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Starting over animal refuge,inc.

9734 s. buckskin ave.
Orlando, FL 34436

User Reviews (14)

  • 1. Horse Abuser

    by: thetruthaboutmyost

    Check out this blog. This filly came directly from Melissa Yost to Beauty's Haven. Follow here story...see how a real rescue treats their animals. http://www.beautysequinerescue.org/pdf/blog/August_2011.pdf You will also need to go forward, but suffice to say if Beauty's Haven hadn't taken this filly in she would have been dead in DAYS. This place needs to be shut down. She needs to pay for her neglect of this beutiful animal. Rather than make more money off of these animals. Sick person to allow this to happen.




    liar and neglecter


    by: dukenashton

    We purchased our puppy golden retriever here almost two years ago. We paid a $300 "donation". We knew it was sketchy when we were there and knew we shouldn't support this but fell in love with our Duke and I couldn't leave him in that filthy pen. He was being kept outside in a muddy pen at 8 weeks old and had worms (i know this is common for puppies, but they said they had dewormed him). I took him to the vet the next day because he had a rash over his tummy so he was put on antibiotics etc. Sent an email to them as a heads up no response. Sent the email about him getting neutered that is required, no response. Now that Duke is almost 2 years old our vet is noticing his hips seem to be bothering him (something you can't see in a young puppy). I love Duke more than anything in the world but this place is sketchy. Her story was that the puppies were donated to raise money for the horses. I would do it again because he is my world but selling sick puppies for profit is terrible. I would recommend adopting from Orange County Animal Services. That is where we adopted our pure bred schipperke for $55 and saved his life and didn't contribute to irresponsible breeding.


    we love our puppy


    shady, poor breeding, disregard of puppy socialization or health, a puppy mill broker

  • 3. RESCUE ???

    by: deanshaven

    This lady has operated in different cities in FL always moving on when problems regarding the REFUGE came up. She does not only picks up and then trades dogs but also horses on Craigslist and similar online services. She has a remarkable gift of marketing the animals and she has a high turnover . The buyers are not interviewed but encourage to bring cash ONLY when stopping by to look at the prospective new dog.The difference between a "rescue" and a "trader" is the fact that the animals are not sold but placed with suitable adopters. Horses of color are her favorits for breeding if suitable! Also not a rescue practise. I recently had dealings with her when a horse had to be rescued FROM her facility by another Ocala horse rescue. The horse had not been cared for by her and did not receive the urgent medical attention it needed.


    operator makes good living


    animals are traded not placed

  • 4. Parvovirus!

    by: christine123

    We got our little 1/2 cavalier, 1/2 beagle puppy last week from Starting Over in Ocala. We immediately fell in love w/ him... so did his big sis (a 1 yr old cavalier we purchased last yr from a great breeder). At first he seemed great, running around playing. The next day he had blood in his stool. I already had his vet appointment set up for that day... he tested negative for worms and parvo. We brought him home with a rx for the diarrhea and infection. He seemed to get better over the weekend, then Monday took a turn for the worse. He stopped eating drinking, began vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy etc. We took him immediately back to the vet... each time all parvo tests came back negative. Finally today he tested positive. I've been trying to get in touch w/ Melissa all day today to let her know (I've tried phone, email, and her facebook page) and have not gotten a response. We have our puppy in the hospital for treatment... vet bills are already over $1000. It's not about the money, I want to make sure all the other dogs are treated immediately and given the parvo vaccine under her care. The virus is highly contagious and will spread to most if not all of the other dogs. It has only a 50% survival rate, and that is w/ hospitalization and treatment. I asked in my emails to her to call all the people who have adopted animals in the past couple weeks to let them know. Had we known he was at risk for the parvovirus, he would've began treatment or received the vaccine asap (he was due to receive it at his next vet appointment when he's 12 wks old). PLEASE, if you are thinking of getting a dog from here, make sure they are not carrying this disease- it can kill them and your other dogs. Thank goodness our other dog is vaccinated or I would have two pups in the hospital. Please pray for our little Linden. He's only 2.8 lbs and I hope he makes it. If Melissa does not warn adoptive parents of the risk, then I give her a 1 review. Although this disease is by no means her fault, if she doesn't warn parents, she is basically killing these poor dogs. They deserve a chance at life and should be vaccinated/treated asap!!! Best, Christine


