Laura Bell: to Barbara Benson – while we saved horses – so many horses were executed because of your type of careless, thoughtless behavior

(It is the policy of Frank Report to air all sides of a controversy and we have one now. It is about horse rescuers and their rather vicious abuse – if not of the horses – of each other. In this editorial by Laura Bell, she explains how Barbara Benson has been effectively taking the side of controversial horse rescuers Michelle Knutilla and Romney Snyder. She also claims that Michelle and Romney tried to sabotage her own horse rescue operation. 

It is important to note that at this point, Frank Report takes no side in this dispute, and until we investigate it further, it would be improper to make any judgment. It has come to my attention, however, that there are some who are critical of the fact that Frank Report is giving both sides space to present their point of view.

This unfortunately cannot be helped. I have found that only by airing both sides of an issue does the truth ultimately emerge.  I have little doubt that some important truths about the horse rescue business and/or charity will emerge from this debate. All are welcome to comment. 

As a final word– I have found that the more fact-driven, rational and polite a writer is, the more it seems to be persuasive to readers in general. The rude writer – hurling insults at every opportunity – and always appealing to emotions – actually comes of as rather sophomoric and in the long run distracts from her own good points.) 


By Laura Bell

Thank you Barb, your performance exceeded even my expectations. See you in the next year. LOL.

Also, our defense attorney wasn’t on drugs, never in jail, or prison, so why are you defaming them?

Maybe you should get your timeline of occurrences and events in order instead of being purposely vague about a complex chain of events. The entire factual story is in the last chapter of the book; you’d be well served to read it so you stop digging yourself a deeper hole.

I’m thinking you stupidly gave several thousand dollars to Michelle Knutilla & company for their defense, but once again, your one-off vagueness and childish potshots are designed to inflame others who are too lazy to look for and deal in facts and truth.

In my opinion, so many horses were executed because of your type of careless, thoughtless behavior, it really is tragic.

A bit of advice going forward: make sure you gather up all of the vet reports and other documentation for our horses so you have them when I see you. Kind of hard to do that when you never saw our horses, don’t know their names, their histories, their ages, pretty much nothing about those horses.

Oh, you were also never even at our property, correct? So let’s see, whose photos, videos, and writings are you using? That’s right, Michelle’s! LOL.

A woman I only maybe met three times in person at the feedlot when she was there to transport feedlot horses (to this day I’ve never seen, let alone met, Romney in person), who was also only at my fishbowl property one time for maybe an hour.

Interesting fact: all of our horses were easily viewable for anyone to see from all four sides of our unfenced property that didn’t have trees (we didn’t live in the great piney woods, surrounded by trees blocking views of horses, and we actually had sick horses next to a well traveled road).

And gee, if she was so concerned about what she “found”, she could have called me to come home to find out what was happening and express her concerns (Hint: if she had done that, she wouldn’t have been able to stage photos and videos and instead I would have walked her around while we talked, videoing our conversation, explaining the illnesses we’d been dealing with for months that she already knew about, histories on other horses, dangerous behavioral issues on many of our gorgeous healthy horses (horses she would have thrown down some grain and shot while they were eating ….. not nice seeing as people like us are happy to care for them), etc.

Michelle could have called animal control (she didn’t), or the sheriff (she didn’t), etc. But no, she couldn’t get out of there fast enough, after theatrically calling my name when she KNEW no one was home because I told her that when we talked on the phone that morning.

Things became crystal clear the next day when Michelle and Romney attempted blackmail on us in a PM wanting to cherry pick through our 50 healthy horses and would leave “the sanctuary type horses” (the acutely and chronically ill) with us because “they should stay with you Laura”.


On her videos, she states -paraphrasing- “They’re all like this (skinny)” as she’s making sure to hold her camera down so as not to show the array of healthy horses, 22 troughs with water in them, etc.

Barbara, you and many others were snookered, but unlike many who decided to be fair and look deeper, you’re showing your true colors (I wish it weren’t so because you actually sound like a caring person with the work you put in at the Ontario auction and elsewhere) and continue to attack my family.

So before you really think showing staged photos and videos that Michelle took of 15-20 acutely or chronically ill horses that she knew nothing about other than what I had told Romney about, trying for several months to treat sick horses brought home from the feedlot that managed to infect some of our long-term residents, is going to prove your point, you, of all people, should read our book and maybe than you’ll see how you’re still being used by Michelle and Romney.

Suffice to say that we proved to authorities that, instead of killing horses to get them off our feed bill and dispose of them to keep the likes of people like you from attacking us, (which you’re still engaging in nearly 5 1/2 YEARS after the fact), we chose to spend our own money, as we always have, for 25 years at this point, to care for them.

We didn’t shoot them and we also didn’t ask our vet to do it, because the horses needed help and wanted to live.

I pray for your sake Barbara that if you get old, are diseased, are skinny, lame, etc. that you will have people to help you instead of them wanting you to “hurry up and die” because you’re a money-pit of need and care, and also a ball and chain no one wants to take care of.

That does happen to people (I volunteered at a senior center and care facility and it was heartbreaking to watch), but happens to animals by the hundreds of thousands/millions annually because many/most people can’t or won’t take care of animals, especially big eating horses, that have no purpose, or can’t perform anymore (as Hitler’s T4 Euthanasia Program stated, they are “unworthy of living”).

We’ve always been a place for the past 25 years (long before we filed as a nonprofit in 2011.)

I hope you didn’t and don’t think that we just began rescuing in 2011 and/or from the feedlot in October 2012 because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s all in the last chapter of our book. You really should read it and you’d see how you’re still being used by hucksters.

At our place, horses with behavioral and/or physical-health issues could come to where they’d have friends and love and we don’t kill them just because we don’t want to spend our hard earned money on them. Even the most dangerous horses just need time to become more peaceful once they know we place no expectations of performance on them. We care for them the rest of their lives because in the wrong hands they may revert, hurt or kill someone, and disappear into the slaughter pipeline.

But now, over five years later, we still get attacked by uninformed people like you that are still doing Michelle and Romney’s dirty work.

So rather than being attacked again, and as heartbreaking as it is for us, we don’t take horses with chronic, progressive health issues anymore, and they often go through one of the weekly kill sales, or are sold directly to the feedlot. Their end is the same via either type of sale/disposal: inhumane, horrific commercial slaughter in Canada at the end of a chain.

I feel bad about it everyday, especially when I’ve just told someone “no, I’m sorry, in the past we would have taken your old gelding in, but we don’t anymore because we’ll get attacked for having a horse with his condition”.

So if you really are compassionate Barbara, and also a horse lover, maybe you can dwell on the fact regarding why Michelle only posted the minority of our horses we had at the time (15-20) that were acutely and/or chronically ill/geriatric, while not showing the 50 that were “fat and happy’s” (Romney wrote that) that they thought they’d cherry pick through, leaving us with the ill/old ones that weren’t usable/adoptable.

When I said “no, I’m calling animal control out here first thing Monday morning” (written on Saturday) the proverbial shit hit the fan and the social media mob attacks began that nearly destroyed our lives.

People like you just keep the attacks and defamation going, but at least we never decided we’d simply execute horses as your friends Michelle and Romney did while pocketing millions of dollars in donations earmarked for caring for them.

Hopefully you’ll be introspective and will figure out why you’re allowing yourself to continue to be used by Michelle, Romney, and others on the other side of the fence from them.

I’m happy to speak to you on the phone as I have with many other people, but I understand if you’re stuck in your position because it’s hard admitting you were/are being used.



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  • What a KOK !
    You know absolutely nothing about Ms Benson !
    Ms Benson has done more to help save and help those in need than Ms Bells could imagine .
    Ms.Benson happens to be very generous.

  • I personally can’t believe what I just read. What a despicable human being you are Laura Bell. I have been friends with BB for years! She spent her time, money, and energy to shut down HiCaliber. Then nut jobs like you get air time to run good advocates down? Makes sense though, good advocates were your downfall too weren’t they?

  • Laura,
    You keep saying, that you will see me next year.
    I am not sure, if that is meant as a threat or an invitation ( your book tour maybe?).
    I want to believe it is the latter. I really do.
    Either way.

    Girl, I had no idea, that you are planning a trip to Europe, since that is where I will be. That is so exciting!
    Please hit me up once you are there. I would love to show you around.
    Bring your book, so I can read it.


    PS: If you ever think about making your book into a movie, let me know.
    I will happily assist you with packaging and the pitch. I am a producer after all.

  • Laura Bell is yesterday’s news yet you keep giving her a platform to pimp her book and spew her bullshit. (You could play a drinking game for every time she mentions “her book”).

    So, are you for the animals Frank? Do you care about all the horses needlessly shot by Michelle as well as her other crimes committed? Do you care about real the reason we are all here? Or just prefer to give airtime to someone with a personal axe to grind?

    Do you actually care about justice or do you just like being amused at attempting to cause cat fights?

    This is about Michelle Knuttila and Hicaliber not Laura Bell.

    • Another anonymous commenter. I suppose I might post anonymously too if I felt guilty and partially to blame for Michelle shooting and disappearing hundreds of horses that hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations were given to rescue them, and its because of my blind support, and even my money, that they were shot and disappeared.
      Thankfully, that never happened because I’m not a follower, and I ask a lot of questions of entirely, or primarily donation-funded rescues. But because its just as Dr. Henneke (you do know who he is, right Disbelief?) wrote in a statement he issued in March 2012 on behalf of a victim of a wrongful seizure (, people like my husband and I who had our lives turned upside down because of wrongful attacks that went viral on social media, and also based on recent comments, we are “stained for life”.
      Its sad that so many people profess to care about horses and other animals, but they can’t be bothered to be educated in how to avoid being scammed by rescues just because its us who wrote a book about the rescue industry (our story is in the last chapter of a 360 page book). Or, I can look at it another way and know that the people who are reading our book are the true animal lovers, while those who post anonymously are pseudo-animal lovers at best in my opinion and experience.

    • And where did this anonymous blogger at the link provided by Equus get their mis- information about us? Granted, our place outside the corrals was ramshackle and junky at best, but the “wild horse videos” I did prior to the attacks on us clearly showed our whole property, including our horses, wild horses roaming all over our unfenced property outside the corrals, etc, and no one had a problem with our property….odd that all of a sudden it became a big deal. But then again, the only people paying for anything at our property was us so what was the problem?
      To answer my question Equus, that blogger got their “information” from your fearless leader Michelle Knuttila Cochran. Or are you Michelle, or Robyn, or Romney, or any number of other people that are in hot water? We’d know for sure if you’d stop being an anonymous armchair critic and stand up loud and proud with your “truth and facts”.

  • When was Barbara ever a HiCaliber fan? She wasn’t. This nonsense discredits Laura and Frank equally. Laura is raving away putting out completely false information. Go ahead Laura, show us the proof that BB ever supported HC. And don’t ask us to pay for that proof!

    • “Facts much”, all Barbara will need to show is that she is dealing in facts about us. Simple.
      And by defaming me and mine with lies, in my opinion Barbara is supporting HC, as are you by writing I’m putting out false information. You may not mean to do it, but several people, including my husband and I, have thousands of pages of written documentation, and also factual photographic and video documentation compiled over the past nearly 5 1/2 years regarding michelle & company committing fraud (amongst other things) from mid-August 2013 to just a few months ago (they’re lying low, so I’m not privy to what they’re doing recently).
      And who are you referring to when you write “And don’t ask us to pay for that proof”? Like so many people we’ve been attacked and defamed by over the past nearly 5 1/2 years, I haven’t a clue who you are “Facts much”, nor do I know who “us” is. If you’d simply comment using your own name that would make the playing field more level. But in the meantime, as I imagine you’d do too, I will continue question those strangers that seem to think its normal behavior to attack people they don’t know and continue to impact those peoples lives in a negative way just because they’re not nice people. And the saddest thing of all is that NOT EVEN ONE PERSON that has attacked and defamed us over the past 5+ years has asked how our horses were/are……that speaks volumes regarding who they are as people that pretend to care about animals when they actually couldn’t care less about them.

  • i took some time out to read shed row confessions, a blog which is clearly the FR equivalent for the Horse killing scam, and I learned that you ms. Bell are part of the problem, masquerading as narcissistic cult members often do, as part of a solution.

    • Wyokf, you’re just another anonymous, cowardly commenter in a long line of them that wouldn’t know facts if they were bitten in the ass by them.

      When you decide to be brave, let’s chat, but until then, stay behind the curtain coward.

  • Laura, you need help. Obviously, you have had a difficult time moving on. Attacking animal advocates like Barbara Benson who is not a HiCaliber supporter is just crazy cruel. In fact, Barbara has been very supportive in helping to end the nightmare for the horses at that so called rescue. Perhaps you shoulder guilt for bringing MIchelle and Romney together. I don’t know, but I am very tired of your endless rants all over the internet. I am hoping Frank Report will now put you on ignore.

      • She, you (Waiting), and all of the other anonymous commenters (at least Barbara decided to be honest about her identity) that continue to attack me with nothing but fiction are all supporters and enablers of HC.
        And seriously, are you that cowardly that you use an anonymous username to post two short sentences. What are you anonymous women afraid of?

  • Seriously Frank, you’re giving the wrong person air time. While I think Barbara is somewhat of a snoot, she never backed HiCaliber. She has been a big warrior against them. This whole blog is so off base. Laura Bell neglected horses, it’s a fact. She made money off the backs of horses fighting for their lives. By giving her one more minute of air time you are discrediting your whole goal. At this point though, no one is sure what your goal is? Is Laura a friend of yours? She’s a fraud and an abuser, just like Michelle. Your readers that hooked on to this because of HiCaliber and the wish to see them fail will be long gone if this continues.

    • Come on Amused, if you’re dealing in facts, why then are you posting anonymously? Never mind, intelligent, sensible, honest people know why.

      At least Barbara told her real name, but all you other anonymous commenters are really pathetic because if I were you and I actually had facts at my fingertips, I’d be happy to use my real name and meet you whenever, wherever in order to prove what I’m saying about you is true. Next.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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