Tennessee Trail Riders

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Have you adopted a “Rescue” horse, dog or cat? Or have you thought of donating to a rescue or shelter? As we all know there are many legitimate rescues and shelters but there are just as many that would just like to get hold of your money and are playing on your kindness to animals or would be better classified as hoarders playing at being a rescue. How did you go about making sure your money was going to a place that put every dime it could for the animals? Those that know me know I have three horses that I have taken in from private people. Two of my other horses are from a 501(c)3 rescue. I spent a year searching the Internet, narrowing down the rescues that I thought were good rescues and watching their websites. Some had good sites and some not so good. Good site doesn’t always mean a good rescue, just as a bad site doesn’t mean a bad rescue. My best tool turned out to be Google. In this day of the Internet and Google it is pretty hard for the bad ones to hide they are bad or questionable. But it is amazing what people can get away with trying to take your money. Here is my list of things I can do..…
1. Google the name of the rescue and names of people associated with it
2. Read the About Us and see who is on the Board of Directors then Google
3. Look and see if they have 501 status
4. Who do the authorities call on when they need to house animals
5. Are you going to the location the animal is kept where you can see the conditions
6. If adopting are they doing a home visit and seem concerned about where the animal is going
What would you add?

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I have adopted over the years, five horses, two of which would gone to the killers. And four cats. Just found a home for a racehorse with a fracture (that will heal with stall rest) for my friend.
Rescues should do a vet check - potential adopters should do the same. Call their vet (and farrier too in the case of a horse). If they have a short history with that vet, get another reference. Bad rescues shop vets - good rescues develop long term partnerships.

Also, call the local animal control. Sometimes rescues do have differences of opinion with their local municipal facilities, but they will generally tell you whether the rescue is "legit" or not.

Google the email address and phone number associated with the rescue - strange things sometimes turn up, like free to good home ads. BIG red flag!

Look to see what their affiliations are - do the dog rescues partner with Petco, Petsmart, TSC? I know Petsmart does a "shelter" visit on all their partners. Do the horse rescues mention partnerships with TSC, the local Coop, feed store? These points might not be the best indicators, but it's just one more thing to consider.

Call the state HSUS representative. She may not know them all, but she probably knows the outstanding ones. And the particulary problematic ones as well.

Ask for records on the animal you are adopting - can they show you proof of vaccinations, surgeries, etc? If they claim a horse has it's vaccinations, make them show it! Likewise, if they claim a dog is vaccinated and heartworm negative, you need proof of this as well.

I do tend to disagree on going to where the animal is housed. In many cases, these animals are in foster homes. While we (the rescue with which I am affiliated) do check references on adopters, I really don't want strangers in my home (nor do I want everyone to KNOW where I live). I certainly see your point, but the only potential adopters I bring on my property are horse adopters. Dog adopters I meet in a public place, like Petsmart or the dog park.

Thanks for a good discussion, Dawn!

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