501c3 is a TAX STATUS. The IRS does not govern the care of animals or the operations of any rescue. This is an important distinction as so many rescues have hearts that are bigger than their wallets (or their donors wallets) and get in WAY over their head with mouths to feed, and horses to care for…very sad when this happens. ERN cringes with stories like the raid of a 501c3 Rescue “Peaceable Farm” in Somerset, Virginia Orange County where over 100 animals in deplorable conditions, 7 dead horses many more to be euthanized, 40 dead cats, dogs locked in vehicles.
It seems unconscionable that the operator of the rescue would be able to maintain any animals in her care after the conditions that were reported by investigators, but legally the operator has the right by Virginia State Law to keep 35 horses. While 40 horses were removed by authorities the remaining 35 horses were in good/fair condition. Virginia Code 3.2-6569 states authorities may seize and impound any animal “that has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or is suffering from an apparent violation of this chapter that has rendered the animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health.”
Based on the 990 tax returns, Peaceable Farm rescue was taking in over $1,000,000 per year to manage roughly 100 horses. Doing the math, that is $10,000 per horse? Given that the American Veterinary Association estimates $2,485 is the average cost per horse annually. This red flag was overlooked, but then again the IRS is not looking at the operations, only the numbers.
One thing that is required by the IRS for 501c3 organizations is that they have board of directors. The Board of Directors governs the operations of a 501c3. The BOD makes the decisions and therefore should be held accountable for epic failures when horses lives are lost and animals suffer.
Below is the allocation of funds of Peaceable Acres from their 990 tax returns in 2013. I sure would like to be their veterinarian making $205,138 per year – and what exactly are the other expenses that cost $219.320?
Thanks to GuideStar.org everyone has access to nonprofit/charities tax forms. On the 990 tax returns for Peaceable Farm, you will find a list o their Board of Directors. I certainly hope they are held accountable or the horrors that they caused due to their oversight. OR at least KARMA gets them in the end….