carpus distally.

Left Front: hoof wall defect with crack, portion of toe broken off, grade 2/5 lameness at the trot.

Right Rear: severely toed in from the fetlock distally with secondary thickening of the pastern bone with evident ringbone.

Left Rear: fluid and bone thickening of the hock joint.

Due to the multiple conformational defects it was determined that this filly should not be adopted as a potential athlete/riding companion. The left front at this time is showing lameness but with the abnormalities in the other limbs, I would suspect lameness in the near futer.

Yet this mare was described/assess at the feed lot as "straight legged and sound" I would think it would be pretty hard to miss ALL these soundness issues. So, back to fostering her. As agreed CBER made April's 80.00 payment. I had her hooves trimmed in may after getting payment permission from CBER, but then May comes and goes and no board/trim money. Then June comes, still no board money. Did I mention earlier that I myself was short on cash, with my own horses to feed. Yes, CBER continues to not pay. Ryan emails Sam (CBER pres.) numerous times to the point she actualy states that CBER actions embarrass her and she apologizes to me. At this point CBER pays for May and Junes board and one trim in July. So now it is July and I am due for July's board. In the mean time, Twain is still advertised as straight legged and sound.

Third horse: This horse was not a CBER rescue, but a horse that I was trying out from a gal that had group adopted several CBER horses. This gal met me at the feedlot while picking up a horse she was going to foster. Yakima was a halfway point and I was meeting her there to get this horse from her. This horse was supposed to be a retired roper in fair condition. When she unloaded him from the trailer at the feedlot parking lot I was in shock. He was skin and bones, mane falling out and was extremely stoved up/sore in his hind end. Heidi was there at the feedlot to meet this gal also and help her load up the CBER horse.

Heidi saw the condition in which this horse was and yet said nothing and allowed this lady to leave the lot with yet another CBER horse. If you know about the CCG incident, you know who I am talking about. This happened about a month before the CCG incident was disclosed. Yet, NO ONE drove to this ladies house to do a site check on the numerous other CBER horses she was fostering. Did this not raise anyones concern, that she had a horse in this poor a condition and saw nothing wrong with it. I nursed the horse back to health and talked the lady into letting me rehome him.

Fourth horse: I drive to Seattle and adopt a horse that is listed on CBER site under "community rescues" the horse's name is B. He is advertised and steady and calm, ridden my an amateur with ease. I adopt him, bring him home and start to find out that his description does not fit him. He throws my husband twice and then while I am ridding him he explodes and throws me. I end up landing face first on a rock, breaking my face in four places. I contact CBER, asking them to relist the horse or help me place him. I am scared of him and do not want to continue homing him. Let alone the fact I am dealing with healing from my injuries. I am told by CBER (which of course they deny) to euthanize him. I am appaleed. B is beautiful, sweet, respectful of fences, handlers and other horses. But, they say they can not list a known dangerous horse. Funny, they have ex bucking stock on their site. Add that one up. So, I reach out to other rescues and find a trainer willing to take him on and evaluate his issues.

Whether he can be trained and ridden or adopted out as a pature ornament. Well, he is doing well in his new setting. He has bucked a couple of times with a trainer at a lcinic, but has been ridden through it and is progressing Has been ridden several times now, including a weekend away at the beach. Yet, CBER wanted nothing to do with him. Would not even list him as a pasture ornament at no cost. But yet they were willing to advertise him as "ridden by an amateur with ease".

All I can say is........ If they are paying so much for fosters/sponsored horses, why did they decline to help with Hitch's bills. Why did it take numerous emails to get Twains feed money, knowing I was in tight spot myself. What if I had not scrounged the money to feed her and let her go downhill the way her first foster home had. Why was she in such a bad foster home to begin with. Why did a California sponsor have to step up and pay for Twain's vet evaluation instead of CBER. Why were they so inacurate to assess her at the feedlot in the first place. She was listed as sound even after I forwarded the information to them for an update. Why as a rescue would they recommend I euthanize one of their OWN rescue horses??????????? Does this not raise questions of your own?

