No Jail for Pennsylvania Woman Accused of Selling Rescue Horses to Slaughter

By Amy Worden of Philly.com

Slap on Wrist for Deceptive Equine Slaughter Seller

Kelsey Lefever after court ~ photo courtesy of Fox 43 News

HARRISBURG – A Chester County woman accused of selling thoroughbreds for slaughter after promising to put them up for adoption will avoid prison by agreeing to enter a first-offender program.

Kelsey Lefever, 24, of Honeybrook, abruptly waived her preliminary hearing on four counts of theft by deception Tuesday in a Dauphin County district court. Prosecutors withdrew a fifth charge, that she had engaged in deceptive business practices.

“We agreed under certain conditions that she enter the first-time offenders program,” said Francis Chardo, Dauphin County first assistant district attorney. “She will be restricted from activities relating to horses.”

Chardo said Lefever would be banned for life from obtaining a Pennsylvania thoroughbred racing license – and thus barred from any racetrack employment, such as horse training.

She also will be forbidden from acquiring any additional horses for the two-year duration of her probation, the terms of which are to be laid out at a future hearing. Lefever’s next court date is an arraignment on April 19.

The defendant left with her lawyer after her brief court appearance and climbed into a pickup truck without comment.

News of the charges against Lefever, a fixture on the regional horse-show circuit and a champion rider and trainer, sent shock waves through the equine-welfare community and renewed calls, including from members of Congress, to ban the slaughter of horses in the United States and end the export of horses for slaughter.

There is no prohibition against sale of horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where they are butchered and sold for human consumption, primarily in France and Japan.

“This is a lawful activity,” Chardo said. “The problem is if the horses were obtained under misrepresentation.”

Lefever’s attorney, J. Michael Sheldon, said Tuesday that “justice has been served” in what he called “an unfortunate case.”

“I think it’s in the best interest of justice, the commonwealth, and my client,” Sheldon said. “Ms. Lefever is concerned about the safety of all horses, and this doesn’t diminish her love of horses.”

Prosecutors might disagree. In their written criminal complaint against her, investigators said one witness, a horse dealer, had quoted Lefever as saying: “I killed every one of those . . . horses, over 120 of them . . . Every one of them is dead. I don’t even know their names and there wasn’t a . . . thing [the sellers] could do about it because they gave me those horses.”

Lefever was charged last November after a state police investigation found she had sold four retired racehorses to an individual contracted by a slaughter plant in Quebec after having promised the horses’ previous owners she would retrain the horses and find them new homes, according to police documents.

One of the owners, Kevin Patterson, told an investigator that he gave his racehorse, a five-year-old thoroughbred named Beau Jaques, to Lefever with the understanding that the horse – which had suffered a career-ending injury – would be rehabilitated and placed for adoption. He also gave her $200 and 10 bags of feed to help care for the horse until it had a permanent home.

Lefever, who promoted herself at racetracks as a horse rescuer, assured Patterson that she never sent horses to slaughter, authorities said. They said Patterson later learned that Beau Jaques had been sold to a “kill buyer” outside the New Holland auction in Lancaster County.

When a woman who was supposed to adopt Beau Jaques told Lefever that Patterson was looking for the horse, Lefever told her, “Those crazy people don’t have to look for their horse anymore because he is in a box in a freezer,” according to court documents.

On Tuesday, Patterson was in court and ready to testify for the prosecution when word came that Lefever had waived her right to the hearing. He declined comment as he left the courtroom.

Animal welfare advocates said the case shed light on a dark side of the horse racing industry, but they had hoped for stiffer penalties.

“We are glad this person will be banned from engaging in livelihood that she could not carry out without engaging in fraud,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “But we would have liked to have seen a lifetime ban from horse ownership.”

71 comments on “No Jail for Pennsylvania Woman Accused of Selling Rescue Horses to Slaughter

  1. OMG !!!! miscarriage of Justice seems to be the norm in courts!!!!!! Makes me want to PUKE………This woman has the brazen ignorance to claim her love for horses???? There was absolutely no love shown in any of her murderous actions , all showed complete greed and no respect and the complete absence of love of any kind………………….for the horse or her fellow mankind…………………………………We can only hope for the what gos around comes around……………….. and that Justice finds its own way ………………………………..

