Rowell Ranch Rodeo bronco busting event. The Rodeo has been consistently breaking the law concerning the use of the electric prod.

Horses abused with electric prods at 2019 Rowell Ranch Rodeo

HAYWARD, Calif. (Dec 12, 2019) — The Mercury News reported:

Video footage apparently showing cowboys breaking the law by using electric prods twice on horses during last May’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo has prompted Hayward area park district officials to fine the company behind the event.

Paul McCreary, the district’s general manager, said in a Dec. 9 letter to the Flying U Rodeo Company that two public complaints were received, saying livestock handlers used an electric prod on two different horses during the annual rodeo.

The complaints included video footage posted on YouTube. McCreary included links to the videos in the letter.

“The video confirms the electric prod was used at least twice during the rodeo,” McCreary said. “In both instances, the horses were in the chute and the gate was open when the electric prod was used. The prod was used on the horses in the shoulder area. However, there is no evidence supporting the requirement that the participants or spectators needed protection from either horse.”

The district issued an infraction for two violations with a fine of $500 for the first one and $1,500 for the second.

A representative of the Flying U Rodeo Company was not available for comment. The company, based in Marysville, has until Dec. 31 to appeal.

Under state law, an electric prod or similar device cannot be used in the holding chute, unless it’s necessary to protect participants or rodeo spectators. Fines can be as high as $5,000 for a second or subsequent violation.

“The current fine of only $2,000 for continued violations seems awfully lenient to me,” Eric Mills, coordinator for Oakland’s Action for Animals, said in an email. “Dollars to doughnuts the violations have occurred every year, but (they) were not filmed.”

In Defense of Animals concur with the above report. Here is their description of what occurred:

A horse stood helplessly immobilized in a cage with a man on the horse’s back while cowboys punched their equine victim in the head and mouth at the May, 2019 Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Alameda County, California. They had already pummeled several other horses that day, but when this particular horse didn’t fight back against the vicious beating which failed to produce the desired effect of unnatural bucking, the cowboys moved on to their most reliable form of torture: pumping thousands of volts of electricity into the horse’s neck.

A video filmed by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) shows men on the attack: yanking on one of the ears and landing kicks in the belly with long spurs while the terrified horse stood frozen to the spot. After being repeatedly slapped in the face, the poor horse lunges forward in pain after a brutal burst of electricity is applied to the neck.

In California, shocking horses at rodeos in not just appallingly cruel, it’s also been made explicitly illegal. California Penal Code Sec. 596.7(e):

“The rodeo management shall ensure that no electric prod or similar device is used on any animal once the animal is in the holding chute, unless necessary to protect the participants and spectators of the rodeo.”

Additionally, electric prod manufacturers have spoken out against the practice, stating that “Any use [of the electric prod] for entertainment purposes is not something we support or condone.”

Rowell Ranch Rodeo had a chance to agree to comply with the law concerning electric prods last year. Instead they chose to ignore it.

The East Bay Times reporting on the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board meeting held March 1, 2018, in Hayward, California, which was attended by animal rights activists and rodeo participants, wrote:

Despite animal rights activists’ latest efforts to rid wild cow milking and mutton busting from Hayward’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo, the events can continue.

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board voted 4-1 on March 1 to include the events, as well as the use of electric prods on horses at the rodeo, in its Animal Welfare Policy for rodeos. Mutton busting — which consists of children riding sheep — was not previously addressed in the policy.

“. . . as well as the use of electric prods on horses at the rodeo, . . .”  What? The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board have absolutely no right or legal standing to ignore or override existing law.


Please call and email the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and request that law enforcement handle this incident with the seriousness it deserves by investigating and prosecuting individuals shocking horses in violation of California Penal Code Sec. 596.7(e).

Make the call at (510) 667-3620 or email using the contact form for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

You can simply say:

“Please investigate and prosecute those responsible for shocking a horse in the chute during the Rowell Ranch Rodeo on May 19, 2019. California Penal Code Section 596.7(e), specifically lists shocking horses in the chute as a violation. Rowell Ranch Rodeo management must be held accountable under this statute. Additionally, the individual who shocked the horses should be prosecuted for animal cruelty under California Penal Code Section 597.”

Thank you everyone.

5 thoughts on “Horses abused with electric prods at 2019 Rowell Ranch Rodeo”

  1. honestly, i would love to see one of those electric prods hit the rider! and better still, one the hooves right on the genitals, with the audio on!!! revenge is sweet, and i mean that with all my heart. THUGS not men. with love from Vermont, Kate


  2. Sickening to watch these beautiful horses being so cruelly treated.
    I found it staggering to read the content of the letter by the Hayward mob. Clearly they don’t care about committing acts of animal cruelty for so-called entertainment.
    Whoever produced this video did an excellent job in exposing this horse abuse.


  3. The link for sending email to the sheriff doesn’t give me an account that looks promising. The “Anonymous Tip” has a place for comment and looks promising, perhaps. “ACSO Most Wanted” should include all involved parties. Hopