Trivia Challenge: Your Horse Is Stolen—What Do You Do?

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Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: If your horse is stolen, there’s no need to use the “old school” method of posting fliers to get the word out in this digital age.

T / F

2. As soon as you realize your horse has been stolen, which authorities should you contact first?

A) Your local law-enforcement agency.

B) Local livestock/brand inspectors.

C) The registry of your horse’s breed association.

3. What documents should you gather in creating a working file of important papers relating to your stolen horse?

A) Receipt of purchase (or bill of sale), registration papers.

B) Brand information, health records, photos.

C) All of the above.

4. True or false: You should search for your horse at any local livestock auctions, especially the low-end ones.

T / F

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. The “old school” method is still very effective. To create a flier, use detailed color photos showing, if possible, all identifying markings, brands, or scars. (For security, neither you nor your family members should appear in the photos.) Post the fliers (with permission) anywhere people are: post offices, gas stations, grocery/convenience stores.

2. A is correct. Start with your local police or sheriff’s department—whichever has the primary jurisdiction in your area. Politely insist that a report be filed, even if the information can only be taken by phone. Ask for the case number and a copy of the incident report to use in alerting other law-enforcement agencies.

3. C is correct. All these documents will help you to help identify your horse to authorities and prove ownership.

4. T is correct. Pinpoint sales that handle lower-price animals. Ask for the names of the regular buyers of these types of horses, which might be heading to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada. Look in all pens, stalls, and trailers, and check for unofficial “parking-lot sales.” Be alert for sellers who show up at the last minute before the sale begins.

[BETTER: Take steps now to avoid the theft of your horse OR your horse trailer.] 

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