Horse Plus Humane Society?

I saw a video and found some very mixed reviews. It’s as if people love or hate them. Are these goody guys or bad guys? A rescue or horse traders? Is anyone in their area that can say for sure? There have been so many scams…

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She was run out of Calif years ago, when she operated as Nor Cal Equine Rescue. Unless she’s changed, I’d avoid like the plague. Non-profit, nope.

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A lot of people dislike that shelter because it is is managed very much like a high-kill public dog/cat shelter. They euth a high number of horses for reasons that most private rescues would consider unnecessary and that makes a lot of people angry.

There are also rumors that they mishandle money but I have no idea if there is any valid basis for that or if the rumors are spread because people disagree with their euthanasia practices. (Of course, the animal rescue world tends to be remarkably cutthroat - no pun intended - IMO, so even the most well-run rescues tend to have enemies who spread unfounded rumors so the rumors may be false.)

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Thank you for your answers. I thought the name looked familiar but I couldn’t place it. Nor Cal Equine Rescue sounds familiar. It must have made the rounds on horse boards or something.

There was another auction rescue scandal circulating regarding a woman in Washington state, I believe. I think she had her own public board. I don’t know how that ended, but it seems people just move, reinvent themselves, and do it again.

I hate to admit that I never donate to any animal rescues unless I have seen their facility in person, they have been doing it for a number of years, and they actually train and rehome for the animals appropriately. I get very nervous when I hear people taking in more than a few horses at a time. Buying 53 horses (not 52 free TBs, lol) at one time while begging for money, live, is just far too risky.

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I surrendered a healthy, vaccinated, and Coggins negative Arabian horse to them on Nov. 18, 2021. On Nov. 29, 2021, HPHS indicated that he was doing fine. Within 3 weeks, he was immediately put down for a serious lung/breathing issue. HPHS has not and will not identify what the medical diagnosis was other than to say it was a quality of life decision/breathing issue. I wanted to get this horse back as he had not gone up for adoption and red flags began to crop up. It is worth noting that nowhere on their website or in any of the paperwork presented does it say that surrenders are final. I could have taken this horse to the nearest University/emergency Vet for all the care he needed; HPHS CHOSE to put the horse down rather than allow outside medical care. This has devastated my family and was just plain WRONG.

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Interesting they are all over my FB now doing more volume than any legit rescue.

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Yes, they are. Their 990 IRS form from 2020 is quite impressive. Tawnee’s salary is around $76,000. It does not say what Jason’s is. I am guessing that together they are in the 6 figure range plus deductions such as phones, internet, etc. Impressive for a rescue group.

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@Gloria_H - One of their tactics is to sell the quality horses they take in. At least this was part of their business plan 10 years ago when they were in Oroville, CA. She would also post that they were rescuing a whole herd of horses and were in desperate need of money and would in fact take in only one or two–they ones they could immediately sell. Your boy may have been one of these lucky ones.

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I could only pray for that to be the case (one of the lucky ones), but I believe, from what I have learned, that Tawnee and Jason drop horses at the drop of the hat (so to speak) if the horses are any trouble at all (i.e need time with training, tune-up, or medical care, etc.). Also, I suspect that the captive bolt is used more often than not.

They will keep the hardship cases around as long as they are getting donations off of them. According to their videos, they regularly visit the auction house where they acquire equines that they parade in front of the camera for donations (the worse off the equines are, the better for donations). They have transported equines with broken limbs for the 3 hour trip from the auction house to UPHS. The story goes on and on. One thing for sure is that Tawnee and Jason do pretty well financially according to their IRS 990 form.

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Gloria, I received a Facebook message from you about this incident. It was a horrible situation for you and you should have been able to get your horse back.
I had asked them a question on how they determine which ones get euthanized, if issues that need medical attention or will be a forever pasture pet, or maybe even if just medication (Cushings, etc) are euthanized. I didn’t feel confident In their answer, so I have choose not to donate to this group.
I think they are open about the ones they have euthanized, it just seemed like they made that decision fairly quickly. I prefer to donate to Rockin R Ranch in LA

Gloria, how did you find out their salary?

At first I thought they were affiliated with the Humane Society of the USA. Quite a miss leading name they have choosen

It is public record on the IRS site under charitable organizations. It is a 990 form and is easily searchable by their EIN number which is located at the bottom of their webpage. While salary is not unheard of for a charitable group, HPHS has some questionable practices. Tawnee’s salary is disclosed because she is an officer of the group. Jason (her husband and the video producer) is not an officer so his pay does not have to be specifically pointed out. Also, I do agree that the use of “Humane Society” is quite miss leading, and in my opinion, should not be allowed. I have learned so much about HPHS, and without QUESTION, I would not donate a penny to them or surrender a horse or even ask them for any type of grant or mentorship. You can read more about them on Horse Plus Humane Watcher Redux. Cowboy DID NOT have to die, and I will make it my mission to do what I can to make sure that this does not happen to another horse and his/her family.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Cowboy and reach out. It means more than you will ever know. I can’t convey to anyone how much this has hurt my family. All we wanted was the BEST for Cowboy as we LOVED HIM SOOOO MUCH!!

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I’ve watched a few of their videos on YouTube. I’ve experienced the “we’re at the auction/horses are going to slaughter” shtick before and alarm bells started going off. I agree that having “humane society” as part of their name is misleading. Maybe they do some good work, but ultimately, it’s a business. I’ve seen horses kept alive merely for marketing/PR and fundraising purposes before. It’s pretty disgusting, and probably not all that uncommon.

Are you thinking of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue run by a woman named Sam? She worked with a kill buyer and with strident cries of “the truck is coming!” get people to donate money to “bail” horses.

I thought about reviving this thread to ask if there are other rescues to watch out for. Are there any good ones to support?