Starlight Sanctuary Hospice


The Starlight Sanctuary is a 501c3

December 17, 2012

 The Special and Wise Mare 

By Laura Bell

 I spent a little bit of time outside today with Shelby, the Shasta QH mare who is responsible for all of these rescues.....let me tell you a story:

I work in Fallon a lot on foreclosed homes, so on October 5th this year, I was driving by the sale yard out on the highway and although I hate looking that direction because it upsets me when I see horses there (and I have been there many times rescuing horses, however, I can only rescue so many and still be responsible for the horses we already have at our sanctuary), I did turn my head and that was my first look at what became known as “The Shasta Horses”….wow, were they ever beautiful in those corrals; Paints, Appaloosa’s, palominos, chestnuts, bays, cremellos, perlinos, and buckskins. I drove on, but after 2 miles, I pulled a u-turn and went back and pulled over on the near side of the railroad tracks…..hmm, I have seen some really good looking herds of Reservation Horses, but not with the uniform quality of conformation this herd of horses had….however, larger herds of what were obviously well-bred Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosa’s is not “the norm” for the kill sale yard, and neither were the number of obviously well bred horses there either. I had to get to a job, so with another look, I drove off, however, I couldn’t get those horses out of my mind, didn’t sleep well for my typical 3-5 hours a night, and just knew the next morning I had to go back or else it would really bother me if I didn’t.

 So 2 days later, a Sunday, when I knew the sale yard would be closed so I could sneak onto the unfenced property across the railroad tracks,  I took care of the animal children at our sanctuary that morning, went and worked on a house, and then drove back to Fallon. They were all still there, which didn’t surprise me that they were at the sale yard that has weekly kill sales on Tuesdays, and if these horses were going through a special sale, I would have read about it on Craigslist (and actually, that Sunday night, I did see a short post on CL that mentioned these horses were selling on Tuesday, but it didn’t go into what exceptional horses they were color and conformationally-wise).  I parked on the side of the highway and ventured to the other side of the RR tracks and looked down the berm at the horses. I did a short video, took some photos and then decided “well, this is stupid Laura, just go down to the corrals and if someone sees you, scamper away as fast as your 53 year old legs will carry you!”.

 So as I venture closer to where some of the horses are eating out of the long feeder, all of the horses see me coming and move away, all except my Shelby-Mare. She continues eating but then stops and comes down the fence line to me like “oh hey, how are you today?”, just like she knows me and was expecting me (and no way that Shelby saw me stopped on the side of the highway 2 days earlier and knew it was me coming back….right, I mean seriously is it possible?). I reached through the fence and began rubbing her cheeks, and then scratched her behind her ears and she closed her eyes like “mmmm, that’s great”. A few of the other horses started to wander back over, checked me out and then began eating again but didn’t want me to touch them……I filmed my video, narrating and talking to myself and the horses like I always do (I know, I sound silly because I talk to the horses like they’re people and I carry on one-sided conversations. I also think out-loud and ramble A LOT too….lol), took some photos, and then I told Shelby, and also one of the babies, that “I might have to come back for you” and climbed back up the steep berm, crossed the railroad tracks, got in my truck and left… that point, I was truly thinking that I’d post the video on Craigslist to try and get people to a sale most of them would never attend if it weren’t a special sale because most Northern Nevadan’s never go to the kill sales because they are depressing and ugly even if its cattle and other  animals going through besides horses. And even though I say on my video that I will go for free and help evaluate horses for people, I will transport horses for free, etc, I was already really thinking “it will have to be enough Laura that you will go through with the offer to transport horses to their new homes for free, because you are probably not going to be able to handle actually being at the sale watching all these beautiful horses go through and not be able to rescue more than one or two”….I was basically going to chicken out on being at the actual sale, but be there after the sale if someone needed help getting their horse home.

That night, I kept thinking “I can’t do it, I won’t do it” meaning going to the sale, but every time I thought I had made my mind up for sure, I’d think of “MY” Shelby-Mare (and I hadn’t named her yet, and am using that here to identify whom I’m speaking about) and how I’d as much as promised her I’d be back for her, and how she’d walked up to me when all of the other horses at first moved away, and basically said “hey” and I’d think how disappointed she’d be that I wasn’t there to bring her home with me. Another very bad night of waking up, half-way sleeping thinking about letting “my” mare down, and all the other horses too, so the next day, I went through with my plans with my friend Laurie to go back to the sale yard the day before the sale and look at horses.


We went to the sale yard while they were sorting cattle, went into the office and asked if we could go out and look at the horses from the outside of the corrals in the aisle-way. The ladies in the office said to go out and talk to the manager.  We found him, and since I do rescue horses sometimes from the Tuesday sale and have done so many times, I think he may have recognized me and was actually sort of friendly, which he has also been with me in the past too. Then he said something that told me these were NICE horses; “we haven’t had so many quality horses from a ranch herd in a long time”….that was confirmation of what I already thought; these horses were special. Laurie and I were told where we could go to avoid being trampled by cattle, so we walked out and started meeting the horses. That is when Laurie’s horse Bella chose HER; she walked past me away from her filly-baby, and straight up to Laurie, put her nose through the fence and pushed her nose into Laurie’s chest……like she was laying claim to Laurie and saying “you’re mine”. We were getting in deeper and deeper with every passing minute it seemed.


After preceding down the aisle-way and looking at the array of beautiful horses who had ended up at this place with the feeling of hopelessness hanging over it, we made our way to a big pen with mare and baby pairs, some solo babies perhaps 4 months old and older, (where were their Mamas?), and assorted yearlings, 2, 3, 4 year old fillies and older solo mares, etc; it was the corral that Shelby was in…..there she was again, in the same area as the day before, still eating. We stood there for 5 minutes or so, admiring all of the horses beauty, color and conformation, and also very over-whelmed and sad that we wouldn’t be able to rescue even a small fraction of them because there were 85-100 of them from this ranch……seriously, I had begun running the Craigslist ads on Saturday after I had seen these horses, trying to rally people to come to a sale most will never come to, the Fallon “kill sale”, because it’s ugly and sad, so maybe a few people would show up and perhaps rescue/buy a horse, but most likely, not many more horses were going to leave the sale yard with their own humans. I called out to a mare closer to me, and then noticed Shelby’s reaction across the corral; she heard my voice, turned her head and looked over her left shoulder directly at me, and then left her hay, and walked across the big corral straight to me like “hey Laura, you’re back”. I stood there scratching behind her ears and told her I was only back because I told her I would be, and not to have come back would be a betrayal. We hung around for another hour or so, trying to decide what horses we could afford, knowing we couldn’t get any of the handsome young stallions in their separate pen because I had no where to put them without mares around. I decided I’d just have to keep flagging myself on Craigslist so I could keep re-running my posts (which go back to the top of the listings for awhile until I flagged myself again and re-ran the ad), about the sale the next day on October 9th and let people know there were some super nice stallions in this mix that would be fabulous geldings… other words, I was prepared to plead with people to show up at the sale and that I would do free evaluations, free transport, free lessons when they got their horse or horses home, etc….anything to rescue as many horses as possible on October 9th.

The next day, I got up dreading that sale, just really sad that I was going to be making life and death decisions. I hoped my Craigslist’s ads and also my repeated Facebook pleas on my personal FB page would generate interest and had gotten shared all over. I did receive 3 or 4 phone calls and/or emails of people that had seen my Craigslist’s ads and/or my Facebook postings and they asked if I would be there to help them select a horse if needed….yes, I’ll be there even though it was truly a sad day for most of those horses. So off we went about 11 A.M. to Fallon. We drove over and as we pulled into the big dirt parking lot, I noticed quite a few more people than usual hanging out at the regular pen where the weekly sale horses are kept….normally, there is either nobody by the corrals, or sometimes when I drive by or go to the sale to rescue, there may be a person or two looking at the horses. Just so everyone knows; at these kill sales, you are NOT allowed to go in the pens with the horses, NO horses are ridden through or led through the tiny sale ring….they ALL go through loose just like the cattle do, and just like a wild or untrained horse. They are also in the sale ring usually 30-6- seconds. The horse has to be a horse everyone knows more about and knows that they are trained, has a show record, has a history that the seller that the auctioneer reads, etc, for the horse to be in the sale ring longer and/or for the price to go up a lot higher than kill price.

