Advocate for animals says rodeo video is incriminating

The woman taped the event's use of electric prods and gave it to deputies.

November 15, 2002

Orange County Register (California)


Orange County sheriff's investigators are reviewing a complaint and videotape filed by an animal-rights advocate that alleges rodeo workers in August illegally used electric prods on horses.

No decision has been made yet on whether charges will be filed, said officials with the sheriff and district attorney.

Advocate Pat Vinet said she thinks animal cruelty charges are warranted by what she saw and videotaped at the rodeo Aug. 25-26 at the Oaks Blenheim Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park near San Juan Capistrano.

``The law says they can't do this unless there is some danger to the spectators or cowboys,'' said Vinet, of Irvine.

``The gate's not even completely open yet, and they give them a zap on the hind end to get them to buck more wildly,'' she said. ``It maximizes the performance at the expense of the horse.''

Cotton Rosser, owner of the Flying U Rodeo, which ran the event, said the tape may show electric prods being used but only in a legal manner.

``These people want us out of business, and they've found this device of the livestock prod,'' Rosser said of the animal activists who have protested many of the 50 rodeos he puts on in California each year.

``We never use them on horses unless they stall,'' he said. ``When it's in the chute and the animal won't come out, it could flip over backwards and then crush the cowboy, break his neck or his back.''

Jon Fleischman, a sheriff's spokesman, said the investigation is not complete.

``When it is concluded, that material will be given to the district attorney, at which point a decision will be made about whether or not charges would be filed,'' Fleischman said.

(949) 454-7363 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.