Horse Health

Shamed Wild Horse Abuser Caught in Con on Reputable Hollywood Celebrity

by R.T. Fitch ~ “in my humble opinion”

“Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stupider…”

Do you remember, back in November 2016, the heartbreak of learning of an alleged sanctuary, and it’s deranged leader, putting hundreds and hundreds of former wild horses at risk due to stupidity, mismanagement and lies?  ‘member?

Do you remember the Fleet of Angels, hundreds of volunteers led by Elaine Nash, giving up their personal lives, resources and freedom to come to the rescue and save 907 horses from this mad woman?  ‘member?

Do you remember the hoarder and whack-job leader being ordered never to have more than twenty horses in her possession ever again?  ‘member?

If you don’t ‘member  then we will make it easy, simply click (HERE) for all the gory details.

A Black Stallion stands, snow encrusted, in sub-zero temps. with no shelter at ISPMB facility in Landry, SD

Many months of being away from families along with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent the world thought that the sad and twisted saga of Karen Sussman had come to an end.  She was in the hands of the authorities, and they would do the right thing, right?  WRONG!!!

Last week, Sussman crawled out from under her rock and issued a press release stating that the kind and benevolent Stefanie Powers, noted for her love of animals and rescue work, had joined Sussman’s efforts to kick up and start yet another alleged sanctuary.

How could this be?  Wasn’t Sussman prosecuted and out of the horse hoarding business?  Again, WRONG!!!

Upon contacting several close advocate associates it appears that the authorities failed in properly prosecuting Sussman, and she was back to her begging, pleading and running her phony shell game while we were ALL certain that Ms Powers did not know of Sussman’s dark, hoarding and deadly past.

Thank goodness for the Angels that walk among us as some kind soul, somewhere, whispered into Ms Powers ear the ugly truth about Sussman and her ISPMB; Ms Powers quickly distanced herself and rightfully turned her back on Sussman’s hording operation.

Regardless of the lies that Sussman spins, there is only one, true Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota and it sure as hell is not Karen Sussman’s.

Many thanks to the good people who worked this problem in the first place and to those who had the fortitude to stop this current scam from proceeding.

It is my thought, wish and mission to launch an investigation into the authorities who bumbled this case and to pursue efforts to shut Sussman down once and for all…the many horses that died cruel and horrendous deaths at her hands deserve the justice…and the advocacy demands the truth, peace and resolution.

Let’s make it so!

23 replies »

  1. Yes we remember!!! Thank heavens for Elaine & her organization, Laurie & Matt from Chilly Pepper &, I’m sure others who worked so very hard all thru that winter. Hope there is an investigation. Does this mean ISPMB was allowed to keep or get more horses after that tragedy?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen of ISPMB shouldn’t be allowed to own ANY animal whatsoever. I hope that someone is monitoring the condition of those she has now. She continued to send requests for donations long after her ‘sanctuary’ was shut down, she is an abuser AND a scam artist. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, and No. Hoarder, mismanaging by not expanding, hiring the right managers, releasing control, never admitting things were getting way out of control, Yes. No, several decades of fighting for, investigating, rescuing, working 12 hours a day in the worst weather and with true intentions but to dam stubborn to let others decide. After the reservation returned the majority of the horses everything went downhill because of the above. She would not listen to anyone. The one thing that was stressed to her was to hire professional managers, people who could take full care of the horses. The other was to buy a ranch large enough to support the growing herd and to grow her own hay.
    900 horses on 600 acres, hiring a manager that knew “nothing” about horse care or how to precure feed etc, yes was criminal and bordered on mental illness.
    The reason why the reservation returned the 600 plus horses off of their 100,000 plus acres is because of $$. She did not pay them the same rate livestock leasers did nor supplied them with $$ support for care. The horses were aging and were from a desert climate. She should of known you can not study population regulation when the horses are constantly stressed.
    I do not know how she is doing now with her 20, but I suspect they are cared for. ISPMB needs to be put into someone else’s hands and she needs to let go of the reins for the horses sake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Any person that for any reason allows horses or any living being to suffer like she did should never, ever be allowed to own animals again. I’ve heard many ‘reasons’ why the ISPMB disaster happened but they all point right back to Karen. Were animal abuse charges ever filed against her? Was she required to compensate anyone for their time and their costs helping those that she tortured? Was she required to undergo a mental evaluation before being allowed to continue to own animals? Was there an investigation into how she used the massive donations she received?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not to defend, but I am not sure what the Con is. Yes, she still has a small herd, yes she still has the organization and is trying to put it back with a full board, and yes she has legal right to do so. Is she hoarding again? and how?
      I would not support her, but ISPMB still does have horses.
      I agree she should not be IN charge of Wild Horse Anne’s ranch, nor be allowed to be part of ISPMB, at least as a caregiver, but she is. So, it is not a con, not really. Maybe if Ms Powers did get on the board, and a few other wild horse people, than they can have Sussman removed.


