Horse is electro-shocked, then dies at NJ Rodeo

SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) PRESS RELEASE

Cowtown Rodeo sign, New Jersey. Google Image.
Cowtown Rodeo sign, New Jersey. Google Image.

NEW JERSEY – On Saturday, June 29, 2013, an investigator for SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) attended and filmed at the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove, NJ.

Video of the horse being shocked and going into convulsions can be seen here:


A number of bucking horses were shocked by a device which is prohibited by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which sanctions the Cowtown Rodeo.

One of the shocked horses subsequently fell down, went into convulsions, and died.

“It was a truly horrific death,” states SHARK Investigator Stuart Chaifetz. “That horse was cruelly and illegally shocked. People think rodeos are entertainment, but they are not. Rodeos are brutal, vicious events where animals are tortured, and sometimes, as in this case, they are killed.”

The type of shocking device used on the horse can deliver about 10,000 volts of electricity. Miller Manufacturing, makers of the prod have clearly stated previously that the devices are not to be used in a rodeo environment, and are never supposed to be used on horses under any circumstance. Rodeos, such as Cowtown, however, regularly use the electric prods to make tame, domesticated horses appear wild from pain.

“The shocking of horses destroys the myth that the horses are athletes who want to buck,” states Chaifetz. “These animals literally have to be tortured to get them to perform, and that is absolutely animal abuse.”

To add to the horse’s suffering, as he was lying on the ground, one of the “cowboys” grabbed him by the tail and pulled it to drag the horse’s body back. At the exact time that happened, the announcer said that they treated the animals the same as they do the cowboys and cowgirls.

After the horse’s legs were tied, the horse was rolled over onto a dirty wood sled. The horse was then dragged across the arena as dirt piled up along his head.

The Cowtown Rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which is notorious for allowing horses to be shocked, in spite of supposed humane rules to the contrary.

SHARK will be contacting the SPCA to demand animal cruelty charges against Grant Harris, the owner of Cowtown for the death of this horse, and the shocking of numerous horses.

For more information on rodeo cruelty please visit:

# # #


Call or write to the Commissioner of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association), Karl Stressman.

Tell him that you are outraged, that shocking rodeo horses is a banned practice going on right under his organization’s noses with no enforcement, urging him to take immediate and public action.

Thank you from the Int’l Fund for Horses.

34 thoughts on “Horse is electro-shocked, then dies at NJ Rodeo”

  1. Reno, NV – SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) is calling out Reno Rodeo President John Tipton and rodeo veterinarian, Dr. Joe Coli, on their denials that a horse was struck with a wire rod and electro-shocked in the anus, and endured other abuse during the Friday, June 28 rodeo performance.

    Tipton and Coli were both quoted in the Reno Journal Gazette on 7/1/2013. According to the story, Coli said, “it is ‘unfathomable’ that anyone would stick a wire rod into the anus of a horse.” And further, “I cannot for the life of me even begin to imagine someone doing that at a rodeo, especially at Reno with the rules they’ve got in place. I am not sure what the woman saw or what she thought she saw, but I cannot imagine that is what actually took place.”

    Coli is not only the veterinarian for the Reno Rodeo, but in what can only be seen as a conflict of interest, has been a member of the Rodeo Association since 1983. He has also worked closely with PRCA Stock Contractor, Cotton Rosser who is notorious for electro-shocking horses.

    That article can be found here:


  2. that horse had an un detected heart problem, I watched it 5 times and did not see anyone prod the horse. , why would they abuse their animals, when they are part of their business…. these animals work 3 months out of the year and do nothing for the rest, Cowtown or any other Rodeo I have gone to DON’T abuse their animals. You can sit here and rip apart Rodeo’s, Race Tracks, Eventing, Polo( animal and partner deaths happen), a horse needs a job.


    1. There are plenty of good jobs for horses; rodeos are not one of them. And where do you think they go when they are injured and no longer of use? Sent to green pastures? The fact you can attend rodeos and not see any abuse there, and not just the horses, I have to wonder.


      1. oh yes and I know where they go when they are no use to some people. I have horses and they go trail riding period, not all horse owners, team penning, barrel race, jumping, etc… I am not big on bronco busting, but it is part of the rodeo, what good job can a horse have if not in sports, I would love to see horses live their lives out as mine do and it’s not going to happen, so I will support sports that they are in and be happy they have a decent life as long as they can. I wonder what would happen to all the horses in Rodeo’s and Race Tracks if the sport was banned.


        1. I have said plenty of times that Race Horses , do have people who love them, i live near a Track , i FREQUENT IT lots and i do go the barns , they are cared for, there are very few instances that happen…. My thing is these horses are cared for and loved , Also the horses love the competition, dont ever think they dont know when they win , they do !!! and are proud of themselves , Ask where would they go if not here ???????? on the other hand Rodeos are cruel and horrible , The Horses wish not to be there !!!!! CLOSE these cruelty pits down !!!!!!! Horse racing needs reform they are not perfect by a long shot !!!!!!!!


    2. Just stating the facts !!!!!!!!! Rodeos are cruel and inhumane , they simply need to be Shut down !!!!! That horse did not have any heart problems he was examined and the Vet said he didnt !!!!!!


