Special Olympics Connecticut responds to steer's death at event

Excerpt from New Haven Register, June 4, 1998
By Lynn Fredricksen
Register Staff

The death of a steer at a weekend benefit rodeo in Guilford has prompted Special Olympics Connecticut to adopt a policy stating the organization won't participate in fund-raising rodeos in the future.

Members of the executive committee of the board of directors for Special Olympics made the decision Tuesday night, spokeswoman Karen Brand said.
The rodeo, sponsored by the Guilford Police Benevolent Association, also benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Officials from the organization could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"We took this incident very seriously and decided rodeos are not an appropriate vehicle for fund raising," said Karen Brand, public relations director for Special Olympics Connecticut, in Hamden.

The steer, estimated to be about 1 to 1 ½ years old, was injured during a rodeo event in which cowboys were required to flip the animals onto its back. When the steer remained standing, the cowboys grabbed it by the horns and twisted the head sharply, sending the steer to the dirt.

The action broke its neck, according to Andy Camputaro, who owns Double R World Championship Rodeo, the company featured at the event.
Camputaro, who says the steer died before a veterinarian could reach him, claims the animal did not suffer.

A further note from SHARK about the June 1998 Guilford Rodeo in Guilford, Connecticut: During a "dash for cash" contest, a steer was tackled and thrown to the ground. His neck was broken. Organizers of the rodeo called in a clown to distract the stricken audience. The steer died. Many other animals shocked with 5,000-volt prods to force them to "perform." Afterward, the Connecticut Make-A-Wish Foundation, recipient of some rodeo proceeds, announced it would no longer be associated with rodeos in addition to the Special Olympics.

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