      • I have often wondered what became of Sussman and the few horses she was allowed to keep by law.

        It seems to me a substantial case can be made that her nonprofit was mismanaged. It should be independently audited and the IRS should scrutinize all the funding received, donations credited to donors, and how the funds were used. It is a red flag that the Board of Directors was essentially missing in action, and Karen was more or less “President for life” which is NOT what the privilege granted a nonprofit is supposed to look like.

        If fraud is proven some or all the donations would be taxable, and those who claimed a tax writeoff for donations would also lose that credit. So the IRS should really step in and make a determination before any further fundraising happens.


      • Please read her press release…it speaks volumes, and she DID Con Stefanie as she was not transparent about her past nor present. Simply pure BS.


  4. A few salient points:

    1. Stefanie was asked to join an ADVISORY COUNCIL, not the Board of Directors. Those referenced in the press release are also simply advisors as well, not legally in the driver’s seat for the nonprofit organization at all.

    2. Looking up ISPMB on Guidestar and Charity Navigator brings up a “FAILING” score from CN (I can’t access Guidestar without creating an account) of 54 out of 100.

    Organization to Prevent Cruelty to Animals | EIN: 94-6169422 | Rapid City, SD

    FROM THE ISPMB WEBSITE (which does not disclose who the Board of Directors actually are, nor Karen’s position):
    “The International Society for the Protection of Mustang and Burros is an effective international leader in our field because we have earned the respect and credibility of the many diverse participants in the Wild Horse and Burro program.”

    On the home page is a letter recently addressed to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, signed by Karen Sussman, President.

    ISPMB is making a plea to have the Heber herd “studied” for 5-7 years, presumably by hiring ISPMB to do so. Oddly, they mention in the letter that the Heber herd “is the ONLY herd remaining on public lands whose band structures have not been disrupted over a long period of time.” Yet it’s been repeatedly discovered and reported that mass shootings of wild horses in the Apache Sitgreaves herd/s have gone unchecked, and the offenders never brought to justice.

    “This herd must be studied as first recommended by the NAS over for the next five to seven years. The study must be contracted out to an outside source agreeable to the Forest Service and ISPMB, who sued the FS and stopped the removal of these horses in 2006-2007.
    In understanding the history of the program narrated on pages 5 through 10 in this document, it is understandable that the selection of a university and scientists involved should be a joint decision, especially in view of the fact of ISPMB’s current knowledge on managing wild horses. Having agreed upon outside scientists, ecologists, behaviorists and habitat specialists will help to restore trust in the results of the monitoring data.” It is worth recalling ISPMB falsely claimed Princeton University was providing support and research in the past, and that given their “management” history it makes little sense to claim ISMPB “must” approve of any contractors should this “study” proposal move forward.

    They further claim “ISPMB is the ONLY organization to have studied four wild herds…” which is patently false, and they surely know this.


    (caveat: I am not a member of any advocacy organization, simply a citizen interested in these matters. I do not know Karen Sussman or any donors, advisory council, or designated board members of the ISPMB).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this insight. Sad. And the innocent wild ones are always the losers in these situations. Sad.


      • Thank you for the update on the non profit filings, I was wondering about that. Now, I heard about the Heber herd and am so excited a study may be preformed with them. But, totally disappointed Karen Sussman is behind this. She would destroy that chance.
        But, for the Heber horses, yes they have had shootings. All factors determine natural sustainable population ecology and yes the shootings have been a factor. Within the last three/five years 10% of the herd has been shot by a sociopath, whether it was our gov. or a mad man, it still is a factor that the horses use to determine birth rate. It would be the same if they lost members via predation. Even though this stress was put on them, also the stress of 965 AUMS per year, the stress of fencing and area being taken from them, They the horses still have not been victims of Pzp nor Roundups. They have stabilized naturally.
        Please do not degrade the Heber horses because of Karen. This is a herd that HAS the potential to teach people the ONE THING that is always left out of the conversation. POPULATION self REGULATION, a term that has been studied worldwide on many other mammals and what has been done on horses does show they are very tuned to their environmental signals that regulate breeding. There are other herds in the US that have been rounded up but not within the last 10 or more years that could be part of a study.
        Right now, since they are behind it than Karen needs to be publicly removed from the administration due to her past. If they go on and on about Karen instead of agreeing to a study this herd will be reduced to 52, pzped and other horses added in from time to time. — they were thinking of adding quarter horse stallions. What the F is that but messing with unique genetics and characteristics.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sadly, the USFS is full steam ahead on their course that heads to roundup of the Heber horses. They were court ordered to do certain assessments (all detailed on their web site, if you haven’t read). Why did they not commission a real genetic study, by qualified, independent scientists? They have not provided accurate population data, and the EA documents are full of projections that are based on who knows what. (If you haven’t read, highly recommend.)
      The last thing the Heber need are a con artist like this person. I think even the FS would have the sense not to bite.
      I hope the leaders and members of the wild horse and equine communities will join together to push for this not fully resolved situation to be handled properly and conclusively.
      She has done enormous damage, and it is thanks to tireless heroes like Elaine and countless others who devoted time, money, resources that the horses who survived the horror were saved.
      And this lesson of a sanctuary operating with so little oversight and resisting attempts by HSUS and others to help needs to be well learned and never allowed to happen again.
      ISPMB was an iconic org, was it not?
      And weren’t many rounded up wild horses sent to them by BLM and FS? Not acceptable that those agencies provided so oversight, as they never seem to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curious this is all surfacing after 5 years and already . . . is it because they wrote a letter to support these horses . . . and want to become active again . . . anyway it is waking up questions. ?