From concerned in Walla Walla

If they deny this, which I am sure they will, it is an outright lie. What I have stated here is the truth. I pitty the horses, for those are the ones that suffer
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#9 UPDATE Employee

CBER's Response

AUTHOR: Wendy - (U.S.A.)

In response to the numerous complaints made by several people on this site, Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER) would like to issue the following statement:

The people who are issuing the complaints are the same people that CBER has been dealing with for quite some time. These questions have been answered but yet they continue to ask the same questions over and over; probably because they didn't like our answer and hope get a different answer that they really want to hear?

Anyone who was banned from CBER's BB is not just because they asked for financial records, there are many other reasons and warnings have been issued and ignored which led to being banned. None of the CBER board members or volunteers were active board members with Sleepy Hollow Horse Rescue (SHHR) at the time of its closure as stated.

However, a certain person, who has issued complaints towards CBER was an active board member as the Vice President and lived not very far from where SHHR was located. Funny how she allows accusations against Samantha being on the SHHR board (she resigned in the spring of 2004 after being on the board only a few months) continue when she knows full well it's not true.

People continue to state they have proof to support their accusations or complaints. People state they have contacted the CBER board members multiple times regarding their concerns and/or complaints and have received no response. I am the Vice President of CBER, and have not received any direct e-mails from the majority of the dissatisfied people.

These complaints were issued on CBER's public BB or other areas, and it has been requested multiple times by the CBER board members to contact us directly, not post it on the BB or elsewhere. Anyone have any questions or concerns regarding CBER, please feel free to contact me at sissy2go2000@yahoo.com.

Thank you,
Wendy DeGraaf
CBER Vice President
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#10 Consumer Comment

CBER is not an honest organization

AUTHOR: Ali - (U.S.A.)

This rescue is the biggest scam ever.

If you give your money to CBER don't be surprised if they use it to pay their mortgage, buy a new truck or use it to buy supplies and food to party with the so called "feedlot" owner (the man who sells to slaughter).

There are hundreds of other honest rescues who need help. My suggestion is to do your research and make sure you are donating to a true rescue, rather then a scam horse dealer like CBER.
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#11 Consumer Comment

CBER is trying hard, I have seen it...

AUTHOR: Lisa - (U.S.A.)

I have been one who adopted a horse through CBER and am totally happy with them. I also have seen how they care for the horses in their care. I have personally sat up with a horse that they paid for the vet to come and put in an I.V. to try to save it. I have seen many go to great homes. I have seen how hard the people that VOLUNTEER work to save these poor horses at very resonable prices. Only to have some people go on their and say," I want that horse.I will have the money on such and such of a date" Only to disapear and then that horse is lost to slaughter. People that sabotoge them only help kill horses that they could have saved. So why run these hard working people down when all they want is to SAVE THE HORSES!!!

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#12 Consumer Comment

Here's what is wrong

AUTHOR: Trying To Be - (U.S.A.)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a rescue owning a truck and trailer, I would expect it. The problem is, when the rescue owns a truck and trailer and the President is too lazy to go pick up horses that need to removed from the homes they are in ASAP.

In one situation, there were multiple CBER horses at a home that were literally being starved to death. One of those horses, Corporal, was returned a full month before somebody finally went and got all the others, and no, it wasn't the President, but once again, volunteers who used their own vehicles and money. The excuse given when asked, they were trying to get the person who had the horses to bring them to the President. Huh? Why didn't she go get them a month ago, because she didn't want to be bothered, CBER was making more money by getting additional horses off the lot instead of taking care of the ones already off the lot that had already been paid for.

As for the BBQ, no real problem with that, unless you are using donated money to to entertain the Board of Directors, the feedlot owner, and a few invited guests without making it an open invitation.