    We love our puppy


    50/50 survival rate

  • 5. very positive

    by: jankosko

    we adopted a terrific puppy from this place the minute we got there it was a good feeling we were greeted by a group of the happiest dogs ive ever had the pleasure of meeting, and they care for all the animals ive followed on fb and ive seen lots of happy animals when melissa saves them and lots of new happy families ...we were very comfortable with the adoption fee for our wonderful pup,we were glad to contribute to all the care and love these animals get there and l we knew right away this place was wonderful they put the animals first and all were happy and healthy melissa was very truthful and straight with us and was one of those people you just like right away we enjoyed our visit and knew we were adding a new member to our family i called several times and she was very pleasant and honest about all info...and we are so happy with this smart and very loving pup and she gets along great with our other dog and cat she is socialized well and i would most surely adopt again if we can...go see for yourself. i follow all the pictures and stories on this facebook page love the pics and the horse that i was petting was a rescue almost starved to death and was so passive and and i was thrilled to pet her and just the fact that it walked over to me said alot of the love and care it was getting and i enjoy seeing the progress...i think they do something very special out there and you can see it in those animals who are getting the chance they deserved in the first place and theres alot of time spent to do that and it sure didnt look or feel any other way when i send a thank you or progress report melissa answers and the pics i send are liked i would recommend this place for a wonderful pet to all


    our puppy


    dont have room for more!

