No charges planned in rodeo-prod case

December 8, 2002

Orange County Register (California)

Then: Irvine resident Pat Vinet shot a videotape that she said showed a cowboy with the Flying U Rodeo applying an electrical prod to a horse just before the chute gate was opened. Such prods can be used to zap a horse to make it buck more wildly. The video, taken in August at Oaks Blenheim Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park near San Juan Capistrano, was sent to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Rodeo owner Cotton Rosser said his cowboys use a small electrical prod that does not harm the horses. He said the prod is modified to produce a buzzing sensation or rattle, not a harmful shock.

The device is made for use on livestock and is legal, he said.

Now: A lack of evidence means no charges will be filed, Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Henderson said Friday.

Vinet, a member of the Illinois-based group Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, said she will take her complaint to state Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

``Frankly, I wonder if there isn't something amiss here,'' she said.

``If it's just making a rattling sound, why not put it next to the horse's ear? My tape shows the horses jumping out of their skins. ... The rodeo people have not heard the last of us.''