“The term is often used in police work when discussing crime and addressing the methods employed by criminals. It is also used in criminal profiling, where it can help in finding clues to the offender’s psychology. It largely consists of examining the actions used by the individuals to execute the crime, prevent its detection and facilitate escape. A suspect’s modus operandi can assist in their identification, apprehension, or repression, and can also be used to determine links between crimes. — WIKIPEDIA
Very few individuals come up with completely new crimes. Instead, they come up with new ways to accomplish ‘spins’ on old methods.
The Internet, of course, is rife with such opportunities — and the only way for people to ensure they’re not being ‘set up’ is to watch for the ‘red flags’ that indicate their current situation could set them up for disaster.
What follows are indicators of suspicious activity as they pertain to horse rescue.
Remember: of you’re being asked to FUND rescue, YOU are the rescuer and YOU are entitled to this information!
1. ALL viable rescue entities are to have 501 [charitable organization] status under the IRS, ensuring that donations made to the organization will be tax deductible for the giver. This oversight forces charities into a level of transparency and accountability criminals will avoid at all cost.
The information one can obtain concerning a 501 — along with an EIN [Employer Identification Number] — can provide the foundation for valuable insight into that organization as well as to obtain the necessary financial information necessary to ascertain whether or not they deserve your support.
Armed with such basic information, a donor can discover who heads the organization as well as obtaining pertinent data concerning its operational structure.
Any reluctance — and even a refusal — to provide such information should result in reconsideration on the part of the donor.
2. Pay special attention to online interactions.
If you are considering a particular organization or individual to whom you would be making donations or supporting in any other way, watch their interactions online. If their reactions to questions or criticisms seem ‘over the top’ or inappropriate [such as dodging questions or refusing outright to provide information when directly asked] you could be dealing with a fraudulent ‘rescue’ organization.
3. Watch for the blocking [or harassing, threatening or intimidating in any way] of those that raise questions.
Today, the online community is comprised of many savvy individuals who watch closely the interactions of ‘rescue oriented’ operations.
They are known for studying pictures, individuals, organizations and operational strategies. They have become ‘watchdogs’ that expose scams as well as using their skills to ascertain policies and procedures that can make the rescue communities more effective overall. They share information to facilitate others in avoiding the ‘pitfalls’ novices to the work often encounter.
When these individuals question the actions and activities they see happening online, those following ‘rescue endeavors’ should take notice: they’re actually the ‘first line of defense’ in the war against criminal activities surrounding rescue.
If they’re suddenly being BLOCKED from commenting or questioning, red flags are waving!
If there’s a sudden flurry of threats of any kind [including those involving legal activities such as lawsuits], attacks or harassment against them including anything that could be identified as ‘defaming, libeling or slandering’ a concerned individual, do not even CONSIDER working with the person who has gone ‘on the attack’ as this is a sure sign of an attempt to cover illicit activity.
It is important to note that threats of ANY KIND are red flags — NO reputable organization would ever, under any circumstances, react in such an inappropriate manner to questions or concerns regarding rescue endeavors or operations.
In fact, the concealing of information of any kind is indicative that more questions should be asked and more investigation done pertinent to that individual or ‘rescue’.
4. Quarantines: Buyer Beware. When horses are rescued, the location of quarantines should be readily provided to the online community so that unannounced visits can be facilitated.
A reputable rescue will find no issue with providing this information. A disreputable rescue will fight any effort to track, trace or otherwise ‘follow’ a rescue horse from its ‘pull’ to its final destination.
Many horses have been ‘rescued’ only to die in what have been designated online as ‘quarantine’ facilities.
One of the largest ‘red flags’ in rescue are those professing to work ‘hand in hand’ with their own ‘quarantine providers’. This, too, is often a way of scamming more money from the rescue communities online while providing the ‘bare minimum’ in care to a rescue horse.
Some don’t make it out alive.
If a reputable ‘rescue’ is working with a reputable ‘quarantine’ facility, information on location and contact information will be promptly and even pleasantly provided.
Anything less belies a lack of professionalism that should be considered yet another ‘red flag’.
Professionals know that quarantine facilities — and quarantine periods — are inherently dangerous.
Many of them are actually operating outside of the law by representing themselves as ‘quarantine’ facilities when they do not even have the proper facilities to keep ill horses from healthy ones.
They’re capitalizing on a’grey’ area of the law that allows for animals to simply be ‘kept aside’ for a specific period of time — not unlike a dog that’s bitten someone to be kept isolated. It is not a true, legal ‘quarantine’ facility and the inspectors allow them to operate on an what is essentially an ‘honor system’.
For horses, it’s just another opportunity to fall through through the cracks in a system already designed to fail them.
Unless horses are separated from the ‘general population’ while being ‘quarantined’ they run the risk of contaminating other equidae or being contaminated themselves by other animals ‘rescued’ from kill pens or slaughter pipeline facilities.
Thus, the ‘pull’ from the facility is only the beginning for the horse.
When a rescue has been facilitated and a quarantine period is about to begin, the animals must first be properly transported, maintained, fed and even sheltered prior to their arrival.
They can be injured in transport, kept from food or water — or both, and they can be exposed to bad weather, predators and/or disease during this period.
Many people report being stunned at the appearance of what had been a healthy horse following a quarantine period.
What happened? And on whose watch? Unless the horse was regularly photographed, the truth is impossible to ascertain.
Of course, while ‘rescuers’ are also asked to pay these ‘transport’ expenses they’re discouraged from asking questions and, too often, don’t even know who transported the animal or to where it was taken.
Once the horse has arrived at the ‘quarantine facility’ they need to be properly ‘vet checked’ so someone can ascertain the overall condition of the animal and determine whether or not there are any issues that need to be addressed prior to allowing them to ‘languish’, virtually unseen by anyone outside the ‘quarantine facility’ for a period of at least thirty days.
If the ‘rescuer’ won’t provide this information to the donors and the donors have no information themselves, what is being accomplished?
Would it surprise you to know that some of theses-called ‘Quarantine’ facilities have veterinarians ‘hand picked’ for their ability to ‘ignore’ specific issues? Remember: Veterinarians are people working to earn a living and ‘rescue’ dollars are an important form of revenue to them.
The less ethical ones are widely known for facilitating unethical rescue and quarantine operators and play no small role in the online defrauding of donors led to believe specific horses were rescued and provided for.
Were they? Or is a great deal of it just a ‘ruse’?
The word of the day here is ‘CAUTION’. You want to request as many pictures as the transporters, ‘rescuers’ and quarantine facility operators are willing to take. If they postpone or ignore your requests for pictures, another ‘red flag’ is waving. If license plate numbers are concealed in what pictures and videos are provided to you, look further.
5. The final destinations and locales of horses rescued from slaughter should be provided without delay to those tracking rescue operations advertised online.
If YOU donated money to rescue horses, YOU are entitled to the truth about their condition, their lives and their whereabouts.
If you didn’t know to ask before — you do now. You are the voice for the voiceless. Refuse to be intimidated by fraudulent rescue operators: Report them.