This aspect of investigation can seem daunting — but it’s actually much simpler to create audio files that can be used to prove what did and did not transpire during a conversation than most people realize.
We highly recommend taping the conversations you have with the people involved in any and all aspects of rescue during any and all phases of obtaining your animals provided that you are able to legally do so. If you — or the individual with whom you are communicating are in a two or more party consent state, ASK to tape and begin the conversation again so that all aspects of the rescue are recorded. Be certain to ask again — this time ON tape — so that you can prove you asked and were granted permission to tape.
If anyone should deny you permission to tape, you should do further research before proceeding to do business with that individual. Horse traders are certainly not listed among the world’s ‘most trusted professions’ and any ‘red flags’ you encounter should be taken quite seriously.
There are only twelve states that require all parties be aware that a tape is being created — the remaining 38 states require only one party to the conversation be aware that it’s being taped.
If they’re on the level, they recognize that you are likely going to be creating a record of your conversation — and not the type that becomes a ‘he said – she said’ should there be an issue.
What follows is a State by State breakdown of the requirements necessary to create an audio record of telephonic communications. A proficient attorney can generally create a scenario by which an audio record can be court admissible, even if it would seem to be precluded — so we recommend creating a record if for no other reason than to have it for review should there be a breakdown in communication between the ‘rescuer’ and the facilitators of rescue.
These are lives that are at stake. By definition, livestock dealers are just that — they buy and sell animals across the board. Don’t expect them to have the same feelings you do about the welfare of these animals — generally speaking, it’s beyond them.
They order animals to be sent to slaughter as casually as you would order a latte: it’s nothing to them. They simply don’t have the same feelings for sentient beings that you have — and you are simply being prudent to remember that fact.
This document contains a State by State breakdown of laws pertaining to telephonic tape recording.
Can You Tape? State by State Guidelines
Like most laws, they are open to interpretation — there are, for instance, exceptions in some states for anything related to criminal activity — but this piece contains excellent guidelines with good explanations so the law pertaining to telephonic conversations is far less mysterious and far more easily navigated.
These are, after all, lives that are at stake. Again, if in doubt, call us!
Our volunteers are only too happy to assist with the ‘practical application’ aspects of horse rescue.