Report: #1024164

Complaint Review: Eternal Freedom

  • Submitted: Tue, March 05, 2013
  • Updated: Tue, March 05, 2013
  • Reported By: DIW — Youngstown Florida United States of America
  • Eternal Freedom
    2407 Pinewood Drive
    Greenhead, Florida
    United States of America

Eternal Freedom Eternal Freedom Rescue and Youth Ranch Scam, Animal Hording, Abuse of power, Fraud, Animal abuse and starvation Greenhead, Florida

*Author of original report: Additional information

*Consumer Comment: Check Facts First!

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In Reference to Eternal Freedom Horse Rescue and Youth Ranch

I became aware, as a citizen, of Eternal Freedom on February 3, 2013.  I had never heard of this place or of Stephanie Lynn the operator before that time.  I went out to see for myself the set up and operation.  While I am not a horse expert by any stretch of the imagination, what I have seen personally and through the stories of others and their evidence has caused me to question the ability of this rescue to operate.

Stephanie Lynn states that she is a non for profit charitable business.  She has advertized and solicited donations.  She has accepted donations.  She has reported in several venues, on her web page, on her face book page, in her letter head, on
her receipts, in several venues on the internet and in letters requesting donations that she is a 501(c)3. 

It was confirmed on November 17th 2012 that she is not approved through the IRS (Ms. [continued below]....
..... Mitchell id #1008019637 stated there is no record of a formal recognition of tax exemption through an approved application).  She also is not registered through the Department of Agriculture as a charitable foundation.  Donations to Eternal Freedom are not tax deductible it seems.  

In addition, personally, I paid in cash 70 dollars for a trail ride.  I did not get a receipt.  This was money she stuck right in her pocket, literally.  I am concerned she does not report her earnings properly. I attempted to check but she hasnt filed a report for 2012 showing what her income was.   She has failed to respond to requests for transparency.

Stephanie Lynn runs a rescue.  She has a 3 year contract which basically states that she can repossess any horse under contract for any reason the board deems appropriate.  She has used this clause to reclaim many of the horses she rehomes.  For example, Jack and Jill are on their third adoptive home.  She has taken thousands of dollars in adoption fees for the same horses.  Another horse, Indie, currently on her property and up for adoption was repossessed after Stephanie Lynn was found on the owners property at midnight looking through the tack room.  This technically was allowed in the contract in that it says she can perform checks on the horses at any time;however, I feel that it is extremely unprofessional to do a random check at midnight, unannounced on private property even with a contract.  Also, I consider this abusive. 

Stephanie Lynn rents the property she has her rescue on.  It is a little more than 14 acres.  She told me on February 9th, 2013, that she has 46 horses on the property.  Later she said it was 52.  She is not sure how many horses she is caring for. 
In any event, 46 to 52 horses are entirely too many horses for 14 acres to support.

I observed most of the horses to have ribs showing, swollen bellies and eating straight off the sand.

Several horses have been shot at Eternal Freedom or died.  Mr. Simmons, shot and died of starvation.  Zombie shot after being adopted to an 8 year old boy.  Mr. Wonderful, BLM mustang died of Colic after more than 24 hours of suffering and a vet called at the last hour.  Buster Brown, shot after suffering for a week.  These are deaths all within the last year.

Stephanie is a TIP certified Mustang Trainer.  She took 8 mustangs onto her property on 1/25/13.  Two she put with a friend, leaving 6 for her to train and find homes. 
One died, Mr. Wonderful.  The other five are kept 24 hours a day in small stalls.  She reported to me on 2/16/13 that she had not started training them yet because it was too cold.  Two of the horses were kept under cover and clearly the stalls had not been cleaned as the horses were standing in at least 6 inches of filth.  Two mares are kept in open round pens with no cover and one mare is reportedly too mean for Ms. Lynn to work with.  She reported to me on the 24th of February that she had tried to get the BLM to take that mare back and they refused. 

I have grave concerns about her ability to safely manage, train, and home these animals.

I have grave concerns about a Federal Agency that would force a trainer to deal with an animal the trainer has reported is unmanageable and un-trainable.  Incidentally, the Bureau of Land Management has been out to see the facilities kept by Stephanie Lynn and they have reported the conditions I have described as excellent.  It should be noted that Ms. Lynn receives advanced notice of their site visits. Further, it has been reported that the horses are leadable by the BLM. 

