Rodeo Victims Betrayed by Sacramento SPCA
There is something very, very wrong in Sacramento County, California, where rodeo animals are being betrayed by the very organization that is supposed to protect them. The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) is ignoring video documentation of violations of California state law, and is instead protecting rodeo thugs caught abusing animals.
In July 2002, a SHARK investigator videotaped employees of the Flying U Rodeo Company as they used a device delivering over 5,000 volts of electricity to force rodeo animals to "perform" out of pain and fear. One horse was also hit in the face with a bottle as she was being shocked.
The investigator turned her videotape over to police, who in turned gave it to the SSPCA which is charged with investigating and recommending prosecution for animal abuse.
For months after receiving the video evidence the SSPCA simply did not take action. At first SSPCA personnel used stall tactics, apparently believing SHARK would forget about the rodeo victims. We didn't. When the SSPCA claimed it lost the videotapes, we sent more. Then they simply stopped responding to our phone calls and E-mail.
In February 2003, seven months after the criminal animal abuse at the Folsom rodeo, SHARK went public with our concerns about the SSPCA. The SSPCA responded, agreeing to meet with us to discuss the evidence.
In March 2003, the same SHARK investigator who shot the footage of the Folsom rodeo animal abuse met with SSPCA Board President Valerie Reynoso, and SSPCA and SSPCA Acting Director Maryanne Subbotin. The meeting did not go well.
Incredibly, Reynoso and Subbotin told our investigator that because the rodeo victims were shocked as the chute gate was opening, there was no violation of California law. That is false and utterly ridiculous.
The California law pertaining to the use of electric shock reads as follows:
"The rodeo management shall ensure that no electric prod or similar device is used on any animal once the animal is in the holding chute, unless necessary to protect the participants and spectators of the rodeo."
Clearly, according to state law, once the animal is in a chute, the prod is not to be used again for the duration of the animal's "performance." Additionally, representatives of the Hot-Shot Corporation (manufacturer of the shock device) have publicly stated that the device is not made for use in rodeos, and should not be used on horses at all.
Also, the use of the shock device on a bull in a chute specifically violates the rules of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Cotton Rosser's Flying U Rodeo Company is a PRCA stock contractor.
Granted, PRCA "humane rules" exist for public relations purposes only -- they are nothing more than a sham, and to our knowledge they have never been enforced. However, the rules demonstrate that the Rodeo Mafia acknowledges the use of electric shock on animals trapped in chutes is inhumane.
This means that California state law, the shock device manufacturer, and even the rodeo association's own rules all point to the rodeo company being guilty of cruelty. Nevertheless, the SSPCA refuses to take action! Why?
Interestingly, in southern California, the District Attorney of Los Angeles County is taking a very different position from the SSPCA. In Los Angeles County, PRCA rodeo producer John Growney is facing cruelty charges for shocking animals at a rodeo in San Dimas last summer. Growney's violations occurred in the same state, and he is being prosecuted, while the SSPCA is ignoring animal abuse and protecting the animal abusers in Sacramento County.
SHARK president Steve Hindi wrote an E-mail to Ms. Reynoso and Ms. Subbotin, asking them to put their position in writing, and they have not responded. Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People magazine has also requested an explanation from the SSPCA leadership, but again there has been no response.
So why would the SSPCA betray rodeo victims? We don't know, and at this point we don't care. All that matters is that the decision makers at the SSPCA are protecting animal abusers instead of animal victims. The betrayal of rodeo victims demonstrates that the board and management of the SSPCA needs a complete overhaul.
Please send your comments to these animal traitors at the following:
SSPCA Board President Valerie Reynoso
SSPCA Acting Director Maryanne Subbotin
You may also write to Director Maryanne Subbotin at:
Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
6201 Florin-Perkins Road
Sacramento, CA 95828
Footage from the Folson Rodeo
There are three men on the other side of the horse in the chute. The man in the middle uses a device to send over 5,000 volts of pain into the horse to force it to perform. This is a violation of California state law. The slow motion clip may help you spot the violation.
Again there are three men on the other side of the horse in the chute. Again it is the man in the middle illegally shocking another horse. In addition, the man in the right corner of the screen is hitting the horse in the face with a bottle! The slow motion clip may help you spot the violation.
Watch carefully -- the man in the white shirt and hat has pulled the bull's tail through the fence, and he is shocking the victim's tail! The slow motion clip may help you spot the violation.
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