Abuse Of Trust

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Horse rescues, in the tradition of Blanche DuBois, more often than not depend on the kindness of strangers to keep their stalls and paddocks open. Donations are the lifeblood of rescues and, sometimes quite literally, of the horses in their care.

It’s a complicated relationship, the one between donor and recipient. It’s a relationship built mainly on trust: for the rescues, trust that money and support will be there when it’s needed; for the donors, trust that the money will be put to the best use possible. Most rescues do an amazing job with far fewer resources than they really need, but some don’t. When donors’ trust is abused, and a rescue becomes part of the problem rather than part of the solution, animals suffer and other rescues are tarred with the same brush.

On May 3, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, on behalf of the People of the State of New York, charged current and past directors of the non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Inc. with “failing to properly oversee and manage the organization’s operations and finances in light of TRF’s unique responsibility for the welfare of more than 1,100 retired Thoroughbred race horses.”

The complaint was filed in New York state court and is the first step in the legal process. The numerous allegations in the 35-page document are serious charges, but they are not proof of anything. Although TRF director John C. Moore told the Associated Press that the charges are not true, the defendants have not yet had an opportunity to file an answer. The road to trial likely will be a long one, and whether the allegations actually can be proved is a question for a jury to decide sometime in the future

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