Saturday, July 24, 2010

BEHIND THE SCENES… Here at the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch

I am frozen in my boots. I have allowed myself to be held captive by the enemy through fear, anxiety, and my pride. It is time to break the chains…

For those who have followed our story here at the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch have seen amazing things God has done up here at the ranch. Our vision, given by God, to open this ranch was given to us one year ago. Since then, we relocated from Port Richey to here in Weeki Wachee at Christmas time to follow through with the vision and open the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch-“People Helping Animals Helping People”

In the first two months we were blessed with the first 40s animals and now after 7 months are up in the 90s. We have had the adventure of a lifetime in watching the ranch grow through the animals, building and establishing the ranch, our new environment, new faces, and friendly faces. We had our first Domino Effect Spring Fest in March with 130 people to include horsey rides, cookout, petting zoo, and Easter egg hunt. Following that we went on our first “Road Trip Domino Effect Birthday Party” and then the “Domino Effect Memorial Day Campout.”

In every experience through networking, meeting, and sharing with others, our focus to the public is that the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch is a Christ-centered ranch and God will shine within.

As we are in the seventh month here at the ranch, I have to share that things took a different turn on the sixth month, June 22, 2010. My heart has been crushed; I’ve isolated myself from networking, events, invites, etc.

When we moved here in December, we met our neighbors, which was quite exciting for me, a new town and new faces. I knew we were planted here for a purpose. I knew God placed us with people that needed us spiritually and would be receptive to our Christian views and be hungry for the Word of God through us. We took class after class at CCWC and felt we were ready for what God had in store for us.

Our neighbors, Ted and Karen Koran were great. They had a financial need, in which we helped them with food when we could send some that way. My neighbor had a health history of seizures and not too many friends because of other’s fear in her condition. I assured her I would stand by her in friendship. She has a huge heart for animals. I invited her over to be with the baby sheep after they were born to help us humanize them and be a part of spending time with these animals that were also trying to adjust to their new homes. She was excited and inquisitive as to each and every new animal that came our way to share with us her love for these animals.

At this time, I was still networking through my e-mails and just getting familiar with Facebook. I added them on both my Facebook and e-mail list to insure that I would keep them updated with my newest stories, progress, and new tenants (animals) here at the ranch. We also shared personal information with them, which we tend to do as Christians, to show others where we used to be in our past and where God has brought us too victoriously. Bob and I both have skeletons in our closet, neither of us who have lived a perfect life, but now washed clean by the blood of Jesus to live now for God and do His will for His glory.

It started early in March. The first weekend of March I had a meeting at my house on a Saturday morning for coffee and apple pie that another neighbor brought to share. I wanted everyone to be aware about the Domino Effect Spring Fest, which would be held here in 2 weeks, so not to alarm anyone or catch them by surprise. We explained the parking and asked their opinions, as to not offend anyone in our upcoming event. Shortly thereafter, March 11, 2010, I received an e-mail from my neighbor, Ted. I was sending e-mails of our progress here at the ranch, new arrivals, and devotionals that touched my heart in which I wanted to share with others. My e-mail list had grown to 300+ people that I was networking with.

My neighbor wrote to me:

Dear Dinelle,

In all due respect my religious beliefs are very personal. I respect the concept of freedom of religion. I would never, ever preach my beliefs on anyone else and I am extremely offended that you are trying to force your beliefs onto us. I practice my beliefs every day by trying to be a decent, careing and animal loving human being. I have 4 rules that I adhere to which are: Don't lie, Don't steal, Don't cheat and don't hurt anyone. I live, learn and practice my way of life by observing the human condition as seen through the actions of all religions and beliefs of the world that are done in a positive and constructive manner. I am a man of the human condition and I don't need a particular religious avenue to be a good citizen of the world, which is diverse and varies in so many ways of interacting with one another. If you can not communicate in a one on one, human nature without interjecting a religious point of view then we have nothing to say to each other. I am more than happy to share common interests and strive for the betterment of the human condition if but for the only purpose that it is the right thing to do. Period! Please take us off your mailing list if you cannot or are unwilling to comply with my request.

Thank you,

I was a bit shocked, needless to say, but held my composure because naturally there are those who will be offended in our Christian beliefs and lifestyle.