We got out of my truck and headed over to the first pens with the horses that had just been dropped off that day by the owners (and people who are taking/dumping their horses at the kill sale do not generally hang around and wait to see how much they sell for; since they don’t usually put a “reserve price” on them that has to be met for the horse to sell, no reason to wait around because they won’t be taking their horse home, so they leave and are sent a check for the sale of their horse usually to a kill buyer). This is the pen that had the big grey Quarter Horse mare, now known as Gracee that Linda H. has living in her wonderful farm. She was once again really friendly, which was somewhat unusual for a ranch horse or broodmare. Some people that looked like private party buyers (IOW, not kill buyers) were looking at her, so that gave me hope that perhaps my ads had worked and people were here to look at many of these nice horses in this pen, and also the Shasta Horses. We walked down to the pen with the mares and babies, and solo fillies and mares and I was heartened to see quite a few people checking out the horses. Somehow, they recognized me even though I didn’t know any of them because people began walking up asking if I was Laura Bell. I said yes and then began giving my observations of particular horses that I was seeing for the third time to people that asked. There was a lot of interest in the beautiful, wild colored Appaloosa mare featured in my first video from Sunday, October 7th, and also in a few of the buckskin mares, palominos, the big chestnut mares who looked like adult Mom and daughter, and several other really gorgeous horses that were big, beautiful Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosas. I then also noticed a bunch of people looking at the young stallion pen where there was so much color and beautifully conformed horses that it was astonishing these horses had ended up at one of the weekly Fallon kill sales. People were also looking at the mare and baby pairs in separate corrals to keep the smaller foals from being hurt in the pens with the bigger horses.

I felt a bit better about the chances of safe homes for more horses, but still knew that many were going to be bought by the kill buyers and would most likely ship to slaughter because they did not have their registration papers with them (and from their quality, I knew that many were probably registered) and many, probably most of them, were also not halter broke, let alone saddle trained. They had come from a ranch near Shasta, CA where most of the large acreage pasture, and also their grazing allotment range, had burned in the Rush Fire in September. These were ranch breeding program horses, or what I call “range horses”, who are not wild horses, but who “live-out” on the range and large acreage ranches, breed and have babies on the range, and then the horses are brought in for various things such as castrations, branding, saddle training, sold as ranch horses, etc. The mares will be turned back out with the stallion and continue with breeding. During my assessment of these horses and from being in the horse industry as a professional trainer/instructor/judge for nearly 40 years, I saw certain “tells” that indicated some of the mares were most likely saddle trained….to what degree I didn’t know, but definitely saddle trained. This assessment has turned out to be true with 4 of the mares my friends and clients and I bought either at the sale or from the killbuyer.

So I’m hanging around speaking with people about what I think about certain horses based on their expressions, body language, conformation for “use and purpose” that people are interested in doing with a horse they buy, etc, and then my Shelby-Mare sees me from across the corral and strolls up and stands there looking at me (I think she actually tells me what to do telepathically, but that’s a discussion for a different time… also seems a bit wacko to some people when I talk about it! Lol). So of course, like the good little human I am that is already owned by her even though I haven’t rescued her yet, I go over and give her scratches and tell her “I told you I’d be back for you”……. About this time, the sale is going to begin in about 20 minutes, I have wonderful people calling me from out-of-area saying they want to send me some money to apply toward rescuing horses (and the stars definitely aligned on this rescue because my husband and I had applied for our 501c3 animal rescue non-profit over a year earlier but still had not gotten back “The Letter” from the IRS confirming our status until just 5 days before I saw these horses!), people are asking me questions before they go to the sale barn, etc, and hurrying down the aisle is a nice lady named Lisa, the self-proclaimed “Soccer Mom” who has no horses at all, but wants to get a horse for herself. She’d called me the day before after much hesitation she said, and told me she wanted to help and also wanted to drive 1 ½ hours from her home out to the cruddy kill sale to try and help. I was on the phone when she walked up, but had already selected what I thought would be a nice horse for her, a beautiful Appaloosa mare with a big baby at her side. I indicated I would be there in a second, so she walked over to the mare pen and the next thing I turn around, there she is stroking the nose and head of the mare I thought would be a good horse for her (and Sadie hadn’t been really letting other people pet her much at all and was not acting overly friendly to anyone until Lisa showed up)…..that mare, who is named Sadie now, walked straight up to Lisa when she walked up, and “chose” Lisa for her own human! There were approx. 35 horses in that pen, and Sadie walked right up to Lisa!

 So now we have Shelby choosing me, Bella choosing Laurie, and Sadie choosing Lisa…….are you getting the impression folks that we are all connected in this world if we just keep our minds open to those connections? I get off the phone, walk over and introduce myself and Lisa says “I think this is my horse”, and I reply “I think so too because that is the mare and baby I already chose for you”. Amazing!

Finally, everyone has headed up to the sale barn except for me and a friend of mine. Shelby by now has turned around and is about 15’ away from me facing the other way, so as we start to walk away, I casually say “where’s my mare?” in a sing-song voice and Shelby turns her head to the left looking over her left shoulder and whinnies at me like “here I am Laura”!  My friend and I look at one another with our mouths hanging open, and like “wow, what the hell” because there was NO WAY that was a coincidence; Shelby totally understood what I was saying! She turns and comes to the fence and I reassured her I would make sure she was coming home with me and then we headed up to the little sale barn to try and change the futures of some of these horses for the better.

The sale barn was fairly crowded considering that by the time the horses come through the weekly kill sale ring after the cattle, goats, sheep, etc, there are usually very few people there for the horses except for mostly the kill buyers that are there every week. I don’t usually sit down when I’m at this particular sale rescuing horses and often just stand against the wall in the entrance into the sale area. The sale had already begun by then and a few mare/baby pairs had gone through and unfortunately sold to the kill buyer because no one else bid on them. Shoot, there were 85-100 Shasta Herd horses, and then another 8-10 horses that had been dropped off by their owners just that morning, so this was exactly what I was afraid of and why I didn’t want to be there….that dang horse Shelby was the main reason I was there at that point, but I just knew I was going to leave that sale feeling very, very bad later because of all the horses we couldn’t rescue.

As the sale continues, we all notice that while at first the mare/baby pairs were coming through together, suddenly it changed to only the babies who were 4 months or older without their mothers. The babies were frantically looking around for their mothers and crying out, and I could hear the mares outside the sale barn screaming for their babies, but the sale proceeded with them separated and selling solo, with many of the babies never to be reunited with their mothers ever again. I bid on a newly weaned baby and was able to get him (we named him Bucky, but he is in a great home in SoCal now and is called Tugboat now! Lol), and I noticed other people that were there because of my Craigslist ads and postings on Facebook were also bidding too and actually had the winning bids in many cases (I believe when the dust settled at the end of the sale, people that came their because of my ad’s and postings had purchased between 10-15 horses….YAY!). Now however, it’s getting sadder and sadder by the second because many of the horses young and older are going to the 3 or 4 kill buyers who are at the sale. The bidding was somewhat confusing and erratic because some horses coming through were bid on by-the-pound, while others were bid on by the actual price like a regular horse sale. Then the auctioneer did something that sealed the fate for many if not most of the young stallions; he put them through the sale ring in a “lot” of 10-12 horses and where one bidder buys them all for the highest bid…..people stood up in the stands and protested that they were there to buy single horses (and they were also there because of my ads and posts that these stallions were awesome horses, well built and with a lot of potential for various types of riding and would be great GELDINGS), but it didn’t matter and they were run through in the big lot and a kill buyer bought them all…..from what I heard, they all shipped to Canada for slaughter within a few days of the sale.

Now we were all concerned for our chances of rescuing the Appaloosa mare and baby for Lisa, and also  Shelby for me if they were now going through in “lots”…..Laurie’s mare Bella had already gone through solo without her filly which Laurie had managed to be the winning bidder on the filly, but because the bidding kept switching back and forth, Laurie missed out on bidding and the mare was bought by a kill buyer…..Laurie was absolutely devastated! Remember everyone, these horses are only in the sale ring loose with no halters for anywhere from 10 seconds to maybe 1 minute usually, so it is very fast paced, the auctioneer is really going right along in the auctioneers sing-song “auctioneer-speak”, its loud, horses are whinnying, etc, so if you get confused, the horse is gone to someone else. I’m really watching for Shelby at this point because Shelby is what I call a “true bay” and she only has a slight feathery white mark on her fore head, (and funny enough, true bays with minimal white are probably my least favorite color of horse, but Shelby was special from the first time I met her, so color didn’t matter one bit), and there were quite a few true bay horses with minimal white, so it could be easy to miss her considering that although the horses have number tags on them, when they are loose in the ring, they are turning around, going back and forth, etc, and it’s hard to sight on the tag and read it, or, if their tag has fallen off before they come into the ring, a new tag called a “ring tag” is slapped on them from the end of a tagging pole and it is not the same number they had before, so now there is more potential confusion. Suddenly, 4 mares come into the ring altogether, and my heart sinks when I see that one of them is Shelby…..damn, I can’t afford all 4 horses, now what? The auctioneer begins, but then stops and asks if anyone wants to bid on any specific horses and I wave my number and say “yes” and indicate Shelby. Wow, this is good, until I realize that when the bidding begins, I obviously have at least 2 people bidding against me and they are both kill buyers as I later found out. So I’m bidding right along but it is getting confusing again on who has the high bid, but then as my friend Laurie later told me and I only vaguely remember, as Shelby was going back and forth with the other 3 mares in the chaos in the tiny ring, she suddenly stopped, stuck her nose through the bars at the top of the sale ring wall, looked straight at me, and whinnied as if to say “help me Laura”…..Laurie went on to say at that point, I guess I stepped forward to the rail, planted my feet, and just held my number up the whole time and indicated I was going to keep bidding and save my girl. It was all over pretty quickly after that, and as the 4 mares left the ring, I called out to Shelby “don’t worry, you’re safe now Girl”…….

