A Word About Horse Fraud

The Myth

Most stolen horses are taken at night by thieves who cut through wire fences and chains, then lead horses to waiting vans.

The Facts

A Stock Sale

A Horse Auction in Virginia

Today, most horses are not actually stolen; swindlers fraudulently acquire them from owners desperate to find new homes for them. Horse swindlers get their horses through misrepresentation and fraud. They routinely troll advertisements looking for free horses on Craigslist and other sites, looking for horses being given away. They promise the owners ideal homes and retirement in lush, green pastures, often showing up with small children to make themselves look credible. Swindlers will quickly remove your horses from the area so that you can’t check up on them. You may also be given excuses when you try to verify their whereabouts. Your horses may be transported directly to a buyer for the slaughterhouse, or straight to a feedlot for slaughter-bound horses. The people who swindle horse owners are very good at what they do. They are convincing, slick and polished, and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Giving away your horse, or selling it for a low cost, especially a senior or a horse with health issues is likely to end in tragedy. Once you give your horse to someone, there is no turning back. Even if their intentions are good, they can give or sell your horse to anyone else, and horses can be shipped to other countries, including Mexico and Canada, to be slaughtered. Many of these were once the beloved companions of people who naively thought they were going to a good home. Please don’t give your horses away. But if you must do so, please make sure that potential new owners provide a vet reference that you can follow up on and are willing to allow you to do a farm visit.

Horse Theft

If you are the victim of a horse theft, please make every effort to publicize your horse. There are a number of Internet resources that will help you to circulate information about your horse. A good starting place is the extensive resource offered by Stolen Horse International, Inc at: http://www.netposse.com. Having a current photograph of your horse will dramatically improve your chances of having him or her recognized. Many stolen horses are recovered, but it takes diligence, hard work, and of course, luck.