  2. DIsgusting result. This woman should be barred from ever having anything to do with horses of any kind. SHe should have been sent to jail for the maximum and been loaned out to muck stalls/corrals for a lifetime with someone overseeing her. Her life should have been ruined for doing anything dealing with owning/training or anything with horses other than mucking. This was not a true penalty for her. Who “bought city hall”.

  3. What a disturbing outcome. This judge is not thinking. But hopefully it’s not over and the road will turn in a way that Lefever will be held accountable. It makes me worry for the upcoming case surrounding the beloved rodeo horse, Credit Card who was stolen, shot and butchered in a field and left to decompose right there until his remains were found. If she had been involved in human trafficking, Lefever would gone to prison for 30 years or more. But due to our own disconnect with other species, we end up doing them a huge injustice when it comes to…well…justice.

  4. And I bet she will carry on doing it again.

    Where is the justice for those poor horses that ended up in those vile places? Where is the justice for the owners that trusted that witch, to keep her word that they would be retrained and rehomed. She is just a deceitful money grabbing evil witch.

    Well, she has to face people now. So that may prove punishment. I wouldn’t be held responsible for my actions if she did it to me.

  5. Now that just SUCKS!!! What is going on in this country? She lied to a lot of people and caused them harm and she walks. This is just another example of this corrupt judicial system. GRrrrrr!

  6. Some 120 horses sold for slaughter, for PROFIT, and under misrepresentation . . . and Lefever qualifies for ‘first offender’? Disgusting. She knew full well what she was doing and what would happen to the horses. She had intent to misrepresent and act fraudulently 120 times!
    And she may have had a clue as to how horrified those horses’ owners would be should they learn of their horse’s fate. But it’s more likely that she just doesn’t get it.
    There’s something terribly wrong with people like her. We should feel sorry for people like Lefever, but right now there’s more ‘hate’ there, than ‘pity’.
    C’mon, bring on those private lawsuits. I hope every owner seeks some retribution thru the courts. If nothing else comes of it, someone has to stand for the horses.

    • 120 counts of fraud. ONE is a first offense, what about the other 119 (that we know of) offenses?!
      I’m sure because she is… well, not ugly on the outside, had much to do with this ruling. Ugly inside is much worse. I always say desperate people do desperate things and I try to make accommodations for the ignorant. But I have no stomach for evil. This woman is just plain old evil, no regrets, no apology and no (financial) amends? Civil lawsuits YOU BET bring them on!
      These horse owners need to sue the hell out of her, demand every penny she earned back as restitution! Can WE sue her for mental duress?

      • THis judge’s decision was such a big miscarriage of justice I can’t believe it. This woman is a disgrace to the human race and that she represents all the killer buyers out there, it doesn’t show a just sentence — I believe a list of all killer buyers should be made and distributed, with names and addresses — so all people having to deal with other individuals can have an idea of who they may be dealing with. And, a driver’s license, with picture, should be required when dealing with someone so they know they are dealing with the actual person they say they are. This woman is a KILLER – and that she could be so heartless tin what she said about the 120 horses she arranged for death is really unbelieveable. I also believe this judge should be thrown off the bench as well. THat he could give such a miserable sentence is beyond belief. THis individual should never be allowed to have any horse, dog, or cat in her remaining life. My personal belief is she, as her killer buyers, should suffer the same fate that they are sending these beautiful horses to. Shame on them. THey don’t deserve any pity.

      • Yes Lynne, they should sue her , they all would win, If I were them I would already be on it !!!! There are many ways to get Justice for the Horses and the people she blatenly lied to………………………………….. Another sociopath , they mount up daily……………….. it is time to deal with them, and the people she betrayed can do this……………………

  7. First time offender???????? This woman is a blat en murder , How many horses did she send to Slaughter , She is the Ultimate betrayal to man, and horse………………

    • I wish people could find out the names of the horses, so they could be honored in some way. There has been so many missing race horses, that I wonder where they are.