After that, mares, yearlings, new weanlings, 2 and 3 year old fillies, colts and mares were coming through arbitrarily in “lots” of anywhere from 2-6 horses and also solo, and unfortunately, Lisa’s Appaloosa mare, whose baby we had already bought separate as Laurie had also done with her Paint mares baby, came through in a lot of 3 mares.  We didn’t even bid because the bidding went far too high for us. Now Lisa is standing there with her son who is crying and this has gone very wrong, very quickly because it was already bad enough her son was at the sale (and Lisa had never been to a kill sale before and didn’t know it was so nasty that she should not have brought her 9 year old son… it turns out now though, her son has turned into an advocate against horse slaughter and talks to everyone about the kill sale, how bad it is, and why horse slaughter needs to be banned, and in a minute you will read why her son was instrumental in rescuing Sadie), but now they were unable to rescue the baby’s Mama from probably going to slaughter because a kill buyer had bought all 3 mares.

Finally, the sale ends and people are coming up to me asking what they should do if they want to try to buy a horse they want from one of the kill buyers. I indicated that they should go to whatever kill buyer purchased the horse they wanted and speak to them about buying the horse. However, they would have to be expecting to pay more than when they went through the sale; basically there is what I call “kill sale price” and then there is “kill buyer or feedlot price” because unlike a car, for horses that are good candidates for slaughter, their value increases the moment a kill buyer buys them because they are now in “the slaughter pipeline” and it costs more to buy them out of it……horse slaughter is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States alone, so it “costs to rescue” them from that pipeline.

Both Lisa and Laurie approached the kill buyer who had bought both of the mares they wanted….because of that, our story turns from the negative to the positive yet again……Lisa was able to purchase Sadie from the kill buyer that night and a big part of the pricing she got is because the kill buyer has a real soft-spot for children so they didn’t charge nearly what that mare was worth at slaughter pricing, and Laurie was told to call the kill buyer the next day (and Laurie’s mare weighs over 1300#, so a prime candidate for slaughter), but Laurie being a tenacious soul, called the kill buyer right after they left the sale yard, and went and met with them at a restaurant and was able to arrange to buy Bella.

The reason this interaction with Lisa, Laurie and the kill buyer became far more positive is that it put me in touch with the kill buyer and we were able to figure out how to work together on all the horses we wanted to rescue, and because of that, all of the horses found homes with private party homes over a period of a month.  We have since then developed a relationship where I am allowed to come on to the feedlot, take photos and videos, and rescue them one-by-one into private party homes, and the kill buyer actually helps us by being their for brand inspections and such…….rescued horses are now, or will be going to, California, Wyoming, South Carolina, Virginia and of course, also Nevada. 

Being civil, compromising, working together and not trying to change each others minds in regard to horse slaughter, which could/would just produce bad feelings where we wouldn’t be able to interact anymore, is definitely the reason why well over 100 horses are alive today and in wonderful, loving homes. 

Sadie is at my house, where Lisa now keeps the 7 (!) horses she has rescued and has gone from being a horse-less “Soccer Mom” to the horse Guardian of many, and Laurie has her sweet Bella and her beautiful black and white Paint filly….and by-the-way, Bella rides like a dream too!

As for my Shelby-Girl, she is my wise and intelligent friend who I think knows a lot more about what really happened than she is saying……I think a higher power worked through Shelby and I, and we were both connected totally to one another from the moment we met and were able to go forward and help other horses and people to connect in love too. 

You can read more about what became known as The Shasta Horse Rescue” on Facebook at “Quarter Horse Rescue" and also on our website at (Below)….also, the continuing stories of the Shasta Herd Horses and the Kill Pen 10 + 7 Horses are on Facebook at “(Shasta QH Herd"

For more information on our continuing one-by-one horse rescues into private homes from the feedlot in Fallon, Nevada, please visit us and “Like” us on Facebook at The Starlight Sanctuary. Our email address is For information on my background with horses, please visit my informational Starwood Farm website at The first video I made at the Fallon Livestock Exchange sale yard 2 days before the sale: 

Thank you for caring everyone and being the Guardians and advocates for these magnificent creatures that we call horses, and that I think of as the beings that keep humans sane in a sometimes what seems insane world.

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 The Starlight Sanctuary is a 501c3

November 13, 2012--

The Shasta Horse and Kill Pen 10 + 7 Rescue Story – 11-12-12

By: Laura Bell

The rescue that began on October 5th with what came to be known as the “Shasta Horses Rescue” and also “The Kill Pen 10 + 7 Horses Rescue” is finally coming to a close; ultimate count of horses rescued and into either private party homes and/or foster homes is 84+; that includes the horses I was able to facilitate being bought/rescued at the actual kill sale on October 9th, the private party buyers who came to the kill sale who normally never attend the ugly kill sales but who came because of the Craigslist ads I ran leading up to the sale, after-the-kill-sale that evening and the next morning while the horses bought by the kill buyer were still at the sale yard, and then also for the next month, the Shasta Horses who had been taken to the feedlot, and the kill pen horses who were awaiting shipment to slaughter, and finally, a badly deformed little stallion named Mr. Darcy who looks like he was kicked in the mouth, broke his jaw and it was never treated – we put him on the last trailer load going to SoCal and he is on his way to treatment and sanctuary.                                                                                                                             Regarding the Kill Pen 10 + 7 Horses; those were the horses who had either been purchased by the kill buyer at the kill sales on Tuesday and/or Wednesday in Fallon, Nevada, or they were horses that had been dropped off at the feedlot…..due to the fact that we had managed to rescue ALL of the Shasta Horses and there would be NO shipment of horses to slaughter on October 31st, (in other words, there was NOT “a full load” weight-wise), I had gotten permission from the kill buyer to try and rescue the kill pen horses, which began with 10 of them, but by the very next day, there were 7 more in the kill pens, and who I felt had gotten a 1 week “reprieve” and “stay of execution” because of the rescue of the 44 Shasta Horses which would have been the bulk of the load for shipment to slaughter in Canada on October 31st.

What was always unusual about this rescue was that MOST of the horses were rescued/bought by private party homes, or were sponsored by someone donating money for rescue and either went to permanent homes, or were/are being fostered by individuals until forever homes are secured. In other words, although I had generous donors who between two to three of them would have rescued/bought all 44 of the Shasta Horses, I personally had no place to take that many horses, or the means to feed all of them, so I decided this rescue had to be done another way that was more time and money intensive, and also more stressful; my goal became to rescue the horses 1 horse at a time……this did keep them in danger of shipping to slaughter, however, the kill buyer worked with me every step of the way and would let me know when their boss was asking where the horses they had purchased were (why they weren’t shipping from the feedlot on Wednesdays to slaughter), and I would use either my husbands and mine own personal money and/or donation money to buy/rescue anywhere from 1 to 5 horses, and then leave them at the feedlot to keep them in the “adoption pool” so that would-be adopters/rescuers had access to the horses to rescue/buy…..the downside to this was that as soon as I purchased the horse or horses, the “clock started ticking” on their feed bill at the feedlot (I have ultimately been left with a $2800 feed bill at the feedlot that I have to pay), however, the “up-side” was that it allowed for this rescue to be more unique and done differently than most “big” rescues in that “regular people” were participating as true rescuers working against a time-crunch, utilizing massive social media interaction, word-of-mouth, networking and organizing in a broad spectrum of communication that actually drew people together with a common goal from many different walks of life; THAT goal was to rescue as many horses as possible from the horror of slaughter and get them into personal homes, either permanent and/or foster homes.

The more typical, and in many ways, more practical way of staging a rescue of this many horses, is for a rescue to come in with more money at their disposal to buy/rescue ALL of the horses, thus removing them from danger of going to slaughter, take the horses to a central location, evaluate and maintain them, and then begin the adoption procedures with all of the horses safe from slaughter when they are ALL purchased. In this instance, I never had the backing of enough money to rescue/buy all of the horses AND also have a place to take them AND the means to maintain and feed them. On at least 2 occasions, I was going to have to make the dreaded trip to the feedlot and start making “life and death” decisions of choosing which horses I could afford to buy with personal and/or donation money and also maintain until adoptive homes could be found, and which horses would have to be sacrificed to slaughter in Canada.