- Former CBER supporter in OR
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#13 Consumer Comment

Just too many questions about CBER

AUTHOR: Cathy - (U.S.A.)

I was a huge supporter of CBER and defended them for a long time but their own leadership's refusal to respond to questions finally turned me off.

If you post questions on their message board that they are uncomfortable with, they ban you. They tell everybody to e-mail the leadership privately. But when you do e-mail the leadership privately, no one responds. You might get a response from a cheerful volunteer that sounds like "I don't know the answer, but I'm sure everything is just fine!" but you never get a straight answer from the leadership.

The only way to find out what has become of a horse you donated money to save is the message board. But they have banned many donors from the message board, so now we know nothing. If those horses are adopted permanently, how will we know to request our money back? The answer: we won't. CBER has no intention of giving us our money back. Instead, they will collect money twice for the same horse - the money we sent to get the horse off the lot, and then the adoption fee when it is permanently adopted. They will get, for example, $1400 total on a horse who would have sold for around $300 for meat. This is an excellent business for them - unfortunately it is highly unethical.

Am I pro-slaughter? Hardly. You can google my full name, Cathy Atkinson, and read my many published letters and petition signatures fighting to end slaughter forever. No secret about where I stand. I have been extremely vocal.

I want to see horses rescued from slaughter, but not so that they can go to questionable homes where some have been starved and abused. I don't want to see eager adopters being sold horses who die of illness within a week or two with no reimbursement from CBER for the "adoption" fee or the vet bills. I don't want to see volunteers asked to haul horses and then not even be reimbursed for their gasoline. I don't want to hear that foster homes have begged for help with vet bills and not even gotten an e-mail in response. I do not want to see someone sold a horse as being beginner safe who then seriously injures her and when she asks CBER for help placing the horse in another home, she is told CBER cannot market him because he is dangerous. Give me a break, this is an organization that places known bucking horses from rodeos without any qualms.

It is not any one thing that has turned me against CBER - it is a parade of events, dozens of incidents that have convinced me that the nay-sayers were actually the truth-sayers and CBER is no more than a front for a mercenary horse dealer, an operation in which the dealer and the so-called rescuers collect plenty of money with little thought given to the horses' eventual fate. Rescue doesn't mean you rescue them off a truck one day. It means you do your best to ensure they have a SAFE home for the rest of their lives. It means you work hard to match up the right animal with the right home. It means you take back animals who don't work out and handle their rehoming personally to ensure they are appropriately placed. Anything less is not rescue and shouldn't be marketed as such.
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#14 Consumer Comment

The Trolls are out!

AUTHOR: Classical - (U.S.A.)

And now we have a commment from Katt Patt SHHR VP! Katt has admitted to making false reports against someone to government agencies because she was angry about how they treated her over SHHR being closed. She even got together with Sarah to make these reports even after she testified against her to save herself.

Angela is a sorry soul living in NY. She was on the CBER BB but was spamming the members and having fits when her "suggestions" were not implimented. Since that time she has wandered about the net changing her location TX, WA, OR.. As for Hamlet people responded to a need. It was more then was needed at the time, but it was freely given. There have and will be other horses needing to use the euth fund that was started with that money. No one but Angela had a problem with it and she did not even contribute to the fund.

Angie has trouble accepting that this is a volunteer orginazation with limited resources. These people are doing this in their "spare" time!

I don't see anything wrong with a horse rescue owning a truck and trailer, or having a BBQ. The folks who donate do so because they want to. We understand these horses are coming from unknow backgrounds and need to be quarantined. Also a feedlot is "a place were livestock is fatten prior to slaughter." He does ship to a "feedlot" but you can not by law remove horses once they arrive there, so how would one rescue a horse from there.. YOU CAN'T! Not legally anyway, so they list them before they go there in the hopes of saving them.
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#15 Consumer Comment

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue

AUTHOR: Torri - (U.S.A.)

