Yesterday we broke the news of Kelsey Lefever, a 24-year-old woman who has allegedly been misrepresenting her intentions of finding a new home for retired racehorses in Pennsylvania and taking them to kill-buyers instead. She was quoted in the Affidavit of Probable Cause by a friend saying, “I killed every one of those f—ing horses, over 120 of them, if they only knew. I only have five left and the ones that you have. Every one of them is dead. I don't even know their names and there wasn't a goddamn thing they could do about it because they gave me those horses.”
If true, not exactly the girl you want to bring home to meet your parents.
Earlier today, we reported Great Scott Farm fired Lefever from a position as a riding instructor and by all accounts was caught unaware of the charges against her until our report. There will certainly be more to come on this story, but we applaud the quick and decisive action taken by the owners of Great Scott Farm.
But all of this does raise the obvious question, what can we do to keep this sort of thing from happening in the future? We asked our audience yesterday both on Facebook and Twitter if they had any suggestions on how to prevent this type of alleged incident from happening.
While not all of these are viable ways to solve the problem, it is good to get the conversation going. The web allows for an open exchange of ideas and while oftentimes that can be a destructive force, we believe this is a situation where a public dialogue can serve a very constructive purpose as we forge ahead. Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section below and spread this forum to as many of your friends and colleagues as possible.
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@M_McKenzie: A notarized bill of sale stating that the Horse will never be sold at auction.
@ShuveeIL: Microchip every foal. Then every owner of that horse thru its racing life MUST sign off before it ends up in kill pen
@Kingsgatequine: Owners should have a fund for when they retire! And spend it on having them retrained. I have just rehomed 1
@ChinaRose21: though PETA is a pain at times – their 360 Program is brilliant IMHO. Check it out!
@GaudetRacing: this is why it is the trainers responsibility to leave a paper trail! Everyone that takes a horse from us signs a few papers. it might not stop every horse from being killed but at least it's easier to track the wrong doers and protect urself
@AlGoggin: Passing tougher state laws might be the only way. Hold people accountable.
@racehorsereport: There is no sure way, but a rubber stamped note with contact info on foal papers is a good way to help prevent a bad situation.
@Anderson_Racing: create a fund, an ownership fee, when horses are being retired, association buys the horses using the fund and finds them a home
@RhettFincher: Maybe they could set up a fund for the new home. Direct deposit $200 /month to offset feed costs instead of total abandonment
Gayle Hodgkins Clark – If the NTRA certifies tracks, can they or someone certify organizations?
Phyllis Shalor – Maybe racetracks should have a layup barn— freeing up valuable trainer stalls, that would buy an extra month or so for racehorses needing to be placed. Perhaps funded, in part, by statebred monies.
Jessica Tugwell – First and foremost – racing needs a single, unified governing/legislative body. Can't do as much about any of the sport's problems when you have to convince 30-odd jurisdictions to adopt and then enforce a policy
Kelly Smith – How about in addition to microchipping a “national no kill brand” that is freeze branded on the horses hind quarter. This brand would be the official no kill brand placed on horses and entered into a data base.
Kelly Utter – Unfortunately there's no real guarantees. Written bills of sales with clear statements about where the horse can be sold don't actually do anything, though they can protect the trainers/owners if the horse is found at auction, and may scare off a shady buyer. Other than that – background checks on the buyer, or working through a nonprofit that screens adopters/buyers carefully.
Josh Stevens – This has been discussed ad nauseum, and still we haven't even broken the ice. There have been plenty of credible ideas including one where farriers, vet clinics, tack shops, trainers, owners, breeders, sale companies, bloodstock agents, etc all have to pay some kind of fee per horse. Just think if you took $1 per horse shod, $1 per horse floated, and a 0.5% of sales proceeds/commissions along with a $5 starting fee each race, and charge $500-$1000 for a horse to go to a retirement facility after their career. Simple solutions readily available, just no one willing to play ball. This could fund programs for the Horse Park OTTB program, Secretariat center, etc.
Sue Hooper – I see the only sure way as legislatively banning U.S. slaughter and transport across the borders for slaughter. Then Josh's ideas for funding rescues and retirements will be needed to address the resulting overflow of animals needing placement.
Susan Runswithsissors – Research/background check through other former owners..and like Josh advises, get together with local (or the area where the horse is to go) equine related RESPECTED personal to establish a list of KNOWN “slaughter haulers” and create a web site with the current list.
Jan Hortyk – I am a very small horse owner in AZ. The solution … keep them for yourself or sell them to someone that is involved with horses that you know loves the animal too. They can do other competitive horse “things”, trail riding, etc. As a large breeder or owner, it would be tough, but I feel it is important.
Robert Mack – A complex problem that involves both the industry that derives revenues from them as well as the governments that have regulatory capability. all of the posts that precede mine are part of the solution but it requires real enforcement by all of the people and governments involved. however it starts with the industry and when that takes root and begins to show results, state and then fed governments will play…and from what I read last year, horse is still on the menu in Canada.
Tom Rothstein – The goal for every owner should be to find a retirement facility that is non profit and work with them slowly. We have retired 4 racetrack t-breds to the ILEHC and it has gone great, when they go there, we donate 2,000$ which takes care of them for 6 months
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