Curiously, I never did get much, if any help from local rescues, although, there were some donations from members of local rescues……the help mostly came from a few out-of-area rescues, and also from A LOT of individuals from all over the country, and also Internationally, networking through Facebook, visiting our website at for updates on our rescue efforts, to donate, to view videos and photos, etc.

I’ve never seen anything like this rescue of this size where the kill buyer actually worked with me there at the feedlot and allowed and helped me evaluate A LOT of horses, handle them, take photos and videos, etc……it shows that when people come together and compromise while still receiving what they want and need to receive (rescuers being able to buy/rescue horses, and the kill buyer spending a lot more time than they would normally have too if they simply shipped the horses, but still being able to make the money for the horses even though they had to spend a lot more time interacting with me and the horses), we can accomplish really remarkable things and do NOT have to always be combative and at odds with one another… this unique rescue, everyone got what they wanted through working together; rescuers rescued horses, horses still have their lives and really good homes with people who love them, and the kill buyer satisfied their boss by being paid for the horses and were also able to “do a good thing” and not have horses shipped to slaughter.

Yes, the rescue effort took over a month and it was VERY stressful a number of times when it looked like as many as could be rescued had been rescued and the rest were going to ship…..however, every single time the outcome for some of the horses appeared grim, people rallied yet again and charged forward with networking and more people from across the United States and also from other countries stepped-up yet again until ALL of the Shasta Horses and ALL of the Kill Pen 10 + 7 Horses, and now also the deformed stallion Mr. Darcy, were/are SAFE.

I can’t even express how grateful I am to so many people for all the help that was given; a handful of people were there for me from beginning to end and offered a lot of support when I was stressed to almost my limit regarding letting some horses go; my husband Rick, my friend Laurie, Lisa V. from Reno, Sarah in Oregon, Polly in Virginia, Barbara from Kentucky, Lisa G. from South Carolina, Karen from Silver Springs, a couple of really nice people in Texas, Colette and Lisa B. from Tobey’s Legacy in California, Shannon from the Nevada Virginia Range wild horse rescue Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, Dana from Mississippi…..and of course I and the horses are eternally grateful for everyone that heard what was happening and how these horses needed help at all times, so when some people had to resume and return to their “normal” lives, other people stepped-up and took up the fight; you are all heros in my book. In the forefront of leading the social media campaign was Romney from Tobey’s Legacy; she is an absolute wizard when it comes to putting the social media machine to work, and had to learn “horse lingo” quickly in terms of colors of horses, characteristics, sizes, markings, types of training, etc….really amazing what she did with that and how quickly she got up to speed on information that some people who have been decades long horse people don’t even know. And finally, we had what I called “the San Diego” contingent of rescuers, and when it was apparent that approx. 30 horses were needing to be transported to their new homes in So. California, Teri C., who at that point didn’t even have a horse to transport to CA (but ultimately ended up with a cute-as-a-button dark grey Arabian mare she named Serendipity), took over the organizing of transporting those horses…..all things considered and taking into account the logistics of organizing several trucks and trailers to make the trip 10-12 hours away to the feedlot in Northern Nevada, I would say that the efforts of we people up here, and the California folks went very smoothly with all horses arriving safely in their new homes. Several horses also went to Central CA (Annie T. with two awesome 2 year old “boy-boys”) and several went to Northern CA as well.

We are still gratefully accepting donations at our website at to HELP (!) pay for HAY/FEED, supplements, dewormers, farrier services, and also other supplies and services for the horses my husband Rick and I have here at our sanctuary; many that I rescued will reside here with us for the rest of their lives because of “issues” that made them not as easily adoptable. I tried to take these horses “out of the mix” of the adoption pool so people wouldn’t have to worry about what would happen for instance to the young Appaloosa broodmare who was severely lame in both front hooves, or the high-strung Indian Reservation mare who ended up in the kill pen and I bought her out of there with $500 cash, or the pushy and somewhat aggressive big 3 year old gelding that is a Shasta Horse that I rescued back out of the kill pen for $700 cash after he was put in there to “make a full load” going to slaughter, etc; they are safe here with us at The Starlight Sanctuary. We do have a few that I will carefully find “feed lease” homes for where I retain ownership for at least 1 year and/or indefinitely.

I just feel this rescue was “meant to be” because one aspect was key to being able to go forward with this rescue and that was the fact that we’d been waiting for over a year for our 501c3 filing to be approved by the IRS and just 5 days before I noticed those 85-100 (Shasta) horses at the kill sale yard on October 5th (the original video I took on October 6, 2012 of what became known as the Shasta Horses - and pursued finding out where they came from and then trying to rescue them, our Approval Letter arrived; without that approval, I would have been able to perhaps personally rescue 3-5 horses, but NOT 80+ altogether because I would not have felt ethically responsible asking for help and donations without our 501c3 approval in place.

To follow what’s going on with the Shasta Horses and also the Kill Pen 10 + 7 Horses, you can visit the Facebook page at For a timeline on what happened with the rescue about 2 weeks after I began rescuing horses, please visit

And then of course we also have links to videos, photos, donation information, etc on our website at and will be working on our Facebook page at The Starlight Sanctuary to bring it current.

For further information on how you can help with our continuing rescue efforts of these horses, and also other horses that go through the weekly kill sales on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Fallon, Nevada and/or who are at the feedlot awaiting shipping to slaughter in Canada, please our website at and/or email Laura Bell at The Starlight Sanctuary at



November 9, 2012------The "Shasta Horse" and "Kill Pen 10 + 7" Rescues Saga continues!

Well, we did it everyone........with A LOT of help from people all over the United States, and even Internationally, WE managed to rescue ALL of the Shasta Horses at the feedlot AND 17 horses in the kill pens! 

 If you read below, once we were able to rescue all 44 of the Shasta Horses at the feedlot, there was NOT going to be a shipment of horses going to slaughter on October 31st because there was not a FULL weight load of horses standing in the kill pen.......once I found that out, and even though I was completely mentally and physically almost worn out and I know you all were too, I looked at those beautiful horses in the kill pens and asked the kill buyer if I could photograph and video them and see if we could rescue them too. The kill buyer was working with me on this throughout the whole feedlot rescue which began the day after the kill sale the Shasta Horses went through on October 10th, so I rallied the troops, suggested that I'd like MORE HELP, and we should rescue as many as we could.

I KNOW people were elated about the Shasta Horses all being rescued, and I also know that my suggestion of rescuing more horses was like a bucket-full of ice cold water on everyones heads, however, people recovered quickly and were in rescue over-drive within 1 day.

We had some real beauties in the kill pen, both trained and untrained, and we also had some that were a bit older, or more plain, or slightly lame, etc......didn't matter.....I haltered the ones I could, rode 4 or 5 horses to see what they knew, photographed them and made movies of them, and now every, single one of the 17 kill pen horses were rescued as well...... :-)

We had the Arabian-girls who came in together and were going to face death at slaughter together in Canada; kind of thin, one brown and one dappled grey/white, both nice movers, and both were somewhat evasive.....a kind soul named JoAnna will be taking them to live at her place in So. CA and will nuture them back to trusting that they are in "a good place".....then we have the cute dark grey Arabian mare that had sustained a deep, jagged laceration under her jaw at the kill sale yard after the sale.....very friendly little mare, quite beautiful, lovely conformation, and a super nice mover.....she is now living down near San Diego with a gal named Teri who has already gotten the vet out to treat the laceration, vaccinate the mare (named Serendipidy because Teri wasn't actually looking for another horse and was our volunteer that organized the San Diego contingent of people who ended up transporting over 30 horses down their direction to their wonderful new homes).....then we also had "Shasta", a gorgeous chestnut with socks and blaze mare who a great lady named Eva "bailed" from the kill pen....turns out that Shasta appears to be a former cutting horse who rides like a dream! I'm going to try and get more information from the kill buyer to find out more history if possible because at some point in her life, Shasta has "been there, done that" in cutting and perhaps reining too. We also have the older red dun ranch horse that is going to one of my students to teach the family to interact with horses, be safe, learn to ride, etc, the other bay ranch horse whose ground manners were exceptional but he needed mental kindness and TLC to over come his distrust of humans as being matter of fact and using him as a "work vehicle" and nothing more, the big black Tennessee Walking Horse gelding with the big scar on his hind leg but came in wearing shoes all around and whom is going to be my personal "fun" riding horse named "Royal" (he is a kick-in-the-pants fun horse to ride, and was also following me, resting his chin on the top of my head, and generally acting like we already knew one another! lol).....and the list goes on!

