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SHARK lawsuit dismissed

By BETHANY KRAJELIS

Kane County Chronicle
August 1, 2008

See more about this at ShameOnCheyenne.com

GENEVA – A lawsuit against the Geneva-based animal rights group SHARK was dismissed by a Wyoming judge this week.

In April, Romeo Entertainment Group sued SHARK – Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, claiming the group used "false and misleading information" to persuade entertainers to cancel rodeo performances at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.

A judge dismissed the case on Wednesday, ruling the Nebraska booking company filed the case in the wrong state.

Kent Rutledge, the attorney representing Romeo, said on Friday that his client may pursue the case by appealing the judge's decision or filing the lawsuit in Oklahoma or Illinois.

"(The judge) made no decision on the merit of the case," he said, adding that Romeo's legal counsel has not yet made a decision on their next move.

Steve Hindi, SHARK's president, said the group was pleased with the outcome of the case, one he felt never had any legal basis.

"If they file in Illinois, we'll keep fighting," Hindi said. "We educate people about cruelty to animals. We educate as many people as we can and that's what happened here."

According to court documents, the entertainment group has booked entertainers for Cheyenne Frontier Days for the past 20 years.

When SHARK made contact with Carrie Underwood in 2006 and Matchbox Twenty in 2008 about their scheduled performances, both artists withdrew from their shows.

Romeo argues SHARK's actions resulted in a financial loss of more than $100,000, as well as damage to its reputation and costs associated with the canceled shows.

Hindi said the group took pictures and video footage of the rodeo, as well as other rodeos, over the past few years, to use as educational and awareness materials on YouTube and its Web site.

This week, Hindi's group met with representatives from the Cheyenne Frontier Days to discuss their concerns.

But Hindi said regardless of the lawsuit and meeting, Hindi said "if we see things that are wrong, we feel its our duty to show people."