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Swingin’ D: “Source of financial gain” for owners?

Rolling in the...

There are people who make a comfortable living in the horse rescue industry. They collect enough donations to pay substantial salaries, buy expensive vehicles, and provide perks that many people can only imagine. Horse rescue is a noble venture that takes back-breaking effort; so, good for them for figuring out how to make it pay.

There are also those who pick up horses for free or nearly free, then “flip” them to a buyer for a hefty profit. These “flippers”, as they’re referred to in the industry, make fundraising difficult for legitimate rescues because of the assumption we’re all rolling in proceeds from horses we got for free. 

The only things we at Swingin’ D Horse Rescue are rollin’ in is manure and expenses. Neither of those moneymaking scenarios is us.

Ralphie the day he arrived from the kill pen

That ain't us

Ralphie after quarantine with Swingin' D Horse Rescue

We might be rich if we were as good at fundraising as we are at rehabilitating hopeless horses; but the truth is, we suck at it. We’d rather have our toenails plucked out than have to beg for money; and we’re too busy caring for horses to do the groveling it would take to fully fund this rescue. We do a little happy dance any time someone throws $25 our way. You can’t imagine the celebration the couple of times we’ve gotten significant donations.

That’s not a complaint. It’s our reality. No one at Swingin’ D (besides occasional outside contractors) receives a salary. Our savings account pays for 99 percent of the approximately $40,000 it takes to feed, train and care for these horses.

Ignorance: As contagious as COVID-19

But that doesn’t stop some people from making  assumptions; and those people have no problem sharing their ignorance with as many people as they can get to listen. I typically don’t dignify uncouth baiters with response; and if it were the usual hater trashing me personally, I wouldn’t care. But when it comes to the reputation of the rescue… that has the potential to harm innocent creatures, so I decided to speak up.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t take two minutes to check on a charitable organization. Our annual tax filings are public record, available online. All legitimate charitable organizations file Form 990s, which tell you how much money they make, where it comes from, where it goes, who gets a salary and perks, and how much.

It’s a valuable tool for donors who want to know how and where their contributions will be spent. It’s also essential for reporters or bloggers who want to ensure they’re not committing slander.

One look at the Form 990 for Swingin’ D Horse Rescue and you realize just how badly we suck at fundraising. A smart person would also realize how devoted we are to our mission of saving abused and neglected horses. In 2018, I personally donated more than $33,000 to the rescue and worked 60 hours a week without pay. When we file this year’s Form 990, you’ll see that I contributed even more of my own money. You’ll also see that no one receives a salary, that we have about $400 in assets, and that 100 percent of our funds go toward the care of the horses we save from the slaughter pipeline.

Haters gonna hate

I’ve been trashed by some of the most vicious haters, so I’m no stranger to venom. You can call me old; call me obsolete; call me stupid for burning through my retirement… but anyone who says I’m in this horse rescue gig for “financial gain” is just a fatuous hack that can’t be believed about anything.