  8. I hope her picture, will continued to be posted, over and over all over the social media, and the shame of being a low-life in the horse industry will continue to haunt her, throughout her lifetime. She is the Casey Anthony of the horse industry, and ultimately God has the final justice. May she see their faces in her nightmares, may the public scrutney scorn her forever. May her public life be the same hell as the same 120, (that she bragged about killing), her face will be remembered as the horse killer, manipulative liar, criminal, no horse is safe as long as she breathes air.

  9. I wonder,” if the judge had owned a horse of his own,and was unable to keep the horse for various reasons,”. Then later found out,,,WHERE and HOW his Horse ended up, ??????????????!!! Would he have given the SAME VERDICT to a case like this,?? I doubt it. This woman, Kelsey Lefever should be behind Bars, she is dangerous .She is , like her name says ;” leFEVER ” a ” FEVER”, to everyone, who is Civilized in this society and has compassion and respect for any life. Well, she will be punished one day. In this case, I hope soon. Solvejg Zaferes.

  10. This is disgraceful and maddening. This woman was quoted by a number of people as showing no remorse for what she’s done, and entering a “first time offenders” program isn’t going to change her way of thinking or lack of compassion towards horses in the future. She obviously feels she hasn’t done any wrong…..those poor animals were nothing but dollar signs for her. Sickening. She deserved at the minimum many years of jail time and to be barred from every owning or coming into contact with any horses for the rest of her evil life. Until the punishment for people who perpetrate crimes like this is more than a slap on the wrist, acts like this will continue.

  11. I will not forget her name and will make sure no one I come across in the horse business forgets it either. So as far as I am concerned she received a lifetime ban.

  12. From this sentence you’d think she got caught misrepresenting computers or some other hard good. These were living beings with owners that were concerned for them. The absolute callousness that she displayed surely should have earned her a harsher sentence. I agree with others that she should be banned from owning or doing any kind of business involving horses for life.

    • Personally I don’t think she’ll care. Killing horses or having them killed seems to be her thing. I just hope she’s always looking over her shoulder to see who might be holding one huge grudge against her. I pray she never has a moments peace.

      • This woman is disgusting. May she never have peace for the rest of her life, which I hope is very short. Better yet, maybe she should be taken to Mexico and have her life shorten in the same methods they use to slaughter the horses. This might be a good example to those that exist by assisting in the transfer and killing of these beautiful animals. Then, hopefully, she might in in hell forever.

  13. When we use the term predatory to describe the type of business horse slaughter is, this is an example of what we mean.

    The positive side of this decision is that it underscores the need for a federal law, and, in my opinion, a list of persons who are known to have abused horses (or other animals).

    This young woman was 24 and was established in the equine business world. She was obtaining horses on the basis of the trust people had for her. She violated that trust over 120 times. She intended to deceive.

    I don’t know how the law in PA is written, but without written contracts, it may have been hard to prove to the standard of law in PA, that she engaged in deceptive business practices.

    • hh- even without written contracts I think they could sue, make her life miserable fighting off one lawsuit after another. ALL ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY OF THEM!

      • Dear KA Scraaf yes !!! That is what they should all do, they are many ways to make her pay !!!! for indecent and disgusting betrayal to both man and horse……………………………

    • I have followed SHARK’s attempts to get the pigeon shoots shut down in PA. They consistently run into a log jam of judges and police siding with the cruel, gutless pigeon shooters. That and the fact that many puppy mills are in business there makes me think that PA is not a state where there is a lot of harsh penalties for animal abusers or those that abuse the trust of the people associated with animals. I would like to see these people sue her but that would probably be difficult to do with just a handshake agreement.

  14. I never cease to be amazed………..she should have been hung from the highest tree……..slowly. Greed, deceit and corruption were all known and real in each act of fraud, cruelty and slaughter. Our system lacks back bone and continues to ignore the serious need to come down HARD. I think the Prosecuting Attorney should hear from the public, just how spineless his deal was.

  15. Sad for the equines, but not for the “stupid” human owners.

    I told you when this story broke it would come down to contracts and the game of same. I told you she would not be imprisoned or punished to significant extent. Get over it and change the laws.

    As to hanging from the highest tree, thrown in a dark hole, etc……NO CONTRACT? NO DEAL!

    Get productive.

    I feel sympathy for the owners (to a point); but I suffer great pain and feel the suffering of the equines by this piece of human slime(and owners) that is sanctioned by our government.;…that’s why they (she does) do it.