I have adopted two horses from CBER, I am fostering some horses and I am a volunteer. When you adopt from a feedlot, you are basically buying like you are buying from an auction. How do you expect staff members to evaluate and diagnose horses that are at a feedlot, get real people!
The ex-president of Sleepy Hollow, a Washington rescue that was shut down.. is the ring leader of this type of bulletin board crap that is alleged about CBER. She knows who she is and should be ashamed that she would even type anything ill about CBER after she neglected and abused a number of animals..shame on you!
I have donated money and time to CBER and have never been dissapointed as to where the money is going or how the animals are represented.
I have a beautiful QH and colt that I adopted for $500 - and would never consider adopting from anywhere else again.
It is easy to trash CBER when you are banned from getting in the way of them finding homes for their horses and not allowed on their BB anymore.

-Tvillines
LaCenter WA
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#16 Consumer Comment

A few facts to consider

AUTHOR: Katt - (U.S.A.)

First the posters here are not pro-slaughter.
How about a few issues CBER has had:

Advertised Cashew - gelding (male horse) - unloaded by new owner in MT - it was a mare (female horse). Did they switch horses or did they advertise the wrong gender and sell the wrong gender?

As reported by their staff, they took in over $400,000 in 2005. Much of which went straight to the livestock dealer to buy the horses you see on their website.

Over 50 horses in foster and many are being falsely advertised as "safe riding horses" when some are lame or have issues preventing them from being "safe".

One horse bought but switched at the last minute and sold to the owner.

Two horses returned to the lot for credit and shipped to slaughter without notifying the person who paid for the horse - horses were in foster care.

They do not adopt horses - they sell horses for a livestock dealer. Average intake by dealer is $3000 to $4000 a week thanks to CBER.

They sell sick or strangles exposed horses with little to no followup on care.

They do not give tax receipts for all donations.

They refuse to respond to people who have inputted money on certain horses and end up banning them from their forum so they never know what happened to their horse.

They clearly state that if you want to buy a horse but have it fostered then you will get your money back when it is re-sold but fail to follow up on this policy - it is stated on their website.

The only difference from buying a horse labeled for slaughter sale from this lot is the markup. Auctions in WA typically run from 20 to 30 cents a pound for "loose" stock. The same animal (tagged at $500 or more) will cost you $100 - $150 at the sale and you receive the exact same information as you do from CBER.
-Washington resident
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#17 Consumer Comment

More questions/comments

AUTHOR: Angela - (U.S.A.)

Does the fact that CBER adopts horses off The Gary Seals Livestock dealer lot reduce the number of horses he sends to the feedlot?
Or does he send as many, or more, funded by the inflated prices he sells horses through CBER for?

Re: the $411,000. This comes from a financial document Wendy DeGraaf (CBER VP) sent to a supporter. If it is, in fact, hooey, then it's CBERs "hooey", and they are the ones to ask for an explanation of it. I think I speak for everyone on each side of the fence when I say we would LOVE for CBER to explain this Hooey. I have a copy of this document and am happy to share it with anyone who asks... including Federal and State agencies.

And another question for CBER: When I last was able to see their bb, they had over 700 members. With that many people as an audience ready to do whatever is asked to help the cause, and with such a firm stance against slaughter to go to the lengths of saving so many thousands... why is it that CBER never ONCE asked their supporters to write to legislators, or otherwise campaign against the very beast they battle- slaughter??

Why is it that CBER decided to buy a truck and trailer when they reported (in the same post as the new truck/trailer purchase announcement) that they were several thousand dollars in the hole?
How much does CBER pay for the lease on the farm that CBER President/Treasurer Sam Milbredt/Panayotopulos' father owns?
Does Sam get a stipend, as many have stated, other than the lease on the farm at which she resides?
Why were so many of Sams' Frenchwells Farm former sales horses (Parker/Park Avenue, for example) dumped on CBER to "rescue" via the Community Rescues division of CBER? With nary a mention of their having been A circuit show horses, or even former mounts of the "rescues" President and Treasurer- even when questions were asked about the horses past?

