Investigators: Shady horse sanctuaries leave animal owners feeling duped

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Investigators are noticing an increase in so-called rescues lying to getanimals-and then selling them for a quick profit.

Not only do the original owners get duped, but in some cases the horsessuffer.

There are a number of reputable horse sanctuaries and horse dealers inMarana but investigators say there's a type of person you don't want to dobusiness with. They promise to give you animal a new home but that's not whathappens.

Jessica Gray runs the Wild Hearts Horse Rescue. She saysthere's no shortage of people trying to give up animals that are ill or tooexpensive to feed.

"If someone's askingfor horses on craigslist, then, you know, something's up."

Pima County Sheriff's Detective Robin Crehan agreessomething is up

"They're in it toget the horse for nothing and sell the horse for a profit."

Crehan says not all Craigslist solicitations are a suspectbut some horse traders are online asking for unwanted horses.

They assure the former owners their horses will livehappily ever after with great care, but then turn around and sell them.

"What happens to the horse in the meantime is the subjectwe're discussing here," said Crehan. "They don't feed and care for the horseproperly, its condition goes down sometimes it develops medical problems, itcan die."

Crehan is seeing an increase in suspicious transactions,but she says the difference between a shady deal and an outright crime dependson the agreement between owner and rescue.

"Two people pull up one with a horse trailerempty and the other with a horse in it, and they just make the exchange, it'svery informal," said Crehan.

Crehansays most credible sanctuaries will keep proper vet records and when they adoptout, they regularly check the horse's new home.

"With as many unwantedequines as there are in Arizona, there shouldn't be any money in it," saidGrey.

Grey says it's important to check a sanctuary or horsedealer's background to make sure they are legit and demand to see all veterinaryrecords.

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