There are many more horses that were rescued in the Phase II rescue of the "Kill Pen 10 + 7" rescue, so please visit our original Facebook rescue page at Quarter Horse Rescue, and also our follow-up page at Shasta QH Herd to follow what everyone is doing with their wonderful new horses.......

Below is somewhat of an explanation of how this rescue worked, why I was so stressed throughout the whole month-long fight to rescue these beautiful horses, and why this rescue was/is so UNIQUE:

I began rescuing horses from the feedlot on October 10th, the day after the kill sale they went through.....I had actually already bought several (10) through the sale, but some that I wanted to rescue/buy went through in "lots" of anywhere from 3 to 12 horses all together in the tiny sale ring at the really ugly sale, so I couldn't buy all the horses in the lot and had to buy them from the kill buyer that night after the sale and the next day while they were still at the sale yard......the killbuyer and I got to talking about the fact I'd like to rescue/buy more horses, but I'd need some time to start collecting donations.....they said I could come to the feedlot, look at the horses, handle the ones I could, photograph and video-tape them and see what I could do, HOWEVER, although not shipping that Wednesday, the 10th, they would ship in bulk beginning the next Wednesday, October 17th.....not much time, but I figured we'd rescue as many as we could. I worked as fast as I could with a friend of mine named Laurie, but we had no other help up here in Nevada, (not even from other rescues up here....the total lack of interest from the rescues is still a mystery to me....but either way, it all worked out in the end).

 My husband has been nice enough to work double time in our business working on foreclosed homes since this all began on October 5th when I first saw the Shasta Horses at the sale yard (and he had to hire 2 big, strong young guys to do the work I normally do.....who says being over 50 slows a person down? lol) and then there was "the soccor mom" (as she describes herself) who had never owned horses, but who now owns 2 mares with 2 babies, the red dun gelding, and an older Arabian gelding I bought out of the kill pen 3 weeks ago, and she also helped by being there to rescue one or two more if I needed her help.

Every other form of help has come from out-of-area rescuers across the country in Virginia, New York City, Mississippi, Texas, Oregon, Kentuckey, South Carolina, California, Wyoming, and MANY other states too, and also as far away as the Netherlands!

What nobody really knows though is that holding the horses back from shipping to slaughter costs....when the killbuyer would let me know that their boss (the slaughterhouse) who had bought the horses from the kill sale in the first place was making noises like "wheres the horses we bought at that sale" (and we have 2 weekly kill sales in Fallon, Nevada--every Tuesday at one sale yard, and every Wednesday at another, and the kill buyer has to attend both for their boss), I'd have to buy anywhere from 2 to 6 horses to satisfy the boss and gain more time....however, as soon as I bought the horses, "the clock started" on me paying for feed because I was leaving the horses there so they stayed in the adoption pool, and also because I had no where to put 44 horses more. At the very start of this rescue, I took the horses with any "issues" that I felt would make them difficult, unsafe, their future prospects even if adopted could be negative, etc, out of the mix by buying them so they could come live at our rescue where these are the types of horses we've been rescuing for over 20 years......there is the lame broodmare with her baby who although is more sound than when she came to the feedlot, she will probably never be 100%, then there is the Indian Reservation mare who was very high-strung, scared, erratic in her behavior and was mowing down her own baby to get away from humans (she's actually calmed down A LOT at our place and although she will never be a riding horse, without even working with her at all, I can now walk to within 5' of her and only then does she walk away, but doesn't panic and run as she was doing at the feedlot), I also bought the older sway-backed broodmare, the big 3 year old gelding I named Moose and who doesn't know it yet because he's such a big bruiser "smarty pants", but we are going to be the very best of friends LOL, and also the only halter broke Arabian mares from the kill pens who were probably only ever shown at halter and were never trained to ride and are older now and most likely would not be good mounts......all of these horses are very nice, however, they had "deficits" that made them not so adoptable and/or not safe and they will live their lives out at our sanctuary or perhaps will go out on long term feed leases as companion horses with a few of them. 

I want everyone to know though that THIS was a VERY UNIQUE rescue you were all a part of for the simple reason that most big rescues efforts like this are done by the rescue having wealthy donors who buy all the horses, they move them to a safe location, and then adopt them out from there at their leisure and the horses are safe.....WE ALL did not have that luxery of time and safety, and NONE of these horses was safe until I bought them, but since I couldn't afford to buy them all, and had no where to take them all if I did, all of you "regular people"--in other words, the 99%-stepped up and got the rescue machine going strong and YOU ALL rescued ALL OF THESE HORSES.....thats the word we need to get out there; that if "regular people" join together in unity for a single goal, WE ALL can accomplish awesome things....sure, it costs us some money, and even though I had to sell my deceased Mom's jewelry to get more money to keep going until more donations came in, it is totally worth it to me because afterall, jewelry is a "thing", but a horse is a beautiful living being that should NEVER have to face horrific death at slaughter.

So yes, there are some more bills to pay that I promised the kill buyer in the beginning would be paid (and other rescues have stiffed them for the feed, that's why they do not even allow "rescue people" on the feedlot anymore), and because they will be paid everything I promised, going forward, we will have the opportunity to rescue more horses....believe me everyone, it is far easier for the kill buyer to simply ship these horses and not have to be there to help me handle horses, and be there for us to arrange to pick horses up, and have to feed all the horses when more are always coming in, etc.....the fact is though that the kill buyer doesn't want to ship every horse that comes through if some can be rescued and they and their boss still get in this case on this unique big rescue, it was a unified effort of people that are usually on opposing sides, all working TOGETHER to rescue horses....

I'm really proud of everyone for the amount of support you all showed and whether you actually have a horse or not....we all are "the regular people" (and I never say "average" because I don't think any of us are just "average") who once united are pretty much unstoppable in our abilities to get things done! Thanks Again and ALL of the horses thank you too for saving their lives!"


Donations are still being gladly accepted by clicking on the DONATE button at the top of this page, or please contact me for my mailing address for checks or money orders......I have a monsterously BIG feed bill at the feedlot, and we are also still trying to get 2 horses to their new home in Wyoming to live with a nice family with kids who will spoil these 2 horses the rest of their lives.....

THANK YOU for any and all help you can offer so we can wrap this rescue up and call it "GOOD"!


October 31, 2012--1:50 AM

The good news just keeps coming in!--

I went over to the kill buyer's on Tuesday early afternoon and PAID BAIL ON ALL OF THE SHASTA HORSES--Not one of them is going to slaughter and instead, they will all be going to wonderful new homes in Nevada, California, Wyoming and also clear on the East Coast to Virginia!

A whole worldwide community of concerned horse and animal lovers pulled together and through donations, networking, emailing, telephone calls, Facebook, and good old fashioned word-of-mouth, WE rescued every, single Shasta Horse from certain death at slaughter in Canada. Anyone that has been following this can visit to continue to read about the saga and rescue of the Shasta, CA Horses......and now for our NEW development.........

Because ALL 44 of the Shasta Horses who were at the feedlot after the kill sale (and I have another 18 that were never at the feedlot that myself and some friends and students either bought through the kill sale itself and/or purchased from the kill buyer because the horses went through in "lots" where we couldn't afford to buy every horse in the "lot") are SAFE and will be traveling to their new homes beginning on Friday, November 2nd, there is NOT a truck leaving from the feedlot today, October 31st because there are not enough horses in the "kill pen" to make up a full load to go to now the 10 horses that are in the kill pen have gotten a 1 week reprieve from being shipped to slaughter....we are now doing what I call "the rescue after the rescue Phase II" and are attempting to rescue/buy as many of the horses in the kill pen as possible who WILL ship to Canada next Wednesday, November 7th.

 These are some super nice horses everyone, including an approx. 18 year old trained Thoroughbred gelding who works on the flat, he jumps and he is QUIET and SOUND too. There are also a couple of nice ranch horses that probably just couldn't do the hard ranch work anymore, two 10-12 year old Arabian mares that ride but were thin when dropped off at the feedlot but are putting on weight quickly, a NICE Appaloosa gelding who pretty much does it all, he rides well for any level of rider, he's sound and other than a tail that someone cut, he's quite handsome in an Appaloosa sort of way.

Photos of these horses are also on the Facebook page at, so please check them out and if you see a horse or horses you'd either like to rescue and bring home, or if you just want to help, please click on the "Donate" button above, or you can email to to get an address to send checks. We'd also appreciate everyone networking the heck out of these horses because although they have gotten a 1 week reprieve from shipping, there most likely WILL be a full load by next Wednesday and these and other horses will ship to slaughter.