    Because they can.

  16. I belive all the people that payed her to care for the horse should now file a civil case on her,
    O.J. Simpson was found not guilty then they got him civil court to take him down

  17. Unbelievable, I guess nothing matters when it comes to horses or any animal. If I stood there and lied, I have my u know what in a sling. I can’t even get away with a lie. She just got away with selling 120 horses to slaughter. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is for RT, I commend you for your articles really help us to keep a stand for what we all believe in. I wish their was something I could do to help. I can only write and keep everyone updated.
    Thank YOu so much.

  18. What the hell is going on in this country?! She should of done time! Never able to touch a living animal and/or horse again! Everyone is rehabilitatable – NO THEIR NOT! I pray all horse owners scorn her forever! And once again folks the ANIMAL suffers not the human – this is just BS!

  19. Oh stop it people and learn the law.

    This trash got off because there were no laws or contracts (she knew it and abused it) and the weak ones are not enforced. Please don’t forget to go after the “kindly” owners that didn’t do right by their equines either. I’m so sick and tired of lazy and stupid….and that is not about the equines that got butchered.

  20. I totally disagree this woman should go to jail plus pay a fine for what she did, it would send a important message for anyone else that’s thinking about doing this or maybe her getting back and doing it again she would than think twice about it! Everyone better watch out for her and not hire her you could not trust her anymore to do the right thing. Please beware!!!

  21. Lies and misrepresentation! She should never be eligible for a 501c and “name changes” as well as relocations should be public information.

    Also, people like this are not operating completely alone.

    I hope individuals will pursue the wrong doings she did to them and their horses lives, and the care they entrusted with her for them, and were promised.

    It is shameful what people will do for money and what they can get away with, because they can….

    Obama… protect the lives of the ones we love! Stop the roundups! Stop the slaughter! Stop the business involved with our horses. You have set the stage for misrepresentation and disrespect, both for us (we who elected you) and the living beings who deserve preservation and protection. Do something before it’s too late!!!

    What if Bo were a horse?!

  22. serial killer get slap on wrist is how this should read. what a disgusting miscarriage of justice. she will do it again– that’s what serial killers do — and she better get jail time next time.

  23. Just shocking and unbelieveable! This low-life piece of garbage DID MOST DEFINATELY get all these horses she sent off to be butchered by MISREPRESENTATION. She even accepted money from some who were so happy she was going to work with them then get them into a new loving home. If this isn’t fraud, then please somebody tell me what it is!! I wouldn’t be surprised one little bit if we all find out later that this judge and this attorney accepted a “donation” some where along the line to get this NOTHING OF A SENTENCE!!!!

    • Susie: Well said. I believe you hit the nail on the head. There must have been some “monies” exchanged for the “no sentence”. May they both get what is coming to them. They deserve it.

  24. I also strongly agree that the people who were lied to and took in by this horse killer get together and file a civil lawsuit against her. Or do it individually. just do it! You certainly have the right, and if enough of you do, maybe, just maybe, the courts will rethink their decision in giving her such a lax sentence.

    • I agree, she should be sued by all those that had their horses taken to slaughter. Maybe when she loses everything, it’ll show that the horse advocates mean business to see that the horses have a voice and that eventually we will see that horse trainers will have to make sure who they hand over their horses too and that all horse owners are more particular in who they deal with. They travesty has to end — and the horses must see an end to their mistreatment. Let’s go and fight all the way until we can be the victor for our four legged icons.

    • Susie that is excellent advice. Too bad this didn’t happen in California, I’d sure love to work on that class action. The owners can and should bury her in a financial pit from which she will never recover.

  25. Her actions and comments show a complete lack of conscience. I’m surprised no one noticed earlier that she has a criminal personality. She must have been a master manipulator to be able to fool that many people into believing she was capable of showing compassion toward animals. Thank you for these updates. I am surprised by how few people truly understand what is going on with the horse slaughter issue.

  26. I’ve been reading various news reports concerning that case. She has unwittingly brought awareness to the issue of horse-slaughter. If her atrocities can influence even a few politicians, and raise the cries of public outrage, perhaps her victims haven’t died in vain.

