SOS stands for Support Our Standardbreds. It is a USTA program that provides financial assistance to public agencies and 501c3 charitable groups caring for a registered Standardbred that has been abandoned, or is subject to removal due to legal intervention.
The horse must have been seized because of abuse or neglect by a group with the legal authority to do so. This could be an animal control officer, sheriff, deputy, or humane officer with seizure powers.
The horse can also have been surrendered in lieu of prosecution; the custodian of the horse surrenders the horse to authorities to avoid imminent threat of seizure and criminal charges.
A horse that has been abandoned is also eligible for assistance. Abandonment is when a horse is roaming loose with no apparent owner or has been left in a public or private location with no prior arrangement or approval.
Standardbreds are permanently identified early in life, long before they race. Without either a freeze brand or tattoo, it is usually impossible to verify a horse’s identity and breed. Therefore, SOS eligibility extends to only registered horses.
No. Only horses placed with a charitable or public agency as a direct result of legal intervention are eligible for assistance.
The amount of assistance is tailored to the needs of the horse and the needs of the group caring for them. There is no set amount.
Those individuals are subject to arrest and prosecution by local law enforcement officials. The USTA does have membership sanctions that apply upon final adjudication of the case.
Contact Ellen Harvey, the USTA’s coordinator of Standardbred Support programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-780-3700.