Prosecute Cowboys Who Shocked & Beat Horse
A horse stood helplessly immobilized in a cage with a man on the horse’s back while cowboys punched their equine victim in the head and mouth at the May, 2019 Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Alameda County, California. They had already pummeled several other horses that day, but when this particular horse didn’t fight back against the vicious beating which failed to produce the desired effect of unnatural bucking, the cowboys moved on to their most reliable form of torture: pumping thousands of volts of electricity into the horse’s neck.
A video filmed by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) shows men on the attack: yanking on one of the ears and landing kicks in the belly with long spurs while the terrified horse stood frozen to the spot. After being repeatedly slapped in the face, the poor horse lunges forward in pain after a brutal burst of electricity is applied to the neck.
In California, shocking horses at rodeos in not just appallingly cruel, it’s also made explicitly illegal. Per California Penal Code Sec. 596.7(e):
“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.”
The Rowell Ranch Rodeo, based in Alameda County, the heart of San Francisco’s East Bay, has a long history of unlawfully shocking horses. Investigators with Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) first documented these barbaric acts at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo back in 2008.
Even the electric prod manufacturers have spoken out against the practice, stating that “Any use [of the electric prod] for entertainment purposes is not something we support or condone.”
While beating and shocking a horse for entertainment is cruel and disgusting, the forced bucking itself is also dangerous and savage since it can lead to life-threatening injuries such as a broken back, broken legs, and death. The video above shows how horses can dangerously slip and fall hard onto their bellies as one just did at this year’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo.
At last year’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo, a mare named Savina was killed after she suffered “a probable fracture to the humerus/shoulder/back,” according to the attending veterinarian.
Without the support and participation of local government, none of this cruelty would be possible: the Rowell Ranch Rodeo takes place on land owned by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, and is often aided by taxpayer dollars from the County’s Fiscal Management Reward Funds. This year, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office even promoted the sickeningly barbaric Rodeo on its government website.
Please help us ensure that the cruelty of the Rowell Ranch Rodeo never happens again! We cannot allow rodeos to get away with these illegal and inhumane practices!
What You Can Do
Please call and email Deputy S. Sweeney of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, to request that law enforcement handle this incident with the seriousness it deserves by prosecuting the individuals responsible under California law.
Make a call.
You can simply say:
"Please investigate and prosecute those responsible for shocking a horse in the chute during the Rowell Ranch Rodeo on May 19. California Penal Code Section 596.7(e), specifically lists shocking horses in the chute as a violation. Rowell Ranch Rodeo management must be held accountable under this statute. Additionally, the individual who shocked the horses should be prosecuted for animal cruelty under California Penal Code Section 597.”
2) If you live in Alameda County: call and write to Supervisors Richard Valle, Wilma Chan, and Keith Carson ask them to commit to making Alameda County more humane by working with In Defense of Animals to ban rodeo.
2nd District Supervisor Richard Valle 510-272-6692
24301 Southland Drive, Suite 101 Hayward, CA 94545
3rd District Supervisor Wilma Chan 510-272-6693
15903 Hesperian Blvd San Lorenzo, CA 94580
5th District Supervisor Keith Carson 510-272-6695
1221 Oak Street, Suite 536 Oakland, CA 94612
3) Send our letter by filling in the fields on this page.