Many people are unaware of the backgrounds of Laura and Rick Bell and their accomplishments in the world of horse, dog and cat rescue. For 24 years they have run a rescue/sanctuary/hospice but because of the nature of the animals they cared for they only looked for publicity in recent years and self-funded their sanctuary/hospice for the entire 24 years because they didn’t want to rely on other peoples generosity that could disappear. Laura Bell is the more accomplished animal person of the two as she has devoted her life to caring for animals.
Laura is a highly educated equestrian and has been an accomplished trainer, instructor and competitor for over 40 years. While she is not a registered vet tech, she had the many years long experience of working with and for the well-known Dr. Robert Miller. Dr. Miller was her personal vet for 16 years. Her accomplishments as an instructor, trainer and competitor will match those of any other person in California, and also Nevada where she moved to in 1992. Laura has extensive professional references and a resume that can be fact-checked as true.
Growing up, Laura experienced the benefits of living in an animal friendly household. Her mother was someone who law enforcement relied on to care for injured animals including raptors, foxes, raccoons, chipmunks, opossums, rabbits, rats, small birds, etc. These interactions helped develop her sense of duty with respect to injured, unwanted and discarded animals.
In Southern CA in the late-’70’s, throughout the 80’s, into the early 90’s (Laura moved to Nevada in July 1992) Laura attended the same sales HiCaliber attends today, where she and her clients bought/rescued all ages and types/breeds of horses from those sales at Mike’s Auction, Ontario, Pomona, Riverside, Lancaster, dating back to the truly nasty auction at El Monte. She had anywhere from 25-40 students/clients in training at any given time and was always looking to find horses for students utilizing the auctions and keeping horses from being bought by kill buyers such as David Meisner, Bob Franks, Slim Hart, and many more, while also finding nice horses that she and her students rehabbed as show horses, good trail horses, police horses, etc. These were real rescues from slaughter because horse slaughter dealings were still legal in CA up until November 3, 1998 and slaughterhouses that processed horses were still operating in many areas of the United States.
Michelle’s and Romney’s claims to be rescuing horses from slaughter is bogus and deceptive because horse slaughter has been illegal in California since Nov. 1998.
Rick’s interest in animals was also from an early age and he rescued many personal pets over the years. It was not until he met and married Laura 24 years ago that he could fulfill his desire to rescue animals on a larger scale. This was possible because he now had someone with great experience and compassion to care for the animals while he worked to provide the funds to support their rescue efforts.
Below are just a few of the accomplishments of Laura and Rick Bell and the Starlight Sanctuary/Hospice. Their reputation in Northern Nevada was that of extremely compassionate people who would, and have, gone without if it helps care for the animals in their charge.
It is important for readers to understand just how evil Michelle Cochran and Romney Snyder are. The Bells self-funded The Starlight Sanctuary for the past 24 years. They have spent $1,300,000 of their own money rescuing animals, supporting rescues by others and caring for the animals they rescued.
Laura and Rick rarely looked for animals to rescue because people who had animals that needed a home sought them out. They believe that all animals deserve to live, but they focus on those that cross their paths because they believe those animals were sent to them by God. They would NEVER resort to shooting healthy horses to avoid spending money on them. Only Michelle Cochran would do something that evil and that illegal.
Laura’s extensive background in horse maintenance got her hired to teach a popular, 2-credit course on horse care and barn management. One accomplishment was to assist many of her students in adopting formerly free-roaming wild horses from the BLM and advising them in their training.
In the past 24 years, The Starlight Sanctuary/Hospice has rescued over 40 dogs, 50 cats and over 800 horses. These rescues were all done behind the scene because the Bells were never into rescue for the accolades, or to make money like Michelle and Romney constantly do through the use of social media.
Information that Laura was able to obtain and provide to local, regional and national rescues organizations was instrumental in getting hundreds of McDermitt Indian Reservation horses saved from slaughter. Making this information public caused a lot of problems for the Bells. The Bells were attacked by the Nevada Dept. of AG for merely helping a few national wild and domestic advocacy groups who dropped the Bells like hot potatoes, then took credit for all of Laura’s hard work.
The Bells had an idea several years ago, and under the advise of a non-profit fund-raising expert, they became a 501(c)3 approved charity in September 2011. The advise was to apply to be a 501(c)3, and once they had that status for three years, they could show three years financial information, which would allow them to apply for substantial grand funding.
Oh yeah, the idea – the Bells wanted to create a charity that placed small- medium sized dogs that were at risk of euthanasia. These dogs were to go to the homes of seniors to improve and extend their lives. The charity would take care of all expenses including building a small yard, installing a doggie door, and providing the dogs food and also paying for routine veterinary care. The charity would also have volunteers that would clean the yard, bathe the dogs and take the dog to it’s vet appointments.
They knew Seniors would benefit from the companionship of a dog, but they had reservations because of their age, their health, their ability to care for their dog, etc. They were afraid about what would happen to the dog if something happened to them. If they got sick or died who would take care of the dog? Well, the charity would have a contract that said if the senior could no longer care for the dog because of illness, hospital stays, etc, the sanctuary would pick up the dog and take care of it until the senior was well. If the condition of the senior turned out to be permanent, or the senior passed away, the dog would be placed in a new home where they could do the most good.
That brings us to the feedlot rescues that Romney and Michelle garnered much knowledge, experience, and money. The feedlot rescues were the result of a chance sighting by Laura Bell of about 100 horses at the Fallon Livestock Auction Yard. Driving by, Laura saw 100 what turned out to be well-bred Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosa Horses. Most of these horses were purchased by the Bovary feedlot and were slated for slaughter.
Through a friend, Laura was introduced to the feedlot manager/kill buyer because although at the time of the Shasta Horse rescue Laura had lived in Nevada for over 20 years and gone to the kill sales in Fallon occasionally to outbid the kill buyers and kept horses from shipping to slaughter, she didn’t know the kill buyers and had never spoken to them. Considering the quality of the horses, (dubbed “the Shasta Horses” because of where they had come from off a ranch in Shasta, CA that had been stricken by wild fires in September 2012, Laura was compelled to ask the manager if she would let her try to find buyers for the horses.
This last minute attempt to save horses was such a success that it led to “The Fallon Feedlot Rescues” and ten months later, nearly 400 horses had been saved from slaughter and were in new private homes all over the United States (Laura did many “Going Home” videos as the rescued horses were leaving the feedlot en route to their new homes). This was to be the crown jewel of The Starlight Sanctuary rescues. It was to be used to show a great success that would lead to grant funding for the sanctuary, and to get the companion dogs for seniors program funded. The Bells spent approx. $20,000 of their own funds that they work to earn on the feedlot rescues.
If they hadn’t been willing to spend their own money financing the weekly rescues, the rescues would not have continued for 10 months and would have ceased after the initial Shasta Horse rescues and the “Kill Pen 10 Plus 7 Rescues” that were done in October/November 2012.
In Chapter 2 you will see how Michelle Cochran and Romney Snyder set-up the Bells and used lies, false reports and social media to accomplish what they had set out to accomplish. What they wanted was to steal the good will and reputation of the the Bells and the Starlight Sanctuary Hospice.