Ang F- NY
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#18 Consumer Suggestion

It's time CBER cleaned up its act

AUTHOR: Fed Up - (U.S.A.)

All most donors are asking for is that CBER release its financial information, answer questions, and don't allow horses who were "group adopted" by donors to disappear into the thin air with no further information given.

Maybe CBER thinks we should trust them blindly, but most of us are adults and don't work that way. Informing donors where their money is going and being honest about where horses are and providing updates on horses donors GAVE you the money to rescue is not asking for a lot.

CBER, clean up your act or many more of us will stop sending you money!
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#19 Consumer Comment

Where is this info validated?

AUTHOR: Shelly - (U.S.A.)

I am looking at financial documents I ordered, and I don't see the same information. What $400,000? Anyone that has ever even done their own taxes knows that is a bunch of hooey. Lavish bbq's? And you know this how? Were you there? If yes, why? Define "lavish"? There is nothing "lavish" in Yakima or the surrounding area. Your accounting of "facts" is rather lavish though. I am interested in the TRUTH, and wish someone would put DOCUMENTED FACTS out instead of rumor, guesses and wild speculation.
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#20 Consumer Comment

Another ex-CBER loyal

AUTHOR: Angela - (U.S.A.)

First things first, I am no way, no how pro-slaughter. Check any of the various bbs regarding horses (incl Chronicle of the Horse) where I post under MY OWN NAME and am VERY vocally ANTI-slaughter.

So, what's up with CBER?
Here's my take of some of the things that do not add up:

Chuck Walker, current operator of Gary Seals Livestock is not a licensed "feedlot". For those unfamiliar, if he was shipping horses to slaughter in Canada as advertised, he would have to be licensed with the USDA as a "feedlot". He is not. He is a licensed horse dealer, meaning he can and does sell to anyone he chooses. I imagine a businessman often chooses to sell to the highest bidder of his product. Why do I care? Because I wonder about the idea that the horses heading to slaughter has a greater pull than just horses at a dealers lot that MIGHT get sent to slaughter if a higher bidder does not step up. For me it verges on fraudulent selling practices and tends to verge on manipulative around the time the "truck" is coming.

Next, they often advertise on the CBER site horses that are potentially shipping to slaughter that are not legal to ship to slaughter. Horses that are advertised as blind, imminent to foal, or lame.
Per the USDA:
Certify that each horse is able to bear weight on all four limbs, is not blind in both eyes, is able to walk unassisted, is not a mare that is likely to foal during the trip, is older than 6 months, and has had access to food, water, and rest for 6 consecutive hours before being loaded into a vehicle.

Falsification of any certificate or document is a criminal offense and may result in a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/equine/horse_transport/truckers-brochure/truckers-brochure.html

Any reputable rescue would use this knowledge to encourage Mr. Walker to not ship those horses, or report him. They do neither.

They've also had several cases of injured or ill horses they have witnessed on the lot and reported on their bb, but not taken any action on (either on their part to intervene and provide care to the horse, or calling the appropriate authorities).

I was finally dissillusioned with CBER when a horse named Hamlet appeared on their bb, advertised as needing euthenasia (euth). This gelding had an enormous gaping, oozing wound in his side and an apparently broken hind limb. When the donations reached over $700 for the services Hamlet would require, I got super suspicious. It should not cost that much to euth and dispose of a horse at a dealers lot that advertises itself as a feedlot. I called the vet hospital, asked for the total for services to Hamlet, and paid the quoted $80 fee personally. When myself and others who donated asked how much was needed for Hamlets services and where the remaining donations would be going, we were met with deafening silence. When I continued to press for information, I was banned from their bb, and then followed in cyber-space to two other internet horse related bbs where they continued to refuse to give an accounting of where this $700 raised in a matter of hours would go. Not down to the penny, not EXACTLY, but ideas of what this remaining money, offered in good faith would do. (you can e-mail me for proof of these actions, I have copies of all related threads from all bb's involved)

I have asked the CBER secretary for their financials. I was promised the same by their attorney, Mary E.M Bartolo as was an adopter. Neither of us, nor others who have aked for this information, has seen anything.

