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
111 E. Washington Street
Morris, IL 60450
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
Go on to When Your Dog
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