Starlight Sanctuary. The Story Exposed.

This story is part of the Public Record.

In 2013 Laura Bell and Rick Bell were running their Starlight Sanctuary and attempting to re-home horses they rescued from places like the Fallon feed lot. Laura was working with Romney Snyder, who is today the CEO of Hi-Caliber Horse Rescue, before Romeny was involved with Hi-Caliber. Romney helped Laura with Logistics and Placement. Romney used a hauler who was an ACO Animal Control Officer named Michelle Knutilla. Michelle is the founder of Hi-Caliber.

(Laura Bell with some of her animals)


There was a horse named Guinness who was adopted out but he was found to be lame at his new owners. He was in good weight when he was adopted but not sound. Laura offered to take the horse back to get it well and after 2 months, Guinness would go back to the new owners after rehab. Romney called Michelle to pick up the horse after the 2 month timeframe but Laura delayed the pick up over and over.

After a while Michelle came to get Guinness herself as the owner needed her horse back and that was the agreement. So Michelle had the address and did not tresspass. Michelle came upon the property and found it to be very bad. The horses were very skinny and many of them had no food and water. Some of the horses that were Laura Bell’s personal horses were in fine shape. There were also many dogs on the property that lived in trash filled runs and were skinny.

Michelle took video of the property when she looked for Guinness and later posted it on Facebook but it was taken down. Another concerned animal rescuer put the videos on Youtube and this blog will post them later. Take warning they are graphic and show the animals in a bad state.

To this point Romney did not know of the bad conditions of the Sanctuary. She assumed Laura ran a good rescue and took good care of her animals since Romney lived in California and did not ever visit Starlight Sanctuary. So to see the videos and the report from Michelle, Romney was very upset. She was also upset at the state Guinness was in as he was skinny and not healthy despite Laura Bell’s promise to get him well.

(After Guiness was re-rescued, he was very skinny. This photo is what he looked like at Starlight Sanctuary.)

Romney also was very concerned for Laura because Romney believed Laura needed help and did not know how bad the sanctuary was and considered each other friends.

Michelle told Romney she would report Starlight Sanctuary for animal cruelty as obligation because she was an ACO. She reported it to the local authorities and the authorities said there were skinny horses on the property. Michelle reported it and Laura was given warning so she had time to make sure the animals had food and water. Here is an article about the property:

Now Laura and Romney were not on good terms and Romney decided to leave Starlight Sanctuary and help Michelle.

Michelle posted the videos and pictures on Facebook and this led to people becoming angry over the bad conditions.

Laura Bell and Rick Bell a year or so later filed a lawsuit against Michelle and Romney and every person who commented on the Facebook post. They eventually lost the lawsuit and it was dismissed.

In the next blog the videos will be posted as a fellow animal rescuer sent me their link. Stay tuned and you can watch them for yourselves.


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