If you thought that horse thievery died along with the Old West and life on the frontier, you’re wrong. Debi Metcalfe and her group of dedicated volunteers work regularly with bereaved owners who face the ordeal of recovering a stolen horse. As the head of Stolen Horse International, Inc. (www.netposse.com), Metcalfe oversees and organizes her network of helpers and resources to get the word out when a horse goes missing. The unadvertised website has had over 12 million hits in the last year and averages over 70,000 unique visitors a month.
How did Metcalfe begin to ride down this path? When her husband Harold’s horse, Idaho, was stolen and then recovered after 51 weeks, Metcalfe vowed that no other victim would have to face such a traumatic experience alone. Today, at the nerve center of Stolen Horse International, Inc., Idaho Alerts, similar to Amber Alerts, are sent out by the thousands throughout the world when a horse is missing. Metcalfe sorts through hundreds of e-mails daily, many requesting information or telling their own stories of theft.
In the process of solving her own crime and compiling research, Metcalfe has become a recognized authority in her field. She has appeared on television and various radio programs, in newspaper and magazine articles, and addressed civic groups and horse expo audiences across the country. Through the efforts of Metcalfe and the NetPosse volunteers, many horses and their owners have been reunited.