The only thing I have seen on CBERs financials is their '04 990 I received after submitting a 4506A to the IRS. It showed they took in around $50,000 and spent just over the same. I have also had access to a financial report CBER sent out to supporters showing they blew through $411,000 in 2005. $50,000 to $411,000 is a huge leap in income in one year, their first year, for a rescue, one would think they would have better accounting practices that they could easily and gladly (as required by the IRS of ALL 5013c charities) offer their supporters who requested the information.

These are just the highlights of pages of questionable practices on the part of CBER.

This is simply a case of "The lady doth protest too much". CBER takes umbrage over and gets super defensive when asked basic questions any smart consumer would ask of a charity. And they do not raise the suspicions of just a few former supporters... but of many loyal supporters who have devoted alot of time and money to the cause of saving horses from slaughter. CBER has alienated some of it's staunchest supporters simpy because they questioned the business practices of this charity in a polite and sincere fashion. Many of those questions could have easily, quickly and quietly been resolved had CBER chosen to. That they prefer to ban people from their site and alienate supporters over these simple. legitimate questions lends to even more suspicion.
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#21 Consumer Comment

What are you talking about?

AUTHOR: Trying To Be - (U.S.A.)

As one of the people that have proof that CBER are horse dealers, so I dont' support them, I can tell you that neither I nor anybody I know are supporters of slaughter.

CBER made over $400,000 dollars off of their donors last year, yet they don't help the foster homes pay for the upkeep of the horses until they find the horses their "forever" home. Does that seem right?

Ask CBER where they blew that money besides on lavish BBQ's and paying the presidents mortgage, truck, and horse trailer payments, and they are sure to disregard you as a pro slaughter advocate.
They don't want anybody to know that they are using their donors.

-A former supporter in OR
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#22 Consumer Suggestion

Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

AUTHOR: Nevenka - (U.S.A.)

This group attacking Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER) is a shill-organization comprised of people who advocate for the brutal and inhumane slaughter of American horses.

They have targeted organized attacks against CBER because CBER has been so successful in saving hundreds of horses from slaughter over the last two+ years.

Through their vicious rhetoric posted all over the internet, they have consistently compromised CBER's ability to place slaughter-bound horses in safe homes, and in doing so, have indirectly caused the deaths of many horses CBER had attempted to save.

Don't be fooled by this group's hidden agenda, as they promote their Pro-Slaughter attacks against legitimate horse rescue organizations.
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#23 Consumer Suggestion

Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

AUTHOR: Nevenka - (U.S.A.)

This group attacking Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER) is a shill-organization comprised of people who advocate for the brutal and inhumane slaughter of American horses.

They have targeted organized attacks against CBER because CBER has been so successful in saving hundreds of horses from slaughter over the last two+ years.

Through their vicious rhetoric posted all over the internet, they have consistently compromised CBER's ability to place slaughter-bound horses in safe homes, and in doing so, have indirectly caused the deaths of many horses CBER had attempted to save.

Don't be fooled by this group's hidden agenda, as they promote their Pro-Slaughter attacks against legitimate horse rescue organizations.
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#24 Consumer Suggestion

Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

AUTHOR: Nevenka - (U.S.A.)

This group attacking Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER) is a shill-organization comprised of people who advocate for the brutal and inhumane slaughter of American horses.

They have targeted organized attacks against CBER because CBER has been so successful in saving hundreds of horses from slaughter over the last two+ years.

Through their vicious rhetoric posted all over the internet, they have consistently compromised CBER's ability to place slaughter-bound horses in safe homes, and in doing so, have indirectly caused the deaths of many horses CBER had attempted to save.