The horses I saw on 2/24 were so wild that Stephanie Lynn could not even approach the stalls without crouching down and she cautioned me against getting too close.  None of them had halters on during the 2/24 visit and Stephanie Lynn stated that they still were in the desensitize stage of their training.  It is unfathomable that from 2/24 to March 1st,
Ms. Lynn would have had time to gentle all five of those horses enough to put a halter on them and lead them around for the BLM inspection.  It should be noted that she does have several older, titled BLM on the property who are leadable and accept saddles. 
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#1 Author of original report

Additional information


This is an article written by Rate My Horse Pro and can be found on their public facebook page:

by RMHP Staff
We have an update in the Eternal Freedom Horse Rescue story we told you about Monday. 
You may remember, operator Stephanie Austine Lynn was arrested Friday and charged with 4 felony counts of animal cruelty and 2 counts of altering a veterinarian certificate. Additional charges are possible, according to investigators.
The criminal complaint states in February 2013, a horse named Robin was "covered with severe rain rot, bare patches of hair, and bright, pink, fleshy wounds all over her body." A vet from Blue Skies Equine Services treated the horse and stated he "suspected the condition was almost completely due to inadequate nutrition."
It is unclear why the mare deteriorated, since the court record states the mare arrived to Eternal Freedom in September 2012 in good health (below.) 
Two additional horses have similar stories, which led to another complaint. They were adopted out by the rescue in January. The adopter says "they were emaciated, had abscesses in their hooves, and had rain rot." Lynn allegedly modified the horses' Coggins as well.
The rescue founder also offers horse boarding and training services. Allegations regarding her boarding practices led to the third animal cruelty charge. 
Lynn has adopted 5 mustangs through the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse Adoption Program, but her ability to do so may be coming to an end.
BLM's Public Affairs Specialist, Shayne Banks told us Monday that Lynn currently has one untitled mustang in her possession. We spoke with Banks again Thursday, and she said Lynn actually has 3 BLM mustangs in her possession. The mix-up was attributed to all of the files not being pulled. 
On Tuesday, a compliance official with the BLM was on the property to check the horses. Banks told Rate My Horse PRO, "Lynn refused to relinquish the horses."
Officials will only remove the horses if she is convicted of her alleged crimes or if the BLM's field agent feels the mustangs are in danger. "She hasn't broken any of BLM's rules or regulations and until she does, we can't remove the horses."
Adopters under-go compliance checks after adopting through the BLM, although most horse owners would consider the requirements minimal. Prior to this week's check, officials were last on the Eternal Freedom property February 28. No issues were found. When asked, Banks said compliance officers are "only required to monitor the condition our animals are in." 
Adopters are eligible to apply for their mustang's title only after successfully keeping the animal past the one-year mark. Lynn adopted the mustangs at a January event, according to Banks, so the government still owns them. On Monday, Banks said, "We will be asking her to relinquish the horse[s]."
Lynn is also currently a TIP (Trainer Incentive Program) approved trainer with the Mustang Heritage Foundation. She has gentled two mustangs through the program. Director of Operations, Kali Sublett, says the organization can remove her as an approved trainer at anytime.  
Lynn also advertises Freedom Riders 4H on her website. 4-H County Extension Director for Washington County, Julie Dillard says Lynn contacted her last September about becoming a club leader. "She never fulfilled the requirements to be a club leader and the information on her website is not approved by 4-H." 
Lynn is free on bond. We tried reaching her by phone, but were unsuccessful. 
Banks says the BLM will continue to monitor the situation.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Check Facts First!

AUTHOR: Paintedponies - ()

It should be known, that as the mentioned "friend" that was given BLM horses to "hold", I would know how this actually went. I have adopted from the BLM before and wanted to adopt again. End of story. There was no holding or ferreting away of horses, as much as some ignorant fools would like to imagine. In fact, I picked my horses long before she picked hers.

I bought Infiniti and Gatsby originally, yes. Then Infiniti became depressed after being separated from her sister, so Steph and I agreed to swap horses. Stephanie and I TRADED TRANSFERS (so she took one horse and I took the other) and I have the paper work to prove it.

Also, one of the "abused/neglected" mustangs pictured, is my best friend's horse. He is perfectly healthy and boards with me now. Before claiming false information to be true, please make sure you have your story straight. Hear-say is not permissible in court, and is frankly, a waste of time.

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