Complaint Review: Another Chance 4 Horses Rescue, Inc.
Another Chance 4 Horses Rescue, Inc. Christy Colleen Cipolla Sheidy, Founder Horse Trader of the Worst Kind Ripping People Off and Exploiting Horses behind 501c3 Status Bernville, Pennsylvania
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Haley's mom
*Consumer Comment: SHUT UP AC$H!
*Consumer Comment: Beware the author is Sally Schrock convicted animal abuser!
*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Another look for Another Chance
Last year alone, AC4h reported an excess of $800k on its 990 form which is completely unrealistic as a "rescue" when dozens of legitimate rescues all over the country are struggling to support their programs in this miserable economy, and especially considering the severe hay shortage that is in effect because of the drought this summer. Many of these rescues have been forced to close down entirely or cut back, and here Christy is raking in the cash as fast as her supporters and donors will throw it at her--for horses she and her cohorts have been claiming for years are in danger of going to slaughter if they don't pony up the "bail" which is always exorbitantly high for animals that are clearly unfit for sale: sick, elderly, lame, emaciated--the very kind of animals the Canadian slaughter plants will NOT accept.
In reality, she DID enable the kill buyer with whom she was in collusion to buy fat and healthy young horses cheaply for export to the Canadian slaughterhouse with which he has a contract. Make no mistake, Christy IS pro-slaughter. Those very horses are the ones her viewing audience never have seen and which were truly in danger of being slaughtered.
Nor will the slaughter plants accept drafts, grays (because of the high rate of melanomas in horses of this color) or minis due to the fact that their hanging carcasses don't yield enough meat to be worth the time, effort or cost. Christy and her associates shamelessly employ emotional blackmail in order to yank on gullible people's heartstrings as well as their pocketbooks-- a ploy that has served them well over the years.
Not only does she charge exorbitant prices for the horses unlucky enough to fall into her clutches via the kill buyer she formerly dealt with (she's now in partnership with a horse trader in VA who does not have a slaughter contract), she also overcharges for the Coggins and health certificates and furthermore pads these fees with a transportation fee to the pickup barn. Many people adopting horses through AC4h do not receive the Coggins or health certificates they paid for--and they oftentimes get a horse that is physically so severely compromised that the veterinarian has to be called out shortly after arrival to treat the animal or worse, humanely euthanize it. This has happened many, many times.
One case in point involved an aged grulla mare named Faith with extremely severe founder, whose coffin bones were sinking through the soles of her feet, causing her excruciating pain--yet she was forced by Christy Sheidy's older daughter to walk on pavement for Christy's video. The then attending veterinarian at New Holland Horse and Livestock Auction, Dr. Jim Holt (who happens to be unscrupulous himself; many times he's falsified health certificates at Christy's behest for horses that were in no shape to be transported across state lines) recommended that Faith be euthanized, but Christy wouldn't hear of it; she was hellbent on wringing every penny she could out of that poor animal. Faith had to be hauled up to the Poconos before she could finally be released from her suffering.
Many of these horses have not only been grossly misrepresented as to age, soundness, breed, and temperament but even as to sex; I know of at least one instance in which one adopter received a horse that was represented as a mare but actually was a stallion!
Another individual adopted an Appaloosa gelding that was said in the evaluation video to be about 11 years old and suitable for kids, but in actuality, this horse is in his mid twenties and he is anything but gentle. As a matter of fact, he is extremely dangerous and unpredictably so.
In spite of the fact that my friend is a very experienced horsewoman who's worked with difficult horses before, she has not been able to make any significant headway with him at all after having had him for two years now. In her words: "In spite of two years of working with him with patience and kindness, and trying everything possible to help him turn around and have a good life, he is still erratic, aggressive and very dangerous. Good for a day or two, then suddenly blows up again. I've had him evaluated professionally in consultation with my vet and farrier (both of whom have known me for years and know my horses and how I care for them) and the conclusion is that there is no way to change the kind of horse he is. He is 24, extremely strong and tough, and set in his ways, and really does not seem to like people very much.
I don't know his background, his past experiences, how he was handled/mishandled, what his breeding and genetics are. But every other horse I have rescued, no matter what their background or how abused and neglected they had been before, came around and became happy and affectionate and safe horses. They still have their quirks, but they are predictable quirks and manageable. Not the case with this guy. He does not want to be helped and does not care if he hurts you. I would never get rid of him, send him to auction, and would never pass him on to another person and put them in danger. I am taking as good care of him as all of my other horses, but sadly cannot have the relationship with him that I had hoped to because I have to put my safety first. He's given me enough warnings and threats and actions to show that he does not care if he hurts me, and if you are firm with him, he ups the ante and comes back harder."
Furthermore, she says, "If you are looking into rescuing a horse from an auction or kill pen broker, or even just purchasing a horse, please ask your vet to run a blood chemical evaluation to check if the horse has been drugged/sedated. I wish I had done this with this horse when I rescued him because I might have known what I would be dealing with."
Another similar case involved a huge 17.1h Suffolk draft cross mare that another one of my friends adopted through AC4h and Voice for Horses, another extremely shady "rescue" operating out of Ohio and run by Diana Jo Murphy. Molly was represented by Christy and Diana as a "gentle beginner's horse"--but just like the Appy gelding above, turned out to be extremely difficult and dangerous. My friend said she struck out at people for no reason at all, including the farrier--biting, kicking, rearing, etc. This friend is also a very experienced horsewoman and yet she was unable to mold this mare into a tractable and pleasant mount.
She ended up returning Molly to Diana Murphy and got another seriously misrepresented horse in exchange who was said to be in his twenties but actually was pegged by her vet as being in his mid to late thirties; no mention was ever made by either Christy or Diana of his blindness either. As for Molly, the draft mare, my friend believes she was drugged just like the Appy gelding and this is not uncommon for Christy to do.
Christy has also been known to switch horses and send a totally different horse to the adopter than the one originally paid for, especially in instances of horses of uncommon breeds or with illustrious pedigrees, so that she could keep that horse and sell it privately at a high price. In one case involving a Gotland pony, another pony was substituted and sent to the adopter with a painted-on star on its forehead.
She has pulled many shenanigans like these over the years with the help of her associates and yet people keep on blindly buying into her spiel that the horses are "going to slaughter, please hurry up and donate NOW to keep them off the meat truck!" As a 501c3 nonprofit charity, she is required to furnish tax receipts to donors, yet never has. To those who complain, she always tells them that their PayPal receipt is all they need to file with their income taxes. This simply is not true. What's more, donors and adopters are always requested to mark their PayPal donations as a gift so that AC4h "does not have to pay PayPal fees"--but this is deliberate on Christy's part; by marking donations as a gift, people have absolutely no recourse if they want their money back. Thus, ensuring that the money, once it's in her pockets, stays there.
One only has to take a look at AC4h's 990 returns and see all the red flags popping up all over. For example, and this is just one example, she claimed $27,000 in vet expenses for the rescue--yet scores of horses have gone out to their new homes needing emergency veterinary intervention or euthanasia. Another claimed expense was $56k in feed--yet many of the broker horses have arrived at their destinations several hundred pounds underweight. One such horse was an elderly Belgian gelding named Yule who was in relatively good weight at the beginning just before the holidays--but two weeks later, when he was 'bailed' he had been reduced to a skeleton with a body score of between 1 and 2. He was in such bad shape that he ended up being put down.
Another reported and very questionable "expense" on the 990 was several thousand a month for barn rental. Who in their right mind would pay that kind of money just to rent a barn, especially out in the sticks as Bernville is? One of my friends rents an 11-stall barn and surrounding fields for a mere $350 a month in comparison.
Simply put, Christy absolutely will not spend any of the donations on the horses themselves, despite the fact that the money was meant to be used for their benefit. As such, she is misappropriating funds and using them to personally benefit herself and her family and, I suspect, her associates as well to reward them for their loyalty. Speaking of her associates, namely Cheryl Hanna and Pam Davis, as well as Beth Hill Ross and Lisa Drahorad, they are extremely vicious in their attacks against AC4h's critics and detractors, including yours truly.
They claim to be professional as representatives of this "rescue", yet they are far from it. Any time someone asks pointed questions about AC4h's deceptive fundraising practices or attempts to raise doubts about a particular horse, etc., that person's posts are quickly deleted and he/she is subsequently blocked from posting on their page. If that person persists, Christy's thugs escalate their vendetta to harassment and bullying, including calls to their employers, family members and digging into their personal and professional backgrounds and posting their discoveries all over Facebook and beyond in an attempt to intimidate them into silence.
They even unleashed their fury on an 11-year-old girl who lives with the constant fear that Child Protective Services will take her away from her mother, who dared to speak out against Christy's scam. Ask yourself, would you want to donate to, say, the American Red Cross or the SPCA (both of which are 501c3 nonprofits) if their officers employed terroristic tactics to silence their critics? I think you know the answer to that question. So why give AC4h a second thought when there are legitimate rescues that would be profoundly grateful, as would be the horses in their care, for any and all public support? Let me point out some major differences here between AC4h and those GOOD rescues, ok?
Last year alone, Lisa Drahorad, AC4h's special events coordinator, boasted that they had placed close to 1,000 horses in loving adoptive homes. This is simply not possible, especially in this economy. The legitimate rescues, by comparison, are damned lucky if they can get three or four horses adopted out in, say, a year or six months at the very least. In the meantime, they have to invest time, money and resources to get those horses to the point where they can be matched with prospective adopters. Christy has NEVER done any of that--no training, no vetting, absolutely nothing.
Week after week she and her volunteers trot out an entirely new bunch of horses, videotape them and post them on Facebook, then start playing the "going to slaughter" card--even though the broker they're in collusion with does NOT have a slaughter contract. Just yesterday a Standardbred gelding, Og's Glamour Boy, was posted with photos and links to his videos on the AC4h Broker Horses Facebook page. He was said by AC4h to have won $50,482 on the track and "is now owned by a kill buyer and needs immediate help". Read AC4h's response to queries about this horse in the thread below, which I've copied verbatim (but removed individuals' names):
AC4H Broker Horses URGENT!! HE NEEDS A HOME AND BAIL ASAP!!
Yesterday at 12:25pm
AC4H Broker Horses We have $77 in the chip-in from a generous person who started the chip-in rolling! Let's make it his lucky number!Yesterday at 4:18pm
First poster How long does he have? 14 hours ago
AC4H Broker Horses He was suppose to have shipped yesterdy! He is on borrowed time!
9 hours ago
Second poster I so wish I could afford to save this poor boy and others too! For some reason I feel like this is a very special horse.. he looks to have very kind eyes. I bet he has a heart of gold, I hope someone can change his destiny.
8 hours ago
First poster Can someone please supply the name and telephone number of the dealer who currently has this horse?
7 hours ago
AC4H Broker Horses THis boy still needs $388.00! Please help by making a life saving donation!
6 hours ago
AC4H Broker Horses Sorry J....we can't give you the killbuyer's name and #.
6 hours ago
First poster Alright....if we can get the rest of the bail money, where can we pick him up?
5 hours ago
AC4H Broker Horses J....you will need to send in app to be approved for him.
5 hours ago
AC4H Broker Horses We are stuck ar $122 - lets keep rolling please!
34 minutes ago via mobile
This is all too typical of AC4h and yet scores of gullible people continue to fall for their emotional blackmail, emptying out their bank accounts to "save" these horses when in fact none of them are in danger. Thousands of horses have passed through Christy's hands over the years in this manner, most of them unaccounted for. Very few of them actually are in good homes and it has been well documented that many others have been fundraised for by unsuspecting donors, only to be sent off to "rehoming centers"-- a fancy euphemism for horse flippers--and resold, never to be seen again. I am sure that many of them ended up back in the auction circuit where they may have been bought by kill buyers--yet none of that matters to Christy or her associates--only the almighty dollar.
If Christy happens to snag a horse with an unusual background or fancy pedigree, she will wring every cent that she can out of that horse, then callously abandon it. This happened with Lady Empress, a gray Thoroughbred mare, foaled in 1992, whose grandsire is Ferdinand. For those of you not in the know about Ferdinand, he was the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner who was exported to stud in Japan after his racing career was over, but he was not successful in the breeding shed. He ultimately was slaughtered for human consumption; his brutal death served to shed light on the cruel equine slaughter industry and spur reforms all over the country, including the closure of the last remaining U.S. slaughterhouses.
Christy, upon discovery of this unfortunate mare's lineage, proceeded to callously exploit her for as much money as she could wrest from her followers, then dumped her at a quarantine facility whose operator was forced to eat the expenses of caring for her without any compensation whatsoever from Christy. This, in spite of numerous home offers for her, all of which were refused. Just recently, someone inquired about her and it was only then that AC4h admitted she had been euthanized--but even then, they whitewashed the truth, painting a glowing scenario:
"AC4H Success stories Lady Empress had a wonderful year, with her friend who she was very close to named "Gypsy"
they both had health issues, through Lady Empress's ordeal and near shipping to the slaughter house she became
weak in her body from EPM. she was euthinized with gypsy do to her being uncomfortable and could no longer hang on. We kept her until she couldn't be kept anymore and she was very happy and spoiled while she was still with us."