I normally try NOT to look at the horses in the kill pen when I've been going to the feedlot for the past 3 weeks to get more photos and videos of the Shasta Horses because it just makes me feel bad that I can't save those horses.....however, I'm taking this as "a sign" that not only have WE done what I thought was pretty near impossible because of the short warning regarding the Shasta Horses going through the kill sale and having very limited funds and WE rescued every, single one of them anyway, but now these horses won't be leaving later this morning on their way to a horrific death..........

PLEASE help us rescue as many of these horses in the kill pen as possible in this "rescue after the rescue" and maybe, just maybe, we can show the WORLD that anything is possible when people come together and work in harmony for a common cause....I BELIEVE we can rescue many, if not all of these "kill pen horses" who are in grave danger and the clock is now ticking for their departure to Canada next Wednesday.....let's see if we can give them a permanent reprieve where no horses currently at the feedlot will lose their lives to slaughter and instead will be in awesome new homes!



October 29, 2012--9:24 AM-

Thank you to Janice for reminding me to update the Shasta Horses Fallon Feedlot everyone might imagine, it has been really stressful and hectic since I first saw these horses on October 5th over at the Fallon Livestock Exchange kill sale yard. There have been A LOT of major UP'S and DOWNS throughout....many times I thought we were doing great and they'd all be safe only to have my hopes dashed 1 hour later. You know it's pretty bad when you have a husband who always is telling you how beautiful you look (which I'm not, but it's still nice when he says it! lol) say "Laura, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but you look like hell"....guess I was looking pretty worn out when he said that....:-(

Here's where we're at: They are all safe as of this morning and no one is leaving on the truck to Canada on Wednesday fact, there are other horses in the kill pen NOT associated with the Shasta Horses even as I write this and they may end up with a reprieve for a week of shipping because I don't think there is a full load to ship at this point....if that is the case, I'm going to ask the kill buyer about those horses and see if there are any that can be rescued (some good looking horses in the kill pen) and are only going because they need the weight for loads....maybe those horses can have a permanent reprieve from ever going to slaughter.....I'll keep everyone posted on this.....

 For a Facebook timeline of what has been going on, please visit the Facebook page that was begun by a super nice gal named Romney:

 Some of the info on the Facebook page is not correct in that some horses are not technically rescued by individuals and will be coming home with me and then I will find homes for them, however, none of the Shasta Horses will be shipping to slaughter.....thank you EVERYONE for all of your help and support.....

I'm starting what I call "the rescue after the rescue" phase because I believe that it often is over-looked that its not just all about rescuing horses from slaughter in the here-and-now, we also have to follow-through and follow up on what happens to the horses that are adopted out to folks who couldn't out-right pay for the horse, but can provide a good home and maintenance....this is where my 1 year feed lease contract comes in, so I will be sending that out to everyone that will be taking a horse that they didn't bail themselves and unless I get back a signed contract with very stringent rules to follow in terms of me receiving photos any time I ask for them, speaking with the peoples vet if I want to, stopping by to see the horse if I'm in the area, etc, then they will NOT get the horse.

I stopped taking donations thru PayPal from people who are actually taking a horse home and were paying bail because there is too much lag-time on transferring the money from PayPal to my bank, however, I would still greatly appreciate if people could donate through PayPal on my website for feed, gas money that I'm paying to people that are hauling horses to their new homes, dewormers for the ones I brought home, etc. 

Every little bit helps when we're dealing with this number of horses in the whole rescue, and also the 23 extra mouths to feed that I have/or will have here at the sanctuary until I can place more horses in local homes where I can monitor them.

Thanks again everyone and I will post more as the Shasta Horses start leaving for their wonderful new homes!

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:10 AM

This will be brief for right now so I can get a few hours sleep: the Shasta, CA horses, all of them (even the big, brown gelding who had been moved to the kill pen), are safe until next Monday, October 29th end of day.......I bought 7 more horses last night, and with those, and also so many people stepping-up and donating to rescue horses, and many people now seeing an opportunity to not only help these horses, but also take home a super nice horse or horses, the kill buyer sees we are trying our best from all over the country and kept these horses out of the kill pen (except the brown gelding who is being put back in the gelding pen this morning and is safe once again)....unfortunately, for every one of these horses that doesn't go, other horses do.....some that will go were horses that were dropped off over the weekend and yesterday as "slaughter only", which means that similar to a person dropping off a dog at the vets and saying "put them to sleep" even if relatively healthy, these horses may or may not have severe issues but the kill buyer ships them at the owners request.  I'll write more later, but I was told that the remainder of the Shasta, CA horses that are not sold/rescued by close of day next Monday will be examined by the vet and paperwork done next Tuesday and they will ship to Canada on Wednesday, October 31st.

We're doing great everyone, but there are still a lot more horses to rescue.....I did buy two horses yesterday that I feel would not find homes; one because of lameness, and the other one because of a wound that will take a long while to heal and will leave a lump of scar tissue on the horses joint; these horses will reside at The Starlight Sanctuary most likely permanently. Every, other horse is in fine condition and there are a lot of really nice horses to choose from. I'm also updating the photo section with descriptions and pricing for each horse in a photo, so check back this afternoon and more information will be available for individual horses.

Thank you to everyone who is networking, donating, buying/rescuing a horse or horses for themselves, etc.....WE are doing more than I thought would happen when this whole thing started on October 5th, the Friday preceeding the sale on October 9th and I'm becoming cautiously hopeful that between all of us, we WILL save all of these beautiful horses! :-)

 Monday, October 22, 2012 - 2:15 AM -Recent Update

We went back out to the killbuyers on Saturday and were there for several hours making a list of all of the horses in danger of going to slaughter beginning on Wednesday, October 24th, and then again on Wednesday, October 31st.

These are mare with baby pairs, weanlings, yearlings, 2 and 3 year olds, some young geldings, a few young stallions, and also adult mares.

We had hopes to rescue them all, but unfortunately, some of the other rescues offer false hope and then pull out of the rescue when they can't mark the horses prices higher; basically, we've lost valuable time 2 times now because rescues have said they will do things that they don't end up doing, so I've pretty much given up on the other rescues and will pray for more help from "regular" horse lovers. 

 I'm turning to either the people who want to rescue/buy a horse outright and take it home, rescue/buy a horse and leave the horse with me (Laura Bell) to put some training on and then take their new horse home, or people can make a donation via PayPal or check-by-mail (email me for our mailing address) that will hopefully enable us to rescue more horses before its too late.

These are really beautiful horses, and ideally, people will want to rescue/buy a horse or horses, and we will help them acquire a really super horse. And no, we are not scamming people, we are NOT making a living off of rescue (my husband and I each work full time in our foreclosed home clean-up business), we are NOT marking horses up like what horse traders do, etc....

We are also still accepting donations for us to rescue more horses and bring them back to our rescue where we will then screen good homes on a feed lease contract where ownership is not transferred for a year.

Here's a video of the 2 and 3 year old gelding pen with some very handsome young geldings:

Any donations, whether small or large are being gratefully accepted because it would be a crying shame if ANY of these horses lost their lives to inhumane horse slaughter.

Email me at with any questions or for further information on how you can help through networking on Facebook, blogs, lists and groups, emails, phone calls, etc.

Thanks everyone, we really appreciate any and all help you can offer!


 The Starlight Sanctuary is a 501c3


Friday, 10/19/12 -  9:55 PM – Recent Update!

We are planning to go to the dealer/killbuyer’s facility tomorrow afternoon after 1 PM to begin bringing together the pieces of this rescue effort as the shipping to slaughter dates draw closer. The dealer/KB HAS been exceptionally accomodating in allowing us to go to their property to video, photograph, and generally look at horses....we DO appreciate that a lot.

Our plan tomorrow is to make a list of ALL of the horses that are in jeopardy of being shipped to slaughter on either Wednesday, October 24th or Wednesday, October 31st. We will be making a list of all the horses prices, breeds, colors, markings, approx. age, sex, height, any scars or brands, conformation characteristics, disposition, can they be handled/haltered, move them around to check for soundness and what type of movement they have, etc.

While we are there, if anyone has any specific questions in regard to specific horses that they are interested in, please feel free to call Laura Bell at 775-223-9620 or email to If I respond to you via email, the response will come from my business email because that is the account on my Droid.

When we began, our dreams did not really include rescuing all of the horses because we couldn’t let our hopes get too high dealing with the chaos and ugliness of the kill sale, and then going to the KB's facility knowing many of the horses would be leaving on a truck bound for Canada because there were/are just so many and we were only 3 people working on this….. however, when horse and animal lovers come together and work in harmony toward a common goal of rescuing horses from INHUMANE SLAUGHTER, truly amazing things can and do happen…..we’re really starting to believe that ALL of these horses WILL be brought to safety either at The Starlight Sanctuary or at a forever home with people they can call their very own.