Four days before our Domino Effect Spring Fest we were busy trying to get the property cleaned up with burning tree limbs, leaves, etc. Up here in the woods, out in the boonies, it is still required to notify the police department of a recreational burn or burning debris. You must be up to code with all of their guidelines for the safety of the endless acres of woods and wildlife up here. Each and every time we starting our debris burn, complaints were called out to the Fire Marshall, who shortly showed up to the ranch, and each and every time we were within the guidelines in which were laid out for us. The Fire Marshall was also called out to our house in the middle of our Domino Effect Spring Fest in front of our 130 guests, in which there was no fire that had been lit that day.

On the day of our event, the main street sign out on the corner of Thrasher and US 19, disappeared on the day of our party, probably just a coincidence, do you think?

At this point, we realized our neighbors were trying to put the heat on us a bit, and just assumed as we were newcomers to the neighborhood; they were making a point as to their seniority here and how they wished us to live in sync with their lifestyle. Once again, we blew it off. In fact, a month or so after this, they asked if we could put it all behind us that we just got off on the wrong foot. Bob and I, as Christians, definitely were not looking to offend anyone or anger anyone with our future plans here at the ranch.

Soon after, we rescued a 200 pound hog. I took a video of this lady and her hog as she told us his story and how she rescued him, herself. She mentioned that a neighbor had shot him twice with the bullets lodged in his head, but he survived through it, as she nursed him back to health. He became out of control as he grew in size. She could no longer control him and found us from one of our ads on Craigslist. We took him in with hopes to give him a good home. In just a short while, he became explosive. One of our first incidents, he escaped out from his fenced area into the llama pen. Whatever occurred at this time, caused Lily, the llama, to jump a 6 foot fence to get away from him. Bob used rebar and big, cement blocks to try to keep him contained. Every attempt to keep him contained failed. He was destroying his pen, dumping over everyone’s water, and destroying their homes as he would break in one side of their caged homes and out the other. We were desperately trying to find a home for him. We had ads on Craigslist and also on Ocala Sales.

In the second week of June, our neighbor, the Korans, called to tell us that one of their horses had fallen and would not get up. They didn’t know what was wrong with her, but felt that she would not make it through the night. They wanted us to know they would be burying it in the front of their property across from where our home lines up. I told him I was very sorry to hear this and offered Bob’s services if they were needed, but he had other arrangements for a backhoe to be brought in to dig up the ground.

Just a few days later, June 22, 2010, the hog was at it again. He had gotten out of the pen again, tore through one end of the chicken coop and out the other, killing one of the chickens. He made his way to the other side of the property, in which he busted through fencing in the duck pen, in one side and out the other, injuring one of the ducks. He made his path to the bunny pen as well tipping it up on its side. Then his pathway was directed towards Max, our pit bull. Bob had absolutely had enough. The hog was now posing a threat to our animals, killing and injuring them, and possibly to us, as he was out of control. He went into the house and got his shotgun and with 2 shots put the hog down.

Our neighbor, Ted Koran, knowing Bob’s past felony conviction from 23 years prior, used this opportunity against him. He called the sheriff’s department with complaints that a felon had just killed a pig with a firearm purposely setting Bob up for an arrest. The deputies showed up at the house as Bob had just finished burying the hog. They asked Bob what had happened and Bob honestly told them the truth about putting the pig down. They told him about their anonymous caller and asked Bob about his record. Bob again was honest and explained to them his prior conviction from 23 years before. Bob had brought the shotgun to the house, shortly before this, in case we had any problems with the hog. Knowing he shouldn’t have the shotgun, he brought it to our home for protection. He was arrested that night with bond the next morning. We have spoken with an attorney and know that this charge carries a minimum mandatory of 3 years.

This neighbor has posted articles with the news media and on my FB page slandering our name and trying to ruin our reputation and the reputation here at the ranch. He has posted lies about Bob’s past, about the shooting incident, the condition of our animals and our ranch, and against our beliefs. He has publically tried to shame us in all ways thought possible.

