For once, however, the hoax seems to be on the skeptics.
Although the wording and urgency of the status has evolved immensely since its conception, the message has, in a sense, exploded on the social media giant, Facebook
. As a basic meaning, it bodes others to notify their friends to spread the word and to call a telephone number as part of a striving effort to save 52 thoroughbred horses that will be slaughtered on Saturday, February 5, 2011, if they are not adopted.
The variation of this update that I came across, and traced just as far as a couple generations of friendships before I also begin to believe it a hoax, read as follows:
52 thoroughbred horses need homes. Will go to Sugarcreek this Saturday for slaughter. Gentleman died and his son wants nothing to do with them. Most broodmares are broke and some are in foal weanling, yearlings, 2 yrs and 3 yrs old most are gelded. FREE and papered. Friend of the deceased is trying to find homes 440-463-4288 or 440-463-4288 Barnesville, OH. Please copy and paste this on your status!PLEASE HELP OUT
The phone number is legitimate. Bensenville, Ohio is legitimate. Now, according to Lynn Boggs
, the "hoax" is actually legitimate, too.
The effort of Boggs deserves very much credit, as apparently there were originally more than 100 horses in need of a home after the passing of the farm's owner, Dr. Stearn, upon which they roamed. Boggs was the driving force behind spreading the word of Dr. Stearn's horses
Surprisingly, once notified, little interest in the matter was expressed by PETA
Before the depth of the "Internet's" cry to help horses became apparent, one man, Chris Painter, IL, stated during a telephone interview that he went as far as to file an Animal Cruelty Report with PETA.
Hours later, via email, Mr. Painter received the following response:
From: CID Info
Date: February 2, 2011 6:04:03 PM CST
To: (omitted for privacy)
Subject: RE: Report Animal Cruelty Form
Thank you for contacting us regarding the horses in Barnesville. Sadly, there is a horse overpopulation crisis rivaling the one faced by cats and dogs, and rescues are absolutely overflowing with horses. People are giving them up left and right. We truly wish we had more to offer, but in this case, the best thing you can do is alert the media, and contact the United States Equine Rescue League (http://www.userl.org/ContactUs.html). Best of luck, and thank you so much for your compassion.
Sarah Kline, PETA
Whether or not PETA had already received numerous requests of the same, or if they, too, believed the panic-driven status updates were a hoax has yet to be confirmed.
Regardless, potentially more than 100 animal lives once in danger, are now safe thanks to the organized effort of Lynn Boggs.