Friday, August 24, 2012

Opie, home after almost 10 years - the rest of the story.

Witness the reuion!
Michelle Pool with Opie for the first time in almost 10 years!

This story is bittersweet. New wounds are open for one family and old wounds starting to heal for another.

Opie, missing for almost 10 years  finally came home on August 4th, 2012 thanks to Deanna Bordelon's tip and Stolen Horse International's webite.

Opie was picked up from Monday night July 31, 2012 (technically Tuesday morning right after midnight) from the unsuspecting family who has had him and loved him since November 2003. They did not know he had been stolen and, even though they were selling him, they were looking for just the right home because they do love him very much.

When someone takes a horse either by theft or by "civil" theft a domino affect begins. What we have here are three victims: the person who owned him when he was stolen, and the person who has had him since 2003, and, of course, Opie, who is now caught in the middle. The emotions are running high in both families.

OpieMichellePoolTravisTaylor.jpgLet’s not forget either the tipster who wonders if she did the right thing. She was so glad to help a victim but devastated, too, when saw the pain the other family was going through after having their world turned upside down. Losing him in the middle of the night the way they did, with barely time to say goodbye, is not an optimum situation for any honest, kind person, even if they were planning on selling him. 
Did the tipster do the right thing by contacting Stolen Horse International? Absolutely! We found the owner (which was not easy since she has move 4 times in 10 years and is in Arkansas) and made contact with her and broke the news.

I put together all the information that law enforcement needed to recover Opie for the victim. So valuable time would not be wasted, I contacted the officer on the original report to make sure this was a true theft. Once I knew and verified that this was still considered criminal theft by authorities, I assembled names, addresses and phone numbers for all parties, statements of fact, location of the horse and then handed it to law enforcement so all they had to do was verify the particulars and pick Opie up. I was personally working with the Dayton County Deputy and the TSCRA Ranger until they were on the way back with him at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. Opie went to one of their 'contract cowboy's" holding farms until all details were checked and cleared.

Did law enforcement do the right thing? Absolutely! At the time of seizure no one knew if Opie would be there the next day since he was on Craigslist for sale. No one knew if the people who had him were bad people or good people. Thank goodness for Opie it was the latter. He has had a good life with the family to whom he was given to in 2003.

Warbonnet's Craigslist classifie ad

Both owners of Opie were in shock for different reasons. Della Braden had him yanked from her loving arms and was left in tears. Yes, she was selling him but it was her intent to pick the next loving home for him. She was not prepared to barely be able to say goodbye to a horse she has loved for almost 10 years. Neither was her family. They have all been left scarred by this event too.

The other who had her world turned upside down when Opie was stolen, has never quit worrying about him and wondering if he was okay, has had her world flip, too, now that he has been found. Bringing him home for her was not as easy as getting in the truck and going to get him. She already had two horses boarded and the landloard was not happy about another horse at the facility. In the end the landloard gave in and Michelle immediately went to get Opie.

Michele Pool then started her journey to put bring him home on Friday night from Arkansas.  Along the way she had trailer brake problems and had to stop at a Walmart, pick up the parts and do the repairs in the parking lot.  On Saturday August 4, 2012  She saw him for the first time.

Words cannot describe her feeling or mine as I listened via phone (in Deanna Bordelon's husands pocket) as he told me what was happening. Listen carefully on the video and you will hear me. I was almost speechless myself.

At Stolen Horse International we are so thankful for the Deanna Bordelon, who thought to check out the horse on before she bought hm. She was so happy to help right a wrong that took place almost 10 years ago. She didn’t stand by and let the wrong act continue. Our hats are off to her for her courage in a society where most will look the other way and not get involved.

None of this should have happen but it did. It happens somewhere in the United States almost every day. One cowardly act caused the dominoes to start falling in 2003; one act of a theft.  What heartbreak that act has caused so many in its path.

Read all the news coverage (MSN, AOL, YAHOO, Today Show, and more) here: