Remember the story of that Pennsylvania horse trainer who took in over 100 ex-racehorses, promising to give them a good home, and then sent them all to slaughter? She won’t be going to prison.
Kelsey Lefever, 24, of Honeybrook, in Chester County, waived her preliminary hearing on four counts of theft by deception on Tuesday in a Dauphin County court. A fifth charge, that she had engaged in deceptive business practices, was withdrawn by prosecutors. She is due for arraignment on April 19.
Lefever avoided prison by agreeing to enter a program for first-time offenders. She is banned for life from obtaining a Pennsylvania thoroughbred racing license (which means she is barred from any racetrack employment, including horse training). Also, she is banned from acquiring any additional horses for a two-year probation period.
One of the more prominent allegations involved a 5-year-old retired racer named Beau Jacques, who was given to Lefever by owner Kevin Patterson along with 10 bags of feed, $200 and a promise to provide further funds if needed. According to court documents, the horse could not longer race due to an injury and Patterson spent about $10,000 in veterinary care in hopes that the horse could go on to enjoy a new career. He gave Lefever his horse on the understanding that she would provide Beau Jacques with a long retirement, if not a new career, and that he would not be sold for meat under any circumstances. Lefever agreed, and Patterson responded that if it ever didn’t work out for the horse, he wanted him back.
A week later the horse was recognized on the trailer of a known kill buyer.
One witness, a horse dealer, quoted Lefever in an affadavit as saying, “I killed every one of those f—ing horses, over 120 of them, if only they knew. I only have five left and the ones you have. Every one of them is dead.
“I don’t even know their names and there wasn’t a god–n thing they could do about it because they gave me those horses.”
The case has sparked anger amongst horse owners and animal welfare advocates throughout the country.