The attorney for HiCaliber Horse Rescue has said the nonprofit planned to move out of its Valley Center ranch by mid-September, but no one from the group would confirm that Friday.
Five months ago, HiCaliber founder Michelle Knuttila announced the rescue was shutting down. The nonprofit has been under investigation for allegations of fraud and improper veterinary practices.
The group tried relocating to a smaller location, but three potential rentals fell through, according to a HiCaliber Facebook post in August.
“According to several realtors, the critics of HiCaliber have apparently been faxing and emailing all property management companies and realtors with any listings in our area, attached with tall tales telling them not to rent to us,” the post said.
It’s still unclear whether the operation will be moving to a different location: Knuttila declined on Friday to speak on the record for this story; HiCaliber co-founder Romney Snyder said, “We don’t respond to inewsource,” when reached by phone Friday; and HiCaliber attorney Sean Jones did not return inewsource’s phone calls, emails or text messages on Friday.
In February, inewsource was the first to report on allegations of fraud and animal cruelty lodged against HiCaliber. Since then, inewsource has published 15 HiCaliber-related stories, including how Knuttila used donor funds for mobile phone spyware and allegations by former volunteers that the rescue hid an outbreak of a contagious equine disease.
Knuttila has denied the allegations against her and blamed “haters” for the negative attention.
She announced in April the rescue would be shutting down and set a voluntary closing date in June. The closure didn’t happen. Jones told the Valley Roadrunner in August the move was pushed back to Sept. 15, but that the date was “not set in stone.” HiCaliber has continued to collect donations through its Facebook page and an online fundraising platform.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, the HiCaliber adoption page listed 11 horses as still available.
In August, Knuttila filed paperwork for a new business, AlphaMare LLC. Its website makes no mention of any rescue efforts or involvement with horses.
“HiCaliber Horse Rescue shutting down amid investigations”
April 21, 2018
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