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From 20 June 2004 Issue

Finally, Some Rodeo Justice
By Steve Hindi - Sharkintl@aol.com

I am happy to announce that Tuesday, June 15, two Illinois rodeo stock contractors pled guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty stemming from a rodeo documented by SHARK investigators Mike Kobliska, my daughter Eva and myself.

The rodeo took place in Morris, Illinois last September. We actually documented about a half dozen rodeo goons shocking animals but most were apparently from other states and escaped prosecution. Nonetheless, this should send a very clear message to the Rodeo Mafia that things are changing in Illinois.

I am especially proud of my daughter Eva for persisting in her efforts to help rodeo victims, since she was the victim of a cowardly act of violence from a rodeo thug back in 2002. Then 11-year-old Eva was repeatedly bumped while she attempted to videotape a rodeo in Charleston, Illinois. This shook her up pretty bad for a while, but she didn't let it stop her. Eva actually took some of the Morris rodeo footage, and now her efforts have paid off.

Here is an irony; one of the guilty stock contractors Michael Latting is a high school principal when he isn't zapping bulls with a few thousand volts of juice. Isn't that special? What kind of example is he setting?!

According to the Grundy County State's Attorney's Office, Michael Latting and Juaquin Santos pled guilty to illegally shocking bulls in the chute at the Big Bucks Rodeo in Morris, Illinois last September. Each received six months court supervision and were fined $300.00. Further violations can bring in higher fines and possible jail time.

Ideally, SHARK would have liked to see both men barred from participating in or attending any future rodeos, but we realize that was only wishful thinking.

Please express your appreciation to the Grundy County State's Attorney for pursuing this case and recognizing the blatant animal cruelty.

Sheldon Sobol
111 E. Washington Street
Morris, IL 60450
Fax: 815-942-0142

Please also thank Carrol Imig, Bureau Chief of Animal Welfare at the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Without Mr. Imig's cooperation, this case would have never gotten off the ground.

Carrol Imig
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Animal Welfare
State Fairgrounds - PO Box 19281
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9281
Phone (In IL): 1-800-273-4763
Phone (Outside IL): 217-782-6657
Fax: 217-524-7702
E-mail: cimig@agr.state.il.us 

Thanks to your calls and letters, this case was taken seriously, and we thank you! You can be sure that SHARK will be attending many rodeos again this summer to expose more animal abusers, so please let us know if you are interested in helping SHARK end rodeo animal cruelty!

Below is the text from an article that ran today in the Kankakee Daily Journal. Unfortunately, we could not download the article from the website.

For the Animals,

Steve Hindi
SHARK
Sharkintl@aol.com
www.sharkonline.org 

Latting pleads guilty to cruelty

Morris - St. Anne rodeo producer Mike Latting pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty Wednesday in circuit court at Morris.

Latting was fined $300 and sentenced to six months court supervision.

Charges were brought against Latting following an incident last fall at a Morris rodeo.

Videotape evidence provided by animal rights activist Steve Hindi showed electric prods being used to agitate bulls in the chutes prior to an event.

Latting, who provided livestock for the rodeo, and fellow bull owner Juaquin Santos of Indiana were both charged in what is believed to be the first rodeo-related case of animal cruelty in Illinois.

Latting, who is principal at Donovan High School, was not available for comment today. He had denied the accusations last April but refused to comment on the case in The Journal. Santos also denied the charges.

Hindi, president of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, spurred state officials three years ago to take steps ensuring better treatment of animals at rodeo. He and others used videotapes to record alleged abuse at the National High School Finals Rodeo held July 2000 in Springfield.

Go on to When Your Dog Becomes Vicious
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