Rodeo company pays fine for using cattle prod in St. Charles

Thursday, August 9, 2001

The Daily Herald (Chicago Suburbs)

By Patrick Waldron

The owners of Big Hat Rodeo, the company that put on a rodeo at the Kane County Fair, have paid a $200 fine for violating a St. Charles city ordinance against animal cruelty.

Elburn animal rights activist Steve Hindi filed a complaint with the St. Charles Police Department saying rodeo organizers used electric cattle prod devices during the fair.

Big Hat owner Rudy Clazavara was issued, and ultimately paid, four $50 animal cruelty citations, said Robert Surratt, St. Charles' code enforcement officer.

Hindi also filed an animal abuse complaint with Kendall County officials accusing the Big Hat rodeo of using prodding devices at the Kendall County fair.

Officials with the Kendall County state's attorney's office said they had received the compliant but that it would not be reviewed until next week to determine if charges would be filed.

Calls to Big Hat Rodeo officials were not returned.

For years, Hindi has targeted the use of electric cattle prods, and in May the St. Charles City Council prohibited the use of electric prods inside chutes at rodeo unless the safety of a person was threatened.

This week, Hindi went to the Kane County board's public safety committee requesting a similar county ordinance.

Committee Chairmen Paul Greviskes said the committee is reviewing the request and has requested copies of the St. Charles ordinance and regulations from the Rodeo Association.

The request got mixed reaction from the committee, with two members – Dorothy Sanchez and Dennis Kosinski – supporting some type of regulation.

Greviskes questioned the need for regulating rodeos, noting that there are no rodeos that would fall under the county's jurisdiction.

The only rodeo in the county is held during the Kane County Fair and falls under St. Charles' jurisdictions because the fairgrounds are within the city limits. He added that the state also has regulations on rodeos.

Sanchez said she favors banning rodeos and other events that involve animals such as circuses.

"If one government body takes a stand then maybe other people will see the light and fall in line," Sanchez said. "(The ordinance) would still be a government body saying we really don't agree with it and we really don't like it."

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