As if this was not enough turmoil to deal with, the harassment continues. We had a horse that went down a week ago. Our friends had notified us that we had a horse down and offered his assistance in walking the horse. By this, I mean he would not get up, as if he had sand colic. Then within an hour after this, another horse went down. This now seems too suspicious for two horses to go down at the same time. We were able to revive the second horse and get her up and moving. Bob spent from that afternoon until 7:00 a.m. the next morning trying to get this horse to stand up and stay coherent, until the horse could no longer fight, and passed. Bob had exhausted every effort possible to save this horse. Our neighbors, Ted and Karen had seen this horse down off and on throughout the day, but never mentioned this to anyone. Our friends also informed us that these neighbors had been feeding our horses on the ground at the back fence for a few weeks throwing their old, left over hay and grain in the sand causing our horses to colic, with no permission given from us to feed them. Everyone knows you never feed horses grain out of the dirt. Also everyone knows that you never feed another man’s animals, as this causes them to deviate their routine.

Our friend helped Bob for the most part of the night and early the next morning trying to get the horse up and moving. After they lost their battle fighting for this horse’s life, it was nearly 8:00 in the morning and everyone was exhausted. After Bob had returned to the house, we heard a horn blow at the front gate. Animal control was at our gate because our neighbor had called them with complaints of our starving, neglected horses. As she walked around the property from one section to the next, she commended us on how clean our property was and surprised to hear we had done so much here at the ranch in such a short period of time that we have lived here. She took pictures of all of the horses including the horse that had passed away that morning. The horse that passed was the biggest horse in size, well-nourished, with good muscle tone. Every animal on our property was found to be in good shape and well-nourished, except for one, which is on the thin side. We do have one horse that is thin and showing ribs. We brought him in to the ranch in March. He was thin when he arrived with pictures to prove and after he lost his winter coat, we realized he was a bit thinner than we thought. We were maintaining his body weight, but hadn’t found the proper way to build weight back on him. We tried weight gainer, which didn’t seem to do much good for him. I had called around to other rescue ranches seeking help and received a feeding regimen in which we had recently started him on. Animal control assured me that he too was not in danger of starvation, as the neighbor was trying to make claims. She reported the ranch and all of the animals to be in good condition and will return in 90 days to check on the thin horse to track his progress on his weight gain, as this is a slow process that does not happen over night. After animal control had left, Bob was mentally and physically exhausted, with an upcoming burial of a 1600 pound horse, he napped for a few hours. Later that evening everyone, including Bob’s friend, joined in to give this horse a burial.

This infuriated our neighbor. His e-mails, calls to the Fire Marshall, calls to the sheriffs department, comments to Bob’s arrest article, slander on my FB, calls to animal control, nothing has put us out of the picture. Our friends asked if I had seen his FB page. Once he slandered my name, I blocked him from my FB and placed security on my account. He then had posted pictures of the thin horse asking for anyone to help him get justice for these horses, as they were starving and neglected. He also stole pictures off my husband’s FB page in order to get information on the horse that died and before pictures to show to all the horse that we “murdered”, as he would put it. He boasted on FB about bringing a reporter out the next day to do a story on us. Of course, with us seeing this, gave us an opportunity to put a stop to this. The reporter came out and talked with them for quite some time. Bob met him down the street after he had left in order to get his side of the story in on what this man is trying to do to our character and the mental anguish he has placed on us. Animal control also called and asked us to please come and pick up an e-mail he had sent to their superiors in attempt to go after animal control for passing the ranch and not agreeing with his claims.

Throughout these past 2 months, I have had friends place judgment on us for Bob’s arrest. The mental anguish this man has put us through is immeasurable. Through all of this, not once have Bob and I done anything to retaliate against this man or be vindictive at any cause. Bob has a criminal history as a young adult, in which he did time for a felony charge, and has been clean since from any felon. These events have played such a role in our lives and altered our path we were on with the vision from God here at the ranch.

Bob was in his shed the other day praying for God to give him peace from these horrible events that have taken place and insight on how to handle this mental anguish in which we are dealing with night and day. He said, “My heart started racing and I knew what it was I had to do.” He came in to tell me that God had placed the answers on his heart, but didn’t explain. He walked out the front door, up the neighbor’s driveway, and to his front door. Ted refused to answer the door. Bob called for him through the door and told him, “I just have to tell you that my God is bigger than this and I will not fight this on your level. I forgive you, Ted, for these things that you have done.” He said that after that he felt a peace come over him and has been back to his normal routine since, feeling at ease over the situation.

These seven months will be remembered for years to come. I have had excitement in watching our vision unfold and watched someone try to crush it all in a heartbeat. But it isn’t about the neighbor at all, he just played his role well. This is about spiritual warfare. Since the day we stepped on this property to fulfill our vision that God had for us, we have been under attack. We have been attacked nonstop with trials hitting one right after another to involve every aspect of our well being. We have been attacked with our finances, marriage, family, animals, friends, neighbors, and now our marriage to be separated while he may spend time in prison.

Does this mean that in all that has happened the vision must come to an end? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! It has just begun. We have allowed the enemy to tear us down mentally, but no more. We are taking back what God has rightfully given us and will fulfill our purpose here. My son, who has not lived with me for 11 years, has moved back in to help, which is an absolute blessing to rekindle that relationship that I thought I had lost. Bob is teaching him to run the ranch and be self supportive with the tree cutting business that Bob was doing. I do medical transcription from home, so this puts me here at the ranch 24/7 to keep an eye on the property and maintain the animals throughout the day. Our new friends, to the right of us, have offered their friendship and help here with the animals, who also believe in God as we do. God has given me another angle here at the ranch. We are at our limits on rescuing animals and overloaded with the financial aspect of taking care of the overhead, feed, and maintenance of these animals. It is time to get the “Domino Effect” rolling on a positive pathway back in God’s will for His glory. We cleared the living room out and combined the living area and dining area to one big room. Bob has built a 16 foot table to accommodate 20 people. We will have our first Domino Effect Fall Fest here at the ranch in October. With this event, we will introduce the Domino Effect Birthday Ranch with a sneak preview of what your child will have to look forward to if he or she joins us here for their birthday party here at the ranch. We also will be setting up a date in November to schedule families to have Christmas portraits taken with the miniature horses with Christmas hats on the horses or their favorite animal here at the ranch to design this portrait into Christmas cards in time to be sent out.

God has given us endless ideas and opportunity to work with these animals to help support the ranch. It will be a great work load put on myself and my family to try to financially and physically hold this ranch together without my husband, should the state imprison him for these charges. We will move forward in the Lord and in His Will we will prosper.

We have chosen to bring this situation out in the open to clearly explain the chain of events that have taken place, so that we may seek peace in this situation. We are only in bondage, as much as we allow ourselves to be. God has made us victorious in Him and with this we will not hide or feel ashamed over events that have taken place.

As I researched different things on Google trying to make some Biblical sense to this warfare we are going through, I came across this website where this pastor explains what we are going through as if he was talking straight to me.

Just a few quotes I would like to share, but please check out the link, as it was very specific on this topic “Vision Killers”

“the enemy will try to kill the vision first. The goal of the enemy is to kill the vision before it can gain any element of traction”

“not everyone will be excited about the vision God has for your life. As a matter of fact I can tell you that people in your field of life, people that are trying to seek the same promotion, people that desire the same goals and even people that aren’t seeking anything, they just don’t want you to have it if they can’t have it. I’ll keep going. There are people that aren’t willing to pay the price, people that aren’t willing to sacrifice, people that try to cut corners, people that have no values or character and people that simply think that it’s due them or rightfully theirs.”

“God is working out a vision through someone that will give him the glory for it at every stage. Just like Joseph, your heart will no doubt break because of the people that you thought were with you, only to find out that they were merely waiting for an opportunity to move you over and slip in your place… people that you spent time with and shared your heart with. So try to have the attitude of forgiveness and be like Joseph and realize that no matter what people do, God can turn it around and use it for good and even heal wounded relationships in the process.”

We pray that our family and friends will understand this situation we are going through and stand behind us in support. If anyone can financially or physically help out here at the ranch, please contact me. ANY donations at this point would be extremely helpful to help maintain these animals until we can get back on track. We are still in need of building supplies for a few shelters as well. There are many areas we could use a helping hand in getting the ranch set up for the Domino Effect Birthday Ranch. We will press forward in faith to keep the ranch going in fulfilling our vision here in God’s Will. Please keep us in your prayers.

Domino Effect Rescue Ranch
"People Helping Animals Helping People"
Robert & Dinelle Ashcraft
10370 Snowbird Avenue
Weeki Wachee, Florida, 34614
Contact: 352-596-3104
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History on the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch

Domino Effect Rescue Ranch
"People Helping Animals Helping People"