  • 6. I'm Melissa....at Starting Over

    by: startingoverranch

    SO it's about time I get on here and let the world know exactly what I do. I am a dog rescue. I save dogs from deathrow EVERY day. Literally! I sit on the computer on facebook and help network urgent dogs all over the country. IT's a bad disease that some times wears me down and consumes my life. I see sad eyes on the internet and know they're going to die because of the ignorance of the world. I don't descriminate. I take it pitbulls all the time. They're almost always heartworm positive and animal aggressive. I took in a beautiful white husky. She was about to be euthanized as she was heartworm positive. I took in a brindle pitbull in named Soldier. He was so aggressive the lights would go out and he would pass out from the anxiety of his aggression. Within 3 weeks Soldier was able to greet dogs of all sizes outside his kennel with a wagging tail. Caymus the resident mastiff came in freshly over surgery from being thrown over a fairy boat. he bit 5 people. Today he greets you with hugs with his big jughead. He's over his aggression. This is a buisness. Wether it's profit or non-profit people are going to complain...people are going to praise. Unfortunately there are a whole lot more critics in this world and they often live to form witch hunts on people that are trying to better the world. The horses? I have been selling horses since I was 9yrs old. I am not considered a horse rescue. Do I rescue some horses? Oh yeah. I have pictures of the journey's of those that have come in skin and bones. Do I make a living selling horses? I would have to laugh and say oh god no. I feed alfalfa blocks. $280 per block. 3 horses go through it in one week. I feed good quality grain. Seminole show performance. $15.00 a bag. one horse goes through it in a week. My ferrier is here every two weeks. Each horse is done every 4-6 weeks and I also deworm on those days. This is my passion. It's what I do. Like a lawyer who stands in a courtroom. Sometimes defending the innocent and most often defending the guilty. Like murders and rapists. But I don't see you going after them. How dare they protect the cruelty of this world.? Or the doctor who looks forward to the heart surgery he's about to perform...even if it is on that 5yr old lil boy who's prognosis is very slim. I sometimes buy horses and I sell them for more money. They're cared for here. mOst often retrained or freshly trained. People come here and they call themselves "trainers"...they say "oh yes...I have been into horses my whole life..I know what I'm doing" ..I ALWAYS try to match the right horse with the right home but sometimes people are demanding and they want what they want. Unfortunately the people who are dissapointed in their decisions are often apt to "Lash" out and point the blame elsewhere. Don't worry though that's human nature and in this world human nature can be very cruel, ignorant or just plain hateful. Are there ways I can improve? oh yeah. I'm always growing. Changing. Evolving. There's things that i even say "maybe i could that differently"...but what i don't do is ever purposely jeopordize the future of ANY of these animals. Horses or dogs. So you guys parade around here and assume I strictly rescue horses. yes I do...and rehab them. Can they fall back into their behavioral patterns? yeah they can. Can they develop behavioral issues? YEs they almost always do because people often don't understand the language of the horse. or the dog for that matter. A horse is only as good as it's rider. a dog is only as great as it's master. So I'm not mad at anyone for pointing blame my way. You have to come walk in my shoes and see the effort that goes into keeping these animals well fed, well cared for, vetted and trained. The animals that great you here are often once abused ....once spoiled to the point of aggression. Some were well loved but for the most part...they have scars. Mental ones and if you come here thinking you can just wash away those scars with a magic eraser well then...don't come to my ranch. You have to learn to be the animal to truly understand them...to gain their respect and then to gain their love. To the person who got a dog from me in 2007...Please note your dog is now 5yrs old. You raised that dog from a puppy. These dogs will be exactly how you raise them to be. If your dog is showing aggression you have failed to establish alpha status. Bring your dog to the ranch and I will evaluate his/her temperment and take her into my doggy bootcamp training. I rehab aggressive dogs all the time. To those who think I'm a puppy mill. you couldn't be further from the truth. I rescue two to three litters at a time. Often try to stay at two. they're here often less then 2 weeks. These puppies come from places most often who didn't care enough to deworm them, to vaccinate them...they're exsisting because they didn't care to take proper care of the mother. Sometimes puppies incubate diseases. Can up to 30 days before showing signs of symptoms. You're coming to a rescue that has no history of these dogs and the history they do come with could be false. Owners often lie. All my adult dogs come from high kill shelters . I pay for their vetting when the shelter will offer that choice. I try to get pledges to help save these lives but there's too many out there and not enough funds to go around so often I'm paying to save these lives. I adopt the adults out most often for $15 - $40 . The purebred adults I may get $150 - $200 for. but sometimes even those go out for the mixed breed adult fees. I don't set my adoption fees at one price. The world is too decriminating and I want all of them to have a chance at a forever home. Bottom line I think there's worst places these animals could go to. They get great feed and care here. They're vetted when needed and I would break my pockets to save their lives. I pay $100 a day for their initial training by my horse trainer. I am obsessed with my passion. I live it breath it and sleep it. Come here and you will see "happy" animals no matter their past. They overcome their past here I could only hope the person who takes them home can continue that. Horses are often misunderstood and it is very easy for a horse to fail in their homes. They're sold off like yesterday's trash in society. When I buy that horse they rarely ask me what am I going to feed them. They never ask me how much property do you have. They never ask me what my intentions are for that horse. They don't ask me my experience. They take my money and hand me the leadrope. So at the end of the day I guess what i'm trying to say is that I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be. I believe in myself . I believe in what I do. Horses are my passion and these dogs...they're my life's work. Will things go your way? no...these animals I can't predict them everytime. They have souls. They have emotions. They have minds of their own. You take on an animal and expect it to be perfect. Nothing is perfect. I can't please everyone. I would not be human if EVERYONE liked me or what I do. All I know is that your focus on trying to destroy me is a waste of time. My integrity stays in tact. People know they're more likely to publicly complain and attack then they are to praise. Yes I asked my supporters to come on here and support me. They're not hired friends. Half of them don't know me. They have personal experiences or they've visited my ranch and seen what I do. Some of them just see my facebook and it tells an entire life story because I am an open book and why am I an open book? Because I have absolutely nothing to hide. I run a buisness with a passion. Does it profit sometimes...well yeah..how else do you survive in this world? Tell the doctors and lawyers they can't make a living saving and changing lives. Do i get rich off of this. Now I must laugh again. I drive a 12 yr old vehicle with 200,000 miles on it. My boots get so worn I duck tape them before spending the money. So I don't get rich. I barely survive. The only richness I get out of this is saving lives. Because thats what I do. I do more in society then the average joe and I do a damn good job and always trying to grow and be better then myself.


    I save lives.


    I'm only human

  • 7. Ignore negative reviews

    by: Lindaweav

    Melissa saves animals. Bottom line. She takes animals no one else will and finds them homes. Go look at her Facebook for yourselves and just look at the pictures of her and her daughters with the animals and decide for yourself if Melissa loves the animals


    Saves animals lives


    Can't think of any

  • 8. A Real Hero

    by: pacemakergirl

    I met Melissa Yost about 4-5 years ago when i had a mare that i needed to find a place for as my health was declining and she was just too much for me, so I contacted Melissa about a horse she had listed and asked if she would trade she asked my situation and why i was trying to place my mare, i explained about my health and how she was too much horses for me and i would like something a little more sedate she was very honest and told me that the horse she had listed would not be a good match for me and asked if i could come out to meet some horses she thought might work for me. i told her that i could not as i wasnt able to travel anywhere at that time so we talked a few times and finally decided to try a mare and foal she had and she would take my mare and if it didnt work out she would bring my mare back when she came to my house it ended up storming really bad and it would have been too dangerous to try and unload a mare and foal and then load my mare so we decided to try another day. melissa didnt ask for gas or anythign even though she drove quite aways and then ended up having to leave anyways. she was through the whole thing very kind and even though i could see she was upset she didnt take it out on me or deny me a horse like i thought she would. i have personally seen horses that were on the brink of death come into her care and come back to life and not just on the outside on the inside as well she heals the body and the mind and doesnt just try to sell you a horse or a dog she makes sure eveyone matches and gets along and shes not afraid to give it to you straight. at the end of the day she saves lives and changes the world one animal at a time and for those of you that say bad things about her i would love to see you try to live her life for even a day cuz i will be honest with you i sure as hell couldnt do it and i dont think you could either so let her do her job and save some lives and stop whining......


    awesome person, does great work



  • 9. Amazing

    by: kiffelrambo

    I have known the owner of this rescue for years. She does an amazing job saving these animals. I think it is ridiculous that people make references to her being a "puppy mill". I had a dog that I realized my family could not give him the environment he needed, she took him and adopted him out to a wonderful couple. She works miracles with these animals and ALL her pictures of these animals only show how great she really is.





  • 10. RESCUE OR Horse/dog Trader?

    by: shadyladymiami

    This woman actually trolls Craigs List and other ads for horses that need to be re-homed for whatever reason and for dogs and puppies that other rescues can 'pull' from shelters for free (or they absorb the cost) and take to her. She then puts pictures up and uses her websites to troll for 'adopters' with a lot of bull about her 'compassion' and 'saving lives' . Yost immediately resells the 'free or cheap to a good home' horse or dog. $25 for a grown female dog, unspayed, with an 'agreement' that the dog will get spayed? This is the WORST rescue practice I have ever seen! THIS practice pretty much guarantees other rescues are going to have to rescue 5-10 MORE dogs from that 'only one litter' (hopefully only one!) that nearly always happens. For PUPS on the other hand, she gets $250 each, with perhaps one shot and one worming that the shelter probably gave them (one would hope the shelter is more responsible than this person!) The horses are her biggest she scam. YOST talks people into giving the horse to her FREE because she gives them a DONATION receipt for a highly inflated amount of money 'to take off of their income taxes'. YOST then sells the horse as fast as possible as 'rehabilitated' for whatever the market will bear.. from $150 (less than meat price, VERY unsafe for that poor horse!) on up to $4000.00. She always asks for cash and it goes right into her pocket. She then signs a 'donation receipt' to the BUYER to take off of THEIR income taxes! She supports her lifestyle and her kids with the donations she is always trolling for and these 'sales'. THIS is a scam artist who happily admits she pays ZERO income taxes because she is a 'charity'. Stay away. Signed contracts by her regarding the health or the age or the suitability of the animal mean nothing. She will sign anything (I am living proof!) to get the money in her hand, and then you can kiss your money goodbye. She MAY take the animal back and will tell you to consider your cash (even the $4000.00) a donation to HER 'charity'.