Don't be fooled by this group's hidden agenda, as they promote their Pro-Slaughter attacks against legitimate horse rescue organizations.
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#25 Consumer Suggestion

Attacks against CBER are from Pro-Slaughter Advocates

AUTHOR: Nevenka - (U.S.A.)

This group attacking Columbia Basin Equine Rescue (CBER) is a shill-organization comprised of people who advocate for the brutal and inhumane slaughter of American horses.

They have targeted organized attacks against CBER because CBER has been so successful in saving hundreds of horses from slaughter over the last two+ years.

Through their vicious rhetoric posted all over the internet, they have consistently compromised CBER's ability to place slaughter-bound horses in safe homes, and in doing so, have indirectly caused the deaths of many horses CBER had attempted to save.

Don't be fooled by this group's hidden agenda, as they promote their Pro-Slaughter attacks against legitimate horse rescue organizations.
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#26 Consumer Comment

Satisfied CBER Member

AUTHOR: Classical - (U.S.A.)

CBER and it's founders were no longer a part of SHHR/Sleepy Hollow Horse Rescue when it became abusive, and caused the death of animals.
That operators/officers at that point were Katt Patt and Sarah Schak.
Patt was not charges as she provided testimony used to convict Schak who was the on site "care" giver at SHHR.

Link to Closing of SHHR website. http://www.edragoon.com/closesleepyhollow/

Also this report was probably made by someone probably living in either OR or NY, not TX. They are posting this lie about the web trying to stop CBER from saving horses.

I am a Foster Mom and Donator to CBER. I am happy with CBER and the work it does. My foster, as are others is UTD on shots, teeth, and feet care. This person is NOT a foster for CBER so I don't see why they insist on speaking negativly about fosters when it is my experience and not their own.
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#27 Author of original report

Before you donate, get the facts...

AUTHOR: B - (U.S.A.)

Before you donate to Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, get the facts about where your money is going.

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue solicits donations as a 501(c)(3) charity. Yet they IP ban from their message board anyone who asks questions about financials or criticizes them for their poor screening of adopters and foster homes, several of which have starved horses.

If we do a little research, we find out why. Sam Milbredt, president of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, helped run Sleepy Hollow, a Washington rescue that was shut down for abuse. She was treasurer of Sleepy Hollow (proven by the Sleepy Hollow 501(c)(3) filing). She is the owner of the domain frenchwellsfarm.com which used to host the Sleepy Hollow site. Archive.org doesn't lie!

Donors paid for one particular horse and Columbia Basin Equine Rescue sent her to a home they chose for her and allegedly checked out. Two months later when they got her back she was a rack of bones with a bad leg injury. A pissed-off donor is the one who finally called the police after CBER ignored her demands that they do so. CBER now accuses the donors of "interfering with the investigation?" Actually, that would be "initiating the investigation."

Sam refuses to provide updates or pictures of horses rescued who are at her own house. Donations were solicited to rescue an emaciated pregnant Thoroughbred mare named Moonstruck. She was taken to Sam's house and never heard from again, despite numerous requests from donors for pictures to show that she was safe and gaining weight.

Now they claim she was adopted on a "gift contract" - to someone who allegedly has no internet access and therefore will never able to tell the people who paid for her that she is okay. Convenient, isn't it?

Where does all the money go? Maybe it went to fund a lavish barbecue held at her house this spring - at which the "killer dealer" they claim to despise was partying with the so-called rescuers.

Columbia Basin Equine Rescue is not a rescue. It is a horse dealership that has no concern for where the horses wind up after the "bail" is paid and refuses to even cover the cost of caring for their own horses in foster care.

Don't believe this post? Please, investigate them yourself! Ask them where the money is. See if they can tell you where the horses they've rescued even are. Ask them if all of the horses they have in "foster care" have even been seen by a veterinarian once at their expense. Ask if they are up to date on hoof care, deworming and tooth floating.

Just ask, before you give.
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