Yeah right. She was NEVER "with us", but with the proprietor of the quarantine facility who had to put out hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, for her care until her death. Does that sound like a caring, anti-slaughter horse lover and advocate to you as far as Christy is concerned? She most definitely had the money and resources herself to do the right thing for Lady Empress, but her black heart won out over compassion and she just chose instead to step over the body of this mare as well as others in her quest to fatten her bottom line even more. Consider the following:
I almost forgot to mention that on top of it all, she is a backyard breeder. Two years ago, AC4h took in a mustang, purportedly a gelding, and threw him in with the mares in its "traditional rescue". Just recently, it was discovered that he had dropped a t******e and, surprise, surprise! several mares were found to be in foal--including a Thoroughbred named Jennifer, who had been found starving among nearly 200 others on an upstate NY farm belonging to Ernie Paragallo, a well-known and prominent Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. She was one of four Paragallo horses that Christy snagged from a kill buyer; when she found out who they originally belonged to, she proceeded to steal credit from those people who actually discovered the neglected Thoroughbreds and claim that she was the one who "brought down Paragallo". Yet another one of her bogus stories. As for Snuffy the mustang, Christy put out a plea for $2,500 to have him gelded--but since he HAD dropped a t******e, the actual cost to geld him was way under that figure, about $250.
See what I mean? She attempts to gouge people every which way she can--even going so far as to concoct a story about a child, "Haley", wanting to give all of her savings on her birthday to AC4h to save a horse from slaughter at New Holland. An extremely unselfish and touching story, one that was designed to yank on people's heartstrings (and pursestrings). Only problem? "Haley" and her mom, "Paige", who allegedly penned Haley's wishes, don't even exist--only in Christy's imagination, with help from her associates and family. I and many people who know the truth about AC4h have never seen any actual posts by Haley or her mom; they all were originated by Christy. Read on:
A gift of life is my daughters 14th birthday wish request.
As my daughters birthday was approaching, I asked her what she wanted for her 14th birthday? She didnt want an iPad or an iPod like most kids her age she told me she wanted to save a horse's life. I had to turn away when she told me so that she wouldn't see the tears in my eyes and I even get choked up about it as I write this to you. You see my daughter knows what a struggle life can be. She was diagnosed as dyslexic in first grade and had already stayed back in kindergarten. We were able to get her the help she needed and she worked really hard and now she is in honors classes.
So she also knows about hard work and persevering. I think it is her patience and understanding that helps her have a special relationship with animals. She has always loved horses and not just riding them but just being with them. We have 3
horses and those horses would do anything for her. I have seen them take care if her in a way they would never do for me despite the fact I feed them every day. Haley wants to make a difference in a horses life and we are very proud of her for being such a giving person at an such a young age.
Haley has $120.00 saved for this special occasion which is a lot for a 14 year old. However, to save a horse from auction/slaughter kill buyers pay an average of $350.00 -$650.00 per horse, vetting Coggins and vaccines (rabies and 5 way) cost $72.00, farrier trim $45.00, dental work/float $80 - $150.00 and quarantine for 30 days is $450.00. So the average cost at the lowest quoted rates to save a life and just do general maintenance is approximately $1,097.00.
We would like to be able to help her make this special present, a gift of life a reality. Haley and the horses need your help! We will be attending the New Holland auction tomorrow August 20th with Another Chance 4 Horses, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit charity who has been in continuous operation for over a decade. To learn more about this organization please visit their website, www.ac4h.com.
To help Haley with her special birthday wish, you can send your tax deductible financial gift of life through this secure and trusted company, paypal. You do not have to have a paypal account to donate and credit/debit cards are accepted as well as echecks.
Thank you for making this very special day a success. Celebrate life, Haleys mom- Paige.
This is, IMO, pretty low on AC4h's part, but I have seen them pull stunts like this before in the two years that I've been watching and waging war against them. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea of what AC4h is really all about--not the horses, but the almighty dollar. If you really, truly want to save a horse from going to slaughter, take your money with you to an auction frequented by kill buyers and pull a horse or two. For the same amount of money that Christy's disciples throw at her feet to ransom just one horse, two or three could be saved at auction.
I rest my case.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/12/2012 07:53 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/another-chance-4-horses-rescue-inc/bernville-pennsylvania-19506/another-chance-4-horses-rescue-inc-christy-colleen-cipolla-sheidy-founder-horse-trader-940389. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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