The first time Sonja found a Thoroughbred at New Holland, she photographed his tattoo. After the auction she logged on to The Jockey Club's website, identified the doomed creature as Beau Jaques, a 5-year-old gelding, and contacted his former owners. By then it was too late to save the horse, who had been dispatched by a bullet at the Richelieu Meats slaughterhouse in Quebec. Beau Jaques' owner had given him to a woman named Kelsey Lefever, a scam artist who promised to rehabilitate retired horses but sold them for slaughter instead.
After Animals' Angels helped uncover her deception, Lefever was fired from her job as a riding instructor and received five years probation for theft, during which she will not be allowed to own horses.
(Read more about LeFever here)
Hawser, a turf horse who raced successfully at Colonial Downs, was also traded in the parking at New Holland but had a happier ending. Working with a friend in California, Sonja identified Hawser and contacted his owner, Maryland trainer Kim Boniface, before the truck left for Canada. After Hawser's racing career ended, Boniface had sold him for $1 to a riding instructor who promised to give the horse to a little girl. She was horrified to learn he was on a slaughter truck.Sonja first reached Boniface's mother, who told her, "Can't be, because Kim gave him to a good home."