    • Laurel: Under all circumstances these 120 plus beautiful horses have died in vain as they did not deserve this woman’s crazyiness. I hope this brings to our congress that slaughterhouses must NEVER return to the U.S. and that transportation of these horses across our borders WILL NEVER TAKE PLACE AGAIN, and that we must take care of our four legged companions against all the killer buyers and their friends. WE MUST bring these people out to the forefront so they will be so ostricized that they want to kill themselves. OH, if only they would. I would rather see them sent to Canada or Mexico for their just rewards.

  27. I forgot about the civil legal approach….it is a good idea.

    I hope the sloppy, yet lied to owners get together and take this crud to the poor house.

    I am still sad and pained at the loss of all the equines and the suffering they went through. The owners would have done better by their equines if they had vet chem euth’d them and that is the sad fact in the US because HCHS still exists.

  28. What a shameful disgrace and lack of law in the state of PA. Seems lawmakers were more concerned with Lefever than the horses she was paid to send to slaughter, and what a horrible frightening death for Beau Jaques and the others. I’d like to know why charges weren’t filed against the kill buyer? He bought those horses in the backlot of the New Holland Auction in Lancaster Cty and that should be a crime! Did he have proper paperwork (coggins documentation) to transport these horses across state lines to Canada and then cross the US border into Canada? Or did he get a free pass simply because his face is well known for transporting hundreds of American horses to slaughter in Canada on a regular basis? I believe lawmakers need to crack down at the auction level and levy fines on kill buyers and when appropriate, charge them with felonies & misdeameanors. Beau Jaques had a lip tatoo which documented he had at least one dose of Butte but yet the kill buyer got a free pass all the way to the Canadian slaughter plant and Beau Jaques became somebody’s dinner in Europe.

    This case is sad for the horses and winners for Lefever and the kill buyer.

    • Dear Pam York , It is not over till its over, Lefever and the kill buyers are not winners and never could be , Justice is slow but precise , these people will be held accountable its just a matter of time ……………………

    • Pam, you are so right. What a dispictable judge and law in the State of Pennsylvania. As I have always thought, auctions should be licenced and overseen by an agency, making it a requirement of where these animals are going, by making it a requirement to prove who is buying the horse, where it will be located, and making it a crime and maximum punishment if it is found that a horse is bought with the intention of slaughter. IT’s about time these da___ killer buyers start suffering for what they are doing and the auctions are not without blame either. I think the killer buyers should be sent to the site where the horses go and they should receive what they sent these gorgous animals to get. These killer buyers are low lifes that don’t deserve any kind of help and should be regarded as human trash.

  29. What a complete joke. It’s not like she stole someone’s purse. She lied in order to steal and MURDER animals that people cared about. Apparently that means nothing? She is a sociopath.

  30. I will come out ans say that I am pro choice on slaughter. But the courts did not do the horses any justice in this case. This young woman committed a series of acts of fraud that should have been punished at the least by a lifetime ban on owning horses. Not because she sold to a kill buyer, but because she willfully and with malice lied to people and took horses and money for a service that she knew that she had no intention of providing. The fact that these people gave her feed and money along with the horses shows their care and intent was to have her find homes. A stiffer penalty might have convinced others not to follow this same route. The slap on the hands that she got is not going to deter others from trying the same scam.

  31. This just breaks my heart. She should have gotten the book thrown at her…HARD. How could that judge let her go with a slap on the wrist? Because that’s what happened. She should never ever be allowed to own, train, ride, touch, or even be in the presence of these majestic creatures. I can’t believe that she will be able to own them again in the future. She will get what’s coming to her some day, one way or the other…it is too bad a horse can’t dish out the punishment she deserves. She just needs to be locked up and that key needs to be lost. Then she couldn’t ever harm another horse again.