We have also already seen a dramatic and positive change in each and every one of the 15 horses (soon to be 17, and probably more) we have brought to The Starlight Sanctuary and they seem to KNOW that they are safe….these mares and babies, and the grey Arabian-cross gelding whinny and nicker at me when I come out the door of my house, they leave their food for scratches in favorite places, they lay flat out and sun-bathe totally relaxed with not a care in the world even though we live in the Nevada desert surrounded by sagebrush. And although they do seem grateful for being rescued, we humans are the fortunate ones for being put in this place, at this time, to help all of these magical beings.

Our major goal is to have people bring the horses that really “speak” to them from the photos and videos home to live….however, we also know that is not possible for many people, so donations are still being gratefully accepted to provide for the horses needs that will be residing at The Starlight Sanctuary for an indeterminate length of time until the horses “very own people” can be found.

Thank you each and every one of you for all of your unselfish help with keeping these horses from going on the horrific trip to inhumane slaughter…..NO horse should ever leave this world with that kind of suffering, and should always experience a dignified death surrounded by loving humans and their animal friends and family.

So, the “push” is on to keep any horses from the Shasta, CA ranch from shipping to slaughter on October 24th or October 31st, and we are actually beginning to believe that great dreams do come true!

Do NOT hesitate to contact me tomorrow afternoon when I am at the KB's facility if you have ANY questions about ANY of the horses because every horse deserves a good person to call their very own, and every human NEEDS a special horse.......

  The Starlight Sanctuary is a 501c3

Most Recent Videos taken 10-17-2012 of all available horses:

Also taken 10-17-2012 were still Photos and have been uploaded 


10-18-2012 UPDATE from 10-09-2012 FALLON SALE HORSES

On-Going Rescue of the Shasta, CA ranch horses who went through the kill sale at the Fallon Livestock Exchange sale on October 9, 2012:

Thank you to everyone who donated to help buy/rescue some of these horses; we have so far rescued/bought 17 horses, including 5 mare/baby pairs, but the links to these videos I took yesterday at the kill buyers are of ALL of the horses at the kill buyers place who will begin shipping to slaughter on October 24th, and that includes the babies and weanlings too.
I give descriptions of all the horses I am videoing and give their status too. These are an awesome bunch of horses, and ALL of the mares with and without babies except for the Indian Reservation mare who is just plain scared out of her mind, are halter broke, lead well, we can groom them and handle their feet, and I suspect a few even ride....true quality horses of Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Appaloosa breeding, that came off a ranch near Shasta, CA and were used as breeding stock most likely for ranch horses on a large acreage ranch....both owners are now deceased, so the Estate sent these horses to the Fallon Livestock Exchange kill sale where they went through on October 9th. I spotted them at the sale yard on Friday, October 5th and began investigating who the horses were and where they came from and then began the rescue.
Just so everyone knows, I am holding enough money back of my own and also from donations for feed, dewormers, etc, so no worries that they will not be taken care of if I rescue them...and .while we can't rescue them all, the ones we do rescue will be alive instead of being slaughtered, and I will make sure we find great homes for them too.
Please circulate the links and description of what this rescue is all about because there are still so many really great horses that NEED to be rescued and I will only give up when they are all either rescued or they have been shipped to slaughter.
We are a small rescue in terms of manpower and only 3 of us have been involved in this rescue; myself, my husband Rick and our friend Laurie, and not getting much sleep, are stressed to the max, but it is a labor-of-love because we *know* a lot of those horses at the kill buyers now and want to help them until we can't anymore.....we do also have two wonderful business women who have really helped network this rescue, have donated, etc and that would be Lisa and Sarah.
In addition to that though, you ALL have helped tremendously with networking, "Sharing", donating and everything else, so a big THANK YOU to ALL that have helped us! :-)
.All of these videos that these are the links for are the Shasta, CA ranch horses which will be going to slaughter on Wednesday, October 24th. There are a few horses in the videos that are also kill horses that need rescuing if they are in the same pens with the Shasta horses, but most are the horses that are still included in the rescue I've been focused on.
ALL of these horses are scheduled to begin shipping to slaughter in Canada beginning next week on Wednesday, October 24th, but I will continue our rescue efforts until there is no more hope of rescuing them because they have shipped to slaughter.
I also found out that on Monday or Tuesday, the rescue that had said they were buying those mare and foal pairs where the foals are only about 3-4 months old, and were supposed to also rescue some weanlings, backed-out and aren't saving them, so they are now also going to be shipped to slaughter, even the babies because of the delicacy called "filet of foal", so just like veal in cattle......DISGUSTINGLY BARBARIC!
ALL of the weanlings are also being shipped to slaughter beginning next Wednesday, October 24th, but they may also be held back a little to give me a chance to buy them (they're only $100!) and/or find people who want to buy them.....there are some VERY NICE weanlings, so I'm already going to buy 3 or 4 of them to keep them safe, and also have a woman who the kill buyer gave her my number to help her select one even though they are the kill buyers horses....the kill buyer really is trying to work with us on these, so I'm keeping my cool through all this even though its really making me sad about all the horses being in jeopardy.....and I'm really mad at that rescue for saying they were rescuing horses and now they aren't because I would have been pushing them last week instead of saying they were safe on the video.........seriously, we've rescued 15 horses already, put I may have actually re-thought the palomino mare with "issues" rescue (I know that may sound harsh, but a horse that will go on to be productive would be a better rescue if I had to choose) that will live here the rest of her life in exchange for rescuing a mare/baby pair that now may die horrible deaths just because a so-called "rescue" didn't have the compassion to do what they said they'd do..

This mare had been going out on the shipment to slaughter on 10/17, but I was able to keep her off the truck, put her back with her baby and this is a video right before we jump her into my trailer to take the two home.
Please everyone, send this whole email/post out to everywhere you can think of so a lot of people will watch these videos and perhaps either will buy a horse for themselves, will donate so I can rescue them, and/or "Share" and network these horses far and wide.....I'm thinking Oprah could just buy them all, just pay only for their feed at my place and I WILL find them awesome everyone, please email folks like Oprah too because I KNOW most of these horses at the kill buyers now, and would love to rescue them all and be able to find them ALL good homes..
The Starlight Sanctuary
Laura Bell


10-16-2012 UPDATE from 10-09-2012 FALLON SALE HORSES


These are the mares that came from the large acreage ranch near Shasta, CA who were breeding stock.....there are quality Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosas that came off this ranch after the owner passed recently and the estate sent these mares, babies and some handsome young stallions 2-4 years old, (beautiful young stallions who went to another KB out toward Elko, NV; most of them will ship to slaughter, however, apparentely he has some ranchers looking at a few of them.......if anyone is interested in a gorgeous young colt/stallion for ranch work, team penning, reining, etc, they will make fine geldings and I can probably get contact info for that kill buyer so someone can contact them direct.....those were ALL really super nice horses, just like these mares, and I'd like to see a private party save their lives), and they were sent to the Fallon Livestock Exchange kill sale in Fallon, Nevada where I saw them on Friday, October 5th and began to try to find out what that large group (85-100) horses were.....I KNEW they were there to go through the kill sale but didn't determine until Monday, the day before the sale on October 9th, that they were well bred QH's, Paint Horses and Appaloosa Horses.
This video was taken at the kill buyers place and are of the mares we couldn't rescue/buy at the actual sale either because the auction sent some groups of horses in as "lots" of anywhere from 3-12 horses crammed into the little sale ring and the buyer had to buy every horse in the ring and/or because we didn't have enough of our own money or money from donations because we had already bought several mares (we've so far managed to rescue/buy four mare/baby pairs, 3 solo mares--and 1 of these mares, the flashy Appaloosa mare, I tried to find her "real" baby and the other baby she let nurse, but I haven't found either yet: I am still looking for them---and 1 orphan colt who we couldn't match him back up with his mom. We are also buying an old Arabian gelding who is a good kids horse but might have been in jeopardy of shipping).
I feel that we have 1 more week until Wednesday, October 24th, before these mares will be on the truck to slaughter.....once the paperwork is done on Monday or Tuesday preceeding shipping to slaughter on Wednesdays, I CANNOT pull them from the truck.
I will continue to work on rescuing/buying as many mares in jeopardy until I know we cannot rescue them.....If people wish to donate to our rescue efforts, please visit our website at or you can email me at
We are not a big rescue, although we do have a lot of horses at our sanctuary that are permanent reisidents because no one else, including the other rescues, wanted them because they are NOT adoptable for various reasons including very old age, lameness, severe training issues that makes them too dangerous to ride, etc. We also do not "adopt" horses out and/or sell horses. I do a "feed lease" contract agreement where people take the horse for a year locally (so I can check on the horse) and after a year, and if the horse has been well cared for, we will do a change of ownership at that time. Some people however are comfortable with me retaining ownership and if they can't keep the horse anymore, they return them to me.
If someone sees a horse on any of these videos that they would like me to rescue/buy for them, I can do that. I will also keep the horse or horses at my place for a nominal fee and also work with the horse, until arrangements can be made for transport of the horse to the new owners place.
I'm basically offering as many options as possible to try and rescue as many of these beautiful horses as possible from being shipped to slaughter. If anyone has other ideas, please let me know.
Rescue is not a "business" to us and my husband and I work very hard doing clean-out's on foreclosed homes, sales cleans, securing, yards, etc....we rescue horses, burros, mules, and even llamas, pigs, and cows, because we LOVE the animals. There are only 3 of us working on this rescue of these horses; myself, a good friend, and my husband (and he isn't involved "hands-on" but is keeping our business running), so we are doing as much as we can until it's too late for some of these horses.....I was happy to hear yesterday that the mares in this video will not be shipping to slaughter tomorrow, Wednesday October 17th, and won't be shipped until Wednesday, October 24th.