  6. Karen has a disease…hoarding…which is chronic and blinds the human to logic and reality. Hoarders make victims, be it family or animals.
    It is a difficult disease to bring under control even if the hoarder were deeply motivated to try to rein it in. That’s based on observation not medical qualifications.
    In Karen’s case, she is still motivated by desire to possess. To have many horses under the guise of proving a theory.
    She obviously cannot control that urge. Public agencies and the courts must put the brakes on her organization.
    But private citizens must always watch her actions and report a “breakout” because the public sector doesn’t have the monitoring apparatus.


    • Really, Now?
      It has been what 5 years and Now? Gossip now could not be the worse time. yes she did more than anyone to stop the Heber horses from being rounded up and pzped. for over 15 years this herd has settled into a self sustained herd and keeps its own pop. in check with it own unique stressors that factor this trait. Cattle, yes, predators, yes, drought and even man, all factors. So yes, she does have a vested interest to save these horses.

      So, instead of Gossip and ya much may be true, but we do not want to spread it over the internet so the FS will use this as an excuse not to pull the plug on taking this unique herd away. Wait on your gossip, until they are saved. Use your time writing the Dep. Of Ag. to make this herd a study herd. by NAS that is what is being asked for. and yes, this article is popping up

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL she did nothing to stop the Heber horses from being rounded up! You need to do some research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      • Debra L Mykitiak, no matter who filed in court-2005 for the injunction, although that organization did. Just hope the current style of management groups keep their hands off of Heber. We want them to stay unmanaged, nonvac, protected and free to be wild, nor herded to locations where the old no longer can teach the young the survival skills needed for their particular areas.

        To date many management groups, albeit think they are doing right, but have gone to far in taking away or up structing native wild behavior. Something that is past down and biologically unique from parent group to youth for decades, hundreds if not thousands of years. This goes for the type of feed, putting up migration barriers, and pzp etc. etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. She never “worked with” real scientists, geneticists or Princeton University. I wrote to the professor she named and he quickly set the record straight. There was no IACUC meeting to discuss “her” protocol, the summer student who went out there to make observations couldn’t use any of the data, there was no paper written.

    She is a liar, plain and simple. She stole money from clueless donors, didn’t pay her bills, didn’t pay hay suppliers, didn’t grow her own and never once tried to limit the number of foals born and too many were born. She was responsible for them as their owner and took lousy care of her horses – under the guise of a 501c3.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I cannot believe the audacity of Karen Sussman. I am floored that she even has the nerve to show her face in the horse world. Now she has a petition out. I will not lend my name to anything this horrid woman is attached to.


  9. Sussman should never be allowed near another horse again as long as she lives! She needs to go crawl back under her rock and stay out of any business that has to do with any horses. Anyone that is falling with her newest scam of a petition to save the Heber horses needs to understand that that is exactly what it is….a SCAM!


    • Her petition is not for her, wish she was not sending off the petition, but it is done. The petition is for what the horses need and that is an outside gov. like NAS to do a 7 year study, completely hands off, pzp off, etc, or to say a study of the native wild horse as they are within this particular herd area that does share with livestock. So, it is not a SCAM. and if this does not go — the study — it is because of your negative voices.
      her capitalizing is something different, wait on your neg. remarks until after the STUDY is approved. please otherwise you are inflating the two as one of the same. and than it will fail, after the study is approved gossip at will.


  10. It’s not gossip to state the known FACTS about this woman. She lied, cheated and neglected animals in a horrendous scandal that is widely known and published already.

    There is NO WAY she should be granted another opportunity to lie, cheat and harm more animals. Her credibility is already shot and of course her petition will be denied by the Department of Agriculture. Somebody with “clean hands” should have submitted the request.

    I support the idea of the Heber herd being used as a Study Herd but will not sign the petition created by Karen Sussman of ISPMB. She needs to stay far away from the Heber herd.

    Liked by 1 person

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