Philadelphia Inquirer
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
July 4, 2013

An animal-rights group is seeking to press criminal charges against the owner of a South Jersey rodeo where it alleges a horse died Saturday as a result of foul play.

The group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), says a Cowtown Rodeo official shocked a horse with an electric prod to get it riled up for the event - a charge the rodeo's owner denies.

A video the group uploaded to YouTube shows a man poking the horse, nine-year-old Duke, with what appears to be a metal rod as it waits to enter the Pilesgrove arena. Less than a half-minute later, Duke falls down. The rodeo's veterinarian determined that Duke died of an aneurysm of the aorta.

A statement on Cowtown's website called the cause of death a "natural (although rare) occurrence."

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