Any and all donations through PayPal are gratefully accepted, and if someone would rather send a check donation, please email me and I will send my mailing address.


10-15-2012 UPDATE from 10-09-2012 FALLON SALE HORSES:

Two more catagories of pictures have been added and I know Laura is working on a couple of video's that will be added when done.



Yes, we are still working on saving horses from the KB (kill buyer) before they are shipped out on Wednesday 10-17-2012.  There are still many nice Mares there; I admit one will haunt me if we cannot find a way to pull her out. Some of these mares are with babies, some without. Out of the five babies and seven horses we have rescued, with the exception of the loud appy mare (bad cut on head), all have had been haltered, lead, brushed, feet handled, and hoofs picked up.

We as well as the KB believe many are broke to ride unfortunately; we have not had the time to test them all.

 Some pictures of three older horses were uploaded late last night, showing them being handled sat and stood on all with just baling twine as halters and comments will be added as soon as time avails itself.

 Folk’s time is running out and we are out of funds to rescue too many more. Rest assure any funds you donate will go toward theses 10-09-2012 Fallon horse rescue who’s only crime was not having registration papers. Why no papers…



  • ·   Wife was the breeder. She dies four years ago.
  • ·   Husband takes over and toward the end of his life; things were not kept up.


Clock is ticking. This is a great way to buy quality Quarter horse that has been gently handled. If you are not in the market for a horse, any help you can lend will go toward us saving more from this group.

 We are heading over to the KB’s within the next half hour to acquire more video and pictures. We will upload tonight or early tomorrow morning. So stay tune.

 After this phase is over, we will be working with the KB on trying to sell the foals left behind. The KB is going to work toward getting them halter and lead trained. So keep you eye open for some quality babies in the future.

 Thank you – Laura, Rick Bell and Laurie Naumann

 PS: Sorry, we have not been able to get more updates out, but work schedules begged for attention and between the two... we need to sleep.




                                ALERT!!                         Please also see our "News" Page for further developments because this "rescue-after-the-kill sale-rescue" is still on-going and horses ARE still shipping to slaughter this up-coming week for consumption in NON-EU countries! With more donations and actual help from the KB in handling some of the horses and sending me photos, we still have a chance to rescue a few more from being shipped.                          



Our rescue website has a lot of new photos of horses that we're hoping that some can still be rescued-after-the-sale from the feedlot before they ship to slaughter....the horses in the most imminent danger of shipping as early as next Wednesday 10-17-2012 are the adult mares with weaning age foals at side, and also the adult mares with no foals. I've put captions with the photos so people will know which ones are in jeopardy.....


(The original video shot on 10-08-2012. Why put this back up at the top? Because it contains an dispassionate (don't want to be accused of being "hysterical" by the pro-slaughterists), matter-of-fact description on how horses are slaughtered. )




Yes, I know with everyone's help our rescue rescued 8 horses, and then probably another 10-15 were bought by private parties that showed up at the kill sale when that is a sale they never attend but they heard about it through Facebook as everyone shared our pleas for help for these horses, the ad's we ran for 3 days in a row on Craigslist, word of mouth, viewing the video I took and you all shared, etc....we ALL did great rescuing a bunch of horses....however, those adult mares are really beautiful and the only thing they are guilty of is having limited training because they've been breeding stock out on a very big ranch, and they also weigh a lot which makes them targets for slaughter.
I'd like to see if we can rescue a few more and will put in whatever time, effort, training, feed, etc to find them good homes once we can bring them here to the rescue......I will do my part doing whatever I need to do to rescue these beautiful girls, however, I cannot in all good conscience and with responsibility to the horses already at our rescue spend our maintenance and feed money by purchasing these mares.....if we get more donations, we WILL rescue as many as we can depending on the donations we receive. I also will offer free transport in the Northern Nevada area for anyone that wishes to purchase a horse and have me transport it to it's new home. I will also offer a VERY GOOD RATE for anyone that purchases a horse and wants to have the horse at my place for training before taking the horse home.
Basically, I'm open to a lot of different options in order to get more horses rescued.....remember, although these mares do not sell with registration papers, they ARE quality Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosa Horses, and most are very gentle, some are halter broke (please see the the new photo album on our website of Our Beautiful Rescue Horses where we are picking up feet, hugging the horses), etc....some of these mares just need a refresher course to remember their training, and I believe some are even saddle trained. I also have another photo album with 2 grey horses in it, one is a gentle, gentle, gentle saddle trained kids gelding, and the other is a big tanky QH mare who has done ranch work (and she followed me around like a big pet, which is unusual for working ranch horses),....both of those horses NEED to be rescued, they are both VERY sweet and VERY friendly, they both do not even cost what they are really worth, and they are both very well trained riding horses.
All of these horses are at the kill buyers place, but they are willing to work with me on finding these horses homes so they don't ship to slaughter.....I know we can't rescue them all, but the ones we can rescue I know are grateful to be in a place where they are loved.
Thank you everyone for the donations, the networking of the kill sale on Facebook, rescue groups and lists, word of mouth, etc....considering we only had 4 days notice before these horses went through the kill sale, we managed to rescue 8 to probably 15 horses (maybe even more than that I'm hoping) altogether....I'm forever grateful for everyones help rescuing these precious lives from slaughter.....animal lovers are truly the best people on the planet! :-)
Picture section has been updated with pictures taken 10-12-2012
If anyone needs help with evaluating horses, transporting the horses to their new home, boarding and/or training their horse (and I am also a mobile trainer and could come to your location for training in the Northern Nevada area), or just wants to sponsor or donate to rescue a horse or horses, you can email me for further information and/or call Laura Bell at 775-223-9620. And thank you for any help you can offer these beautiful horses who are in a bad situation and may end up at slaughter if WE don't help the ones we can. 

 "A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house I lived in, what my bank account was, or the car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of animals and the creatures on this earth"


10-11-2012 UPDATE for FALLON SALE HORSES:    


Please be patient on the Updates on our Fallon Livestock Exchange rescue; it was a very stressful, busy last couple of days and we only got all of the horses we rescued home last night, October 10th, at 10 PM.
We rescued/bought 7 horses, but due to the fact that some of the horses we were interested in went through the sale in "lots" of anywhere from 3-10 horses where all the horses had to be bought in the "lot", we couldn't buy all in the "lot" and had to purchase a few from the kill buyer at "fair market value" (kill price, less what it would have cost to ship to Mexico or Canada).
We have now far exceeded what we collected in donations, so further donations of any amount people can spare would be GREATLY appreciated.
I am going over to the kill buyers at 12 noon today to purchase the 2 babies that belong with the Appaloosa mare with the huge kick laceration on her forehead we bought from the KB (the mares were seperated from babies right before they went through the sale ring, and after the sale were kept seperated and crammed into pens at the sale yard awaiting pickup. All the mares bagged up very badly from no nursing and there were kick fights in the corrals the night of the sale, so when I saw the Appaloosa mare in the morning when I made my first trip to transport horses and she has a huge crescent shaped kick laceration on her forehead that bled a lot down her face, I knew I had to buy her from the KB; she'll be fine, but will do a lot better when I get her babies back to her), the babies will cost $100 a piece, one is her "real" baby and the other is her surrogate baby that also nurses from her. I may also be rescuing/purchasing a gentle halter broke mare with 3 month old baby at side because as soon as the baby is weaned in a month or so, the mare will ship to slaughter most likely.
We will update our progress with "after the rescue" rescues as we have time.....THANK YOU everyone for your donations, and also your networking of the rescue on Facebook pages, rescue group lists, and anywhere else you sent our plea for DID make a differece and currently it looks like with our rescue of 7 plus whatever we buy today, and also people who normally never attend kill sales showing up because of the networking that was done, I believe 10-15 MORE horses were also rescued/bought by private parties and will NOT go to slaughter.....good work everyone! :-)