A Charlotte County judge has ruled against Domino Effect Ranch in Weeki Wachee, Fla. The civil case that began in 2012, involved alleged fraud, and misrepresentation by Domino Effect Ranch owner Robert Ashcraft and the company’s horse adoption contract.
Customers who adopt horses from Domino Effect ranch in Weeki Wachee, Fla., are required to sign a contract before buying a horse from the farm. Some of the contract restrictions include:
- Customers/adopters are not allowed to have a horse examined by their own veterinarian prior to adoption. Only Ashcraft’s veterinarian is allowed to do exams, which the customer must pay for.
- All horses adopted or sold by Domino Effect ranch must be transported for an additional fee by RDA Equine Services, which is owned by Ashcraft.
- Customers/adopters are not allowed to relocate with their adopted horse for 2 years without the knowledge and permission of Ashcraft.
- Customers/adopters may have their property photographed and be subjected to surveillance by Ashcraft.
However, the Domino Effect ranch contract did not hold up when challenged in a Charlotte County courtroom in 2013.
The legal battle in Domino Effect Rescue v. Puleo, began in September 2012, when Consumer Complaint number 133885 was filed against the ranch with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, case number 1209-37894.
Ranch owner Robert Ashcraft sold two horses, and according to the complaint, would only accept the $500 payment by wire transfer directly into his bank account. When questioned by Puleo about the unusual payment method, Ashcraft “assured” the buyers he was trustworthy because he was a “Christian-based horse rescue.”
But after Ashcraft got the money, he did not deliver the horses as promised.
According to the official complaint, Ashcraft “misrepresented” the health of the horses, delivering one with extensive cuts and “bleeding” wounds. The other horse that was represented and sold as a gelding was actually a “stallion.”
Ashcraft took back the horses but refused to return the adoption fee, stating he had spent the money on repairs for his truck, according to statements published on the Domino Effect Ranch Examining website.
Court documents show that Puleo and Domino Effect Rescue scheduled testimony from 3 witnesses on February 6, 2013.
The court ruled against Domino Effect ranch on March 21, 2013, and ordered Ashcraft to pay $391.40 in damages and fees.
Payment was disbursed by the court on May 28, 2013.
To date, the Domino Effect Ranch Examining website includes comments and documents about the Puleo case, but makes no mention of the Court’s decision to rule against the validity of the horse adoption contract and Ashcraft’s actions.
Despite a nearly two-month blackout by Domino Effect ranch on their website and Facebook page, the outcome of the Charlotte County lawsuit remains public record.
The court case was brought to the attention of this reporter in July 2013, though an anonymous tip, which was immediately verified as accurate through court records and public documents.
Public service information
Florida consumers who believe they have been the victim of fraud, misrepresentation, or other unethical or illegal activity are encouraged to file a formal complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services. The form can be filled out or downloaded HERE.
For additional questions, please contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 800-435-7352.
Charlotte County official court documents for Domino Effect Rescue v Puleo can be read here.
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