      1. Not all Rodeo’s are, and shouldn’t be grouped together with ones that are. So maybe the heat, I didn’t see a prod in that video. I think it’s cruel to run a horse in 90 plus weather and they do. I think it’s cruel to saddle up a 2 year old that his rear is higher than his withers and they do. Yes many things should be fixed in both sports. banning them no, because where would they go, who will take them. What makes you think they are tamed horses when you can go to any auction and buy one that wasn’t trained and that’s a big problem too, some people will take the time, I did, but the majority won’t.


        1. Banning horse sports is not the answer. Any way a note, I have friends that barrel race, team pen and they compete in rodeo and their horses are well taking care of and are loved. I have friends that race their horses and love them, and when it’s time for them to retire they keep them on their farm. There is good and bad in all .


        2. Every Business is operated by Laws , rules and regulations , it is the only way to Police them, Rodeos should be no different , we as caretakers need to stop the all out Greed and self gratification, All animals live, breathe feel pain and love , because of this and this only , no Animal should be mistreated…………………………….


  3. No one will ever know how many animals die in rodeos that the public never sees. Shark can’t be everywhere. I have a good idea that a lot of the animal deaths the rodeo fans see never crosses their minds that its animal cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m wondering who we can contact that has the power to shut down the rodeo. I’m not inclined to contact anyone within the rodeo system. It would be like farting in the wind.


    1. Dear Geri, I think the Sheriff of the area has much power and can arrest and shut down this Horrible Greedy money rodeo……….. Sheriffs are very powerful !!!!!!!!!


  5. I can’t believe the announce at this rodeo who kept going on and on about how much they care about the animals! What a total line of bullshit, saying how much they care!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Harris said a post-mortem by a veterinarian determined Duke suffered an aneurysm of the aorta. Harris said the horse had showed no symptoms of any medical problems.


  7. Well I looked at this video and it may have looked at this was a shock rod but I DO NOT see a person holding it, nor do I see ANyONE there that could. That rod has to be held and triggered and I do not see anyone there. Also I hate to tell y’all but the horse weighs at least 1000 lbs and how else do you suppose they can move it. Also if you looked at this video, you would see that the horse was being stroked on the neck and head by the cowboy the whole time, and the hose PROBABLY was predisposed to this because of the HEAT and HUMIDITY we had.


    1. So if the heat and humidity made it unsafe for the animals, why on earth did the event go on? Lemme guess, the horse was supposed to “Cowboy Up?” Cowboys have the choice to compete in oppressive heat. The animals don’t.


    2. If they cared they would not have done it the first place ..does stroking the horse on the head make it ok ???????? ????


        1. “A bucking horse died Saturday night at Cowtown Rodeo from a natural, but rare medical condition, not from any form of cruelty, the rodeo’s owner says.”

          Note the words, “he says …” I mean, a man who runs an outfit that abuses animal for months to entertain the lowest possible form of thinkers, wouldn’t lie right? According to the article, they bred, raised, trained and then gave this horse a life of living hell till he dropped dead, prodded or not.

          And this:

          “Cowtown Rodeo is a professional rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The PRCA forbids the use of electric prods on any animals when they are inside the chutes.”

          Do you know how many 1000s of hours SHARK has documented of horses being electro-shocked, all at PRCA sanctioned rodeos? Note this word: Documented.

          What is the point of a rodeo exactly anyway? Bring back Mickey Gilley’s mechanical bull and put them in the local saloons for these “men”.


          1. Thank You Vivian !!! you said it better than I could, I am so infuriated over this , any thing i would say would be deleted !!!!!!


        2. Dear Karen, Am I to think that you truly believe that sticking a steelrod up a horses behind and then electro shocking it is ok??????? If so there is no hope for you also !!!! Might I add I think you really need to read the facts again !!!!!!!!


  8. Barbaric. How many more innocent animals have to die at the hands of these deranged people? Good family fun ? I think not. Rodeos exist to disseminate myth – the myth of the tough cowboy pretending to demonstrate skill and bravery when none exists. Just tortuous and unsophisticated acts under the guise of tradition and culture. Certain cities in some states in the US have banned effectively rodeos (e.g. Napa Valley, Fort Wayne, St. Petersburg, Pasadena, San Fran) while some countries like the UK have completely banned them. I cannot understand why some people fail to conceive the abuse and torture. Then again, it doesn’t surprise me anymore as there seem so many that simply couldn’t care less about the plight of animals. Sad world we live in.


  9. I did watch this and was just sick this happened to this beautiful creature, oh my gosh just so so sad, the only good thing I saw was the guy rubbing it’s head, then the announcer making these excuses and a bunch of sh-t…. You can SEE the rod what is the matter with some people in this society??? People would NOT be going to those Rodeo’s if they knew the truth behind some of it well some probably still would but I bet the majority of folks would not condone this behavior,, CHARGE THEM it is against the LAW time for all who do this pay the consequence’s once and for all…. JUST DISGUSTING makes me for one very very angry…..


  10. I am completely appalled , and saddened by this HORROR, these people are sadistic and should be Jailed immediately if not sooner !!!! This kind of horrible action has to be stopped , shut these Bastards down forever !!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!! If i could i would shove that shocker up where the sun doesnt shine !!!!!! This has become un tolerable !!!!!!! Imam sure now that these so called people have a reservation in HELL for this !!!!!!!!


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