Shelby, N.C. – Feb. 14, 2007 – When Kelly Azzaro discovered that the person she had entrusted the care of her horses to had not only skipped town, but that he’d sold her horses and tack along the way, she was beside herself. After Kelly and her husband, Marco, learned of the disappearance in September, they did their own investigating. Eventually, Kelly turned to NetPosse.com, the Web site for Stolen Horse International, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovering of stolen and missing horses.
As soon as Kelly filed a report to list Sandy and Taz on the site as stolen, SHI’s president and founder Debi Metcalfe and NetPosse volunteers did what they do so well. Within a short time period, a Web page and flyer for Sandy and Taz was created and an Idaho Alert (the horse community’s Amber Alert) was issued via the Internet.
With the help of Debi and NetPosse members, including a woman named Christy, the search for the horses moved forward at an amazing speed. In less than four weeks from the time she was posted on NetPosse.com, Sandy was tracked to a farm in South Carolina. This is where Kelly met another victim – a 12-year-old boy whose grandfather had bought Sandy for him. The grandfather was reluctant to return the mare, but this brave young man insisted that Sandy be returned to her rightful owner. By Oct. 29, Sandy was back with Kelly. But that was only half the victory. Taz was still missing.
Then, out of the blue on Feb. 13, Debi Metcalfe’s phone rang really early. A lady, by the name of Ann, in Hertford, N.C., was calling to say she thought she had Taz. A series of calls, including an anonymous one, led her to NetPosse.com. A woman of integrity, Ann had to know if she had someone else’s horse. At the same time, she felt the pain of losing her husband’s horse just like Kelly and Marco had experienced. The number of victims had risen and now affected no less than three families.
Debi spent the day talking to law enforcement, comparing pictures, and organizing the facts … ultimately concluding that this was indeed Taz. Finally, hours later, she called Kelly who sobbed her heart out. By 8 p.m., Debi and her husband Harold were on their way across the state to pick up Taz on February 14 – not only Valentine’s Day, but Kelly’s birthday. What better present could she ask for than to have her two horses reunited after six months of endless searching?
When Debi arrived with local authorities at Taz’s location, the task of removing the horse from people who had cared for and loved him since July was incredibly difficult. For Debi, the moment was bittersweet. While she was thrilled to be able to return Taz to Kelly, she knew that Taz’s current owners were unprepared for such an abrupt separation. “This is breaking my heart. I am taking a horse from a victim for the first time, not a thief. Perhaps I can help [the owner] with the transition more so than having law enforcement alone taking him.”
As arranged, the Metcalfes hauled Taz to Charlotte, N.C., on Valentine’s Day to meet Kelly. When Taz stepped off the trailer, it was all she could do not to just collapse from the immense worries that left her when she saw he was safe. Kelly is so appreciative of all the Metcalfe’s do to help victims. After yesterday's emotional journey, she emailed NetPosse member Angela Kirby to say, "Taz is safe and sound in an undisclosed location and we are all recovering from the intense, stressful yet ecstatic recovery trip ... a true Miracle has happened not once but twice. We are so grateful for everyones support, love and healing prayers."
The worrying and not knowing is over for Kelly, and on a day for love, one heart begins to heal while others break. Even after parting with Taz, who she called Mose, Ann emailed Debi wanting to be sure that he arrived at Kelly's safely and that he suffered no ill effects from the long, cold trip. Saying goodbye was so hard for her, but Ann knows in her heart that she did the right thing. She would have wanted someone to make that phone call if it was her horse that had been stolen.
"On Valentine's day people show their love in many ways. Harold and I saw love demonstrated by two women in extremely different ways. One heart was broken while another rejoiced, both because of one horse. Love is not always hearts and flowers.", says Debi Metcalfe about the Metcalfe's 800 mile day trip. "What a journey for us all. None of us will ever forget this day."
A story like this expounds upon the far-reaching affect horse theft has on more than just the original victim. It is wide sweeping and the search is costly for everyone involved. NetPosse’s mission is not only recovery but prevention. There are steps an owner can take to help protect themselves from becoming a victim.
As Debi Metcalfe is fond of saying, “Never underestimate the power of one!” It only takes one person to forward an email, post a flyer or make a phone call. Visit the site to learn more and to help the hundreds of horses listed find their way home: http://www.netposse.com
Angela Kirby – Stolen Horse International Public Relations
For more information on Stolen Horse International and its programs, visit the website at http://www.netposse.com
Stolen Horse International is a Section 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.
Contributions to it are tax-deductible as charitable contributions.
PHOTO: Courtesy of http://www.netposse.com
---------------------- It's easy! Just copy code below and paste into your webpage --------------------
<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/netposse-stolen-horses-kelly-azzaro-found-2-07.html">NetPosse.com: Together Again-The Smile Across Kelly's Face Says It All</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com