30 Horses are in peril, their very lives at stake.

MY PLEA

I am desperate and I need help to save the lives of 30 horses who suddenly have no means to support themselves.  I am not even asking financial help—just others who care about horses to help me get our trailer back so I can take them to retirement, where the grass is free. 

THE PROBLEM

Since early March, the business of Western Trails Horseback Riding has plunged to near zero income and we pretty much exhausted any cushion we had.  Several weeks ago we were told by the city that, because it was not an "essential" business, it really didn’t matter that we were only doing rides for household groups in the great outdoors.  We had to stop even those few rides we were getting or they would fine us something like $1000 per day.  Now we have absolutely no way to support, to even feed, these horses.

THE HISTORY

Several years ago, because the children of the family business had grown up and moved away and the only one left (me) was incapacitated from chemo, the business was placed in The Western Trails Horse Retirement Irrevocable Trust Fund, with the restrictions being that all proceeds go to the horses’ support, so although it is not a “non-profit organization”, all proceeds do go to maintenance and retirement of the horses. 

THE PLAN FOR HORSE RETIREMENT

Due to the natural retirement of horses with time, the non-working horses become more numerous and the working horses less numerous every year.  We had to do something about the effect this was having on the maintenance income.  As of last summer, we had begun moving retired horses to Montana, where the grass grows naturally most of the year without irrigation and hay is very cheap and the cost to maintain a horse is about 1/3 or less what it is in southern California.

THE EMBEZZLEMENT OF OUR TRAILER

I, the manager of Western Trails LLC, had taken the first 7 up for retirement in our 32 foot stock trailer and come back for the next ones.  Unfortunately, just before I left with them, we were horrified to have a Sheriff deputy show up with a title for our business trailer in the name of my (now) ex-boyfriend who had managed the business while I was totally incapacitated on chemotherapy in 2015.  In that trusted position, he handled the purchase of a stock trailer for the business.  Despite the wire transfer of the $14000 purchase price from the business account, complete with the VIN# on the bank record, he somehow convinced the dealer to put the Bill of Sale in HIS OWN PERSONAL NAME!  and then used that to put the title in his own personal name, with his mother’s address and permanent plates so that it wouldn’t be discovered until he showed up to “claim” it in September of last year.  That is the clearest case of embezzlement I’ve ever heard of.  I believe he waited until 9/19 thinking it would be past the “statute of limitations” but didn’t know about the “delayed discovery” rules.  Now he is trying to sell our business trailer for his own profit.

Copy of the Wire Transfer from Western Trails Business Account to the trailer dealer to purchase the trailer, even including VIN#

THE DELAY IN ACHIEVING RETURN OF THE TRAILER AND GETTING THE RETIRED HORSES TO MONTANA PUTS ALL 30 OF THEM AT RISK

Embezzlement is a criminal offense, but all I want is the trailer back so that we can immediately take the rest of the retired horses to Montana, so that the ones still young and able can adequately support the elderly and disabled ones.  They have earned a retirement in green pastures!

The cost of keeping the elderly and disabled horses in California has plunged the fund into unsustainability since September when he absconded with the trailer—now this current situation, where there is ZERO income coming in, has turned that into a disaster, a life and death threat.

Attorneys told me the cost of a civil suit would be more than the value of the trailer (and I could never recover the court costs from this guy—he has no money and no means.), so I should start with the criminal prosecution with restitution, which would not incur legal fees.    So I went to the Sheriff Dept and they wouldn’t take my crime report, saying it was a “civil matter” and I needed to file a civil suit.  (I believe they considered it a “domestic” issue, which it certainly was not!)  For several months, I was in the “complaint” process with the Sheriff Dept but now, with this pandemic, it’s hopeless—they are way too busy to save horses.

 

OUR CURRENT EMERGENCY

I was willing to not even pursue prosecution, despite the enormous costs we have suffered—we just need the trailer back immediately--and now it has become a life and death emergency for 30 horses, but this man has refused all communication attempts from me about him just returning the trailer.

 

I need help.  I need others in this with me to save these horses, others who care about horses--just to convince him to do the right thing before the horses starve, because I sure can’t convince him.  He doesn’t care what I think of his character anymore—not when he can get thousands of dollars by not caring.  Maybe he will care if it comes from enough other people who care about horses.

Please join us and help save these horses.  My email is cindi.hamilton@gmail.com  My phone is 406-317-3456.

THE HORSES IN PERIL, NO MEANS OF SUPPORT

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