    Using 501c3 to pay for her living expenses

  • 11. Positive experience

    by: Doombot

    When we visited, there were lots of animals - some had clearly been abused. I believe real rescue work is going on here and there was genuine love for animals at work. Perhaps others have seen puppy mill indications, but all of the 10-13 puppies we saw were from two litters and were mixed breeds. I feel comfortable that my $250 adoption fee will ending up helping animals.


    Our dog, rescue work


    See review

  • 12. Melissa Yost is not a reputable rescuer

    by: animalover4ever444

    I adopted a dog from Melissa Yost in 2007 and paid $250.00 for a dog that has horrible aggression problems. I have have paid for training and graduating a programs in order to save my dogs life. It is very unfortunate that people like Melissa L. Yost are making a living off of people by saying her organization is a non-profit when it is not. She has grown her business and continuously has puppies for adoption. She will lie and tell you anything in order to sell an animal. She should be ashamed as an animal lover for what she is doing. I would not recommend adopting from Starting Over Animal Refuge or S.O.A.R. , or from Melissa Yost. I believe she is running a puppy mill. I paid in cash which is the only form of payment she would take. I bet the IRS would also be interested in her and the way she conducts business.


    there are none


    you will spend $$$$ and support a puppy mill

  • 13. Amazing place

    by: cowgrlup

    I adopted one horse and 2 dogs from this organization. Wonderful place. All the animals are healthy. I have seen 2 of their properties they have recided at and both properties were sanitary , clean and organized. My horse was trained by her horse trainer and herself and has been everything she told me he was. I adopted two dogs from her. One beautiful little mixed breed puppy and a purebred german shepherd puppy. I read the review above and just because you adopted a purebred puppy from a shelter doesn't mean they are a puppy mill or affiliated with one. I believe this woman does an amazing thing at her farm. When I adopted my first dog and horse I didnt have to pay a covercharge at the gate. The second time I did. She was quick to explain that it is a donation that goes towards the rescue and it went towards my adoption fee when I adopted my puppy. I think she also does it because she feels like it will deter window shoppers and I believe her efforts are worth the $10 donation at the gate. You really cannot judge a person by one person's opinion. So hopefully if you have to you will judge her by mine because I have been to her place on three seperate occasions. All being a rewarding experience. I guess the only thing I can say as constructive critismn is maybe starting over can exhaust their efforts in getting themselves a better spay/neuter program, Perhaps there's a vet in their area that can donate their services or give them a generous discount for it? That's all. I hope my opinion matters.


    my beautiful pets



  • 14. not trust worthy

    by: chowkidz

    I have been waiting over a year to find a website with this "rescue" on it so i could voice my concerns. Gut feeling it's all about the money. We adopted a pup over a year ago and never heard from them again. We signed their "contract" were it states if we did not have her fixed by Jan 09 we would be fined $5,000. They did not ask for references or even ask us any questions other then "you have cash right?" Now i see they are charging addmission to look at the animals available for adoption. When we looked at the two female pups that were available i asked if she knew anything about either of the parents and i got "she is a purebreed" I said no i am more interested in temperment and health. Then she said "we do not know anything about the parents because the pups are flood victims" OK then how did she know she was a purebreed. Seems to be a middle man for puppy mills. I know a lot of people whom have adopted from rescues and every single one has asked for AND called the references. They also request updates about the animals.


    our pup