    • Angie:
      I’m with you. What does the State of Pennsylvania have for legal help – a bunch of embasols (sp). It certainly looks like this. They are, I believe, a major player in horse auctions as well. This whole State’s legal system needs to be thrown to the wolves and get people in there that have their heads screwed on correctly. That this idiot had the fifth charge dismissed is insult upon insult. I agree with you someone should throw her in big hole and cover it up and never see her again. THe big benefactors would be our beautiful horses. I hope God gives her and all the other animal hurters the biggest dose of cruelty, pain, and death that can be administered. These people must get what is coming to them. That they can stuff their mouths with each bite and know they got their money from such heinous ways is an atocity. I hope we can get Raul in at the Dept of Ag. Maybe then we will start to see some justice for the horses. Maybe we can get them all back where they belong, on their home ranges. Unfortunately, many of the horses ended up dying because of the Dept of Ag and they can’t return home. May the horses see justice soon. It’s long overdue.

  32. There are other individuals who operate like this in humane affairs, and when apprehended are likewise let off. As with other things (e.g. drugs), there are those who are attracted to animals for the money without constructive work. She will not be deterred from further wrongdoing, perhaps even during the two years. Nor will others be deterred by what they have seen in this case.

  33. Ever hear the term “useless piece of crap”….that’s her. She should hope I don’t see her floating around. She needs a good flogging with a buggy whip stupid twat!!!

  34. This is outrageous!!!! That ittle witch with a “B” instead of a “W” LIED to people to get their horses promising adoption to a good home, but instead, she sent 120– by her own admission to be butchered — AND she pocketed a tidy sum for doing this. The law in PA sucks!!!

    While I do not condone violence, that is one little creep that I would like to see kicked by a horse but good. I hope the horse rescue people in PA watch her very carefully because a person like her– without a conscience– will be back at it again soon as soon as her “probation” is up. Greedy little gutter snipe.

    • Julia: Amen. Beautifully said. She deserves hell at its hottest. Let’s hope she gets soon what she deserves, as well as, all the other people that mistreat and harm our animals. This is a disgusting world. If we could only wish away all the _____ ( starts with s and ends with s) that hurt our animals and our children, what a great world it would be. Pennyslvania and all its govenment and law should be given a quick kick in the ass and all replaced with papers widespread so noone will emply any of them. It’s about time we, the advocates, demand justice in it’s entirety with all the animal abusers and killers. The animal killers transporting our horses across our buyers should be posted in all papers and on tv channels. Maybe if their kids find out about their occupation, their own kids will hate them for their way of making a living and noone wants them in their employment. It’s about time all their names are publicly printed for all states and employers to see.

      • It boggles the mind that these people exist anywhere. They must have so little constructive talent in their small minds, that they can only find work as a sociopathic criminal. They come from the lowest of the low, deprived scum, that feeds off of people’s emotions and throws their beloved horses to the wolves. My heart is aching for the owners, who thought they were giving their horses to a good home. I feel so sad for the horses, whose lives were only viewed as $$$$ by a disgusting low life. Their names must be out there, for all the public to see, so they are shamed forever! Excellent idea!

      • THIS IS THE KIND OF HUMAN CRAP WE ARE DEALING WITH!!!!!! NO EMOTIONS , NO MORALS , NO LOVE , NO CARING, incapable of any kind of kindness sad isnt it ??????? Dont know where they came from but I wish they would go back !!!!!

  35. This low life piece of filthy trash should be in prison! She is a fraud and has tarnished horse rescue forever! There has to be special licenses to have a horse rescue place, it should be the responsibility of caring individuals, to check out all horse rescue farms , so this never happens again! She will get what’s coming to her! Things work out somehow for the unjust to get what’s coming to them! Where does this trash come from anyway? I really don’t know. Some trailer park trash with no talent other than being a complete waste of skin sociopath! She is a stupid disgusting trash that deserves to ROT IN HELL!!!!

  36. This is a previous yet — sadly — a still meaningful discussion. May Lefever rot, and rot verrry slowly.
    That said, the core objective/humane solution here is to gain federal/legislation at the federal level that will prohibit horse slaughter for human consumption and its profit-making bulk transport: S.541/HR.1094, and S.1459.
    With such federal legislation in place, humans WILL modify their current practice of ‘disposing’ of horses when that “garbage can” known as horse slaughter disappears.
    Take the profit out of horse slaughter, and the failure to breed to market demand will suck the life out of the horse slaughter industry. Work to see that annual foal crop drops significantly, as no good will come of culls.
    In any other industry, that excess is an unsustainable business model, and is damn dumb.
    The sooner this sham ends, the better.

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