August 29, 2013
South Jersey Times

PILESGROVE TWP. — Investigators have found no evidence that an electric prod was used on a bucking horse that later died in the arena at Cowtown Rodeo in late June.
The “investigation is closed,” said Matt Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He said there is “no conclusive evidence that (the) horse was shocked by any device.”

Rodeo officials have maintained the 9-year-old horse, Duke, died on June 29 of a “ruptured aneurysm of the aorta blood vessel.”

But the animal rights group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, also known as SHARK, claimed an electric prod, also known as a “hot shot,” was used on the horse and contributed to its sudden death, a claim rodeo officials disputed.

“I’m glad they came to the correct conclusion,” Cowtown Rodeo owner Grant Harris said Wednesday of the NJSPCA’s finding.

Two days after the horse’s death, SHARK posted a video on YouTube of Duke performing in the arena and then falling to the ground and dying.

A grainy close-up image that is highlighted in the video shows what appears to be a prod behind the chute area as the animal exits. The video, however, does not show the prod actually coming in contact with the horse.

“There was no conclusive evidence that a hot shot was used,” Stanton said NJSPCA investigators found.

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