We received a phone call letting us know that one of our riding horses is for sale on a rescue website in Texas. The owner of the "rescue" and website posts pictures of other people's horses along with the horse's actual information including price. She doesn't even bother to change their registered names. She takes deposits on horses that she doesn't have or own.
Our horse is for sale on our own website, she lifted his pictures and information to put on her site. The horse's name is Chips Ahoy Leroy and he has never been outside southern Indiana. The lady who called to inform us had the same thing happen to her and one of her horses.
This thief has bought horses from elderly people who could no longer care for them with a promise to pay which she never does. She has even sold shipped semen from her stallion advertising it as from some champion stallion or stallion with great bloodlines. No one catches on until it is time to register the foal then they find out that the DNA does not match the stallion that is named.
She has been reported to the local authorities, the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission and her web host, but no one has done anything with her. So the lady who called us just keeps an eye on her site and reports her activities to the people who's horses and pictures she uses.
This young lady also offers training and boarding using other people's pictures. I talked to a local detective and he laughed saying that she is going to be quite the gangster, but he did give me some tips on who to report her to. The good news is that her website is at one of those free website places and it doesn't show up in search engines.
So here is a word to the wise; Watermark your photos with your name or website name.
Here are some other tips; Don't buy horses or semen from just any website. Google the horse's name and make sure that the seller is an established ranch, breeder or rescue. Don't assume that just because the word "rescue" is used that it is really a rescue.
It has become quite stylish to call yourself a rescue and that is the reason some crooks are using the word as a sale's tactic for their horses, dogs and cats. I suppose we could call ourselves a rescue, as we have rescued several horses throughout the years and refuse to sell our horses at low prices or at auction.
We certainly could save ourselves some huge feed bills if we just sold them to stop the financial bleeding like most people are doing. But they are our responsibility and we will take care of them as long as we are able.