People the world over recoiled with horror when a blood-curdling video emerged a few weeks ago on social media depicting a horse being dragged by a truck. Pools of blood can be seen around its hooves as a woman off-camera speaks disparagingly of the animal. Despicable.
In the aftermath, the Ontario Provincial Police went into investigation mode. And shortly thereafter, Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General announced that the OPP had charged Solstice Pecile, 23, of the Township of Cavan Monaghan with Causing Distress to an Animal under Sec. 15 (1) of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.
Pecile is scheduled to appear next month at the Cobourg Provincial Offences Court. If convicted of this charge, she faces a fine of not more than $130,000 or imprisonment of up to two years or both.
For what it’s worth, we visited Wishing Stone Farm, where Pecile resides, a few days after the video surfaced. We wanted to get Ms. Pecile’s side of the story. And her reaction? She called the cops.
But as we reported last week, in the aftermath of the video’s release, so many details regarding this horrific case of animal abuse remain very murky...
As the story goes, the horse is a mare named Ezra. And after that ghastly video surfaced, she was allegedly repurchased by her original owner, Emily Reardon. Ms. Reardon allegedly resides in Markham, Ont.
We know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of “allegedlys”. But that’s the thing. Verifying the details has proven to be an Herculean task – not just for us, but for other journalists following the story.
For starters, all communication with Ms. Reardon – when she chooses to communicate, that is – has been via email. That’s a red flag in our book because anyone can be behind an email address.
As well, it should be noted that Reardon has established a GoFundMe page entitled, “Ezra’s Road Home.” This fundraiser is to supposedly pay for repurchasing Ezra and paying for the horse’s veterinarian bills as well as any miscellaneous expenses.
You know, I’d love to see the bill of sale for that horse. I’d also love to see the veterinarian bills, too. But Reardon won’t provide these documents. Nor will she even provide a recent photo of the horse. But why?
Typically, when a GoFundMe campaign receives publicity, it takes off, big time. Why wouldn’t Reardon want such an assist? It just doesn’t make sense.
Meanwhile, a statement on the GoFundMe page notes that “any funds in excess of what her care requires will be donated toward helping any other animals coming out of a situation like this.”
At time of writing, the GoFundMe campaign for Ezra had raised around $7,500; but we’re betting that if this campaign had been properly publicized – not just by us but by several other media outlets – this fundraiser might be in six figures territory right now.
So, the question arises: where is Emily Reardon? And where is Ezra? And is this mare on the road to recovery?
By the way, several days ago, we ventured out to Markham to see if we could track down Reardon. Given urban sprawl, there are not many farms left in Markham anymore but we did visit a few equestrian farms. Not only could we not find Reardon, the people at these farms stated that they had never heard of Emily Reardon or Ezra. That’s another red flag given how small the Markham equestrian community is.
We also reached out to the media relations department of GoFundMe. We wanted to know if “Ezra’s Road Home” is a legitimate fundraising campaign given that nobody has been able to track down or even speak with Reardon.
And last Friday, I was finally able to speak with a communications officer with GoFundMe, Stephanie Princivil she/her/hers. My main query was this: has anyone at GoFundMe actually spoken to Ms. Reardon? We were told that answering this question would make for a privacy breach. How?
Indeed, does this sound transparent to you? Does this sound as though GoFundMe has truly done its due diligence and its fiduciary duty here? To be fair, GoFundMe does a lot of great work raising money for those in dire circumstances. However, it also must be noted that if GoFundMe suspects something isn’t quite right, it will shut down a campaign.
Indeed, look how quickly GoFundMe shutdown the fundraising campaign for the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa last February. And that shutdown had nothing to do with financial shenanigans and everything to do with political pressure. How shameful was that?
It should also be noted that we came across a fascinating Facebook page belonging to Jamie Magdalene. Jamie seems to have some insider knowledge pertaining to Solstice Pecil.
Here’s what she posted late last month on Facebook: “My parents raised a rather feisty, outspoken girl but instead of trying to water down my wildfire, they taught me to stand up for what is right and to NEVER back down."
“Quinn made it home, charges have been laid, and justice has been served. And I promise I will fight until Solstice (and her family that partook in this abuse) has the whole book thrown at her in court."
“Thanks again to my equine community who backed me up, stood up with me, and gave this horrible story the best ending possible."
“Glad your face and the truth is plastered on the covers of newspapers around the province, Solstice. Consequences looks good on ya.”
We reached to Ms. Magdalene via Facebook several days ago but have yet to hear back. Oh, and by the way, are we talking about the same horse here? She says the horse’s name is Quinn, but I thought it was Ezra. Again, so many things aren’t adding up.
Indeed, the more we dig, the more red flags seem to pop up regarding Emily Reardon and a horse called Ezra – or is it Quinn? Does Emily Reardon truly exist? Where is Ezra/Quinn being kept right now? Is the horse recuperating? And why all the secrecy?
In the meantime, I would like to now appeal to anyone watching this commentary: if you have any information regarding Emily Reardon and that brutalized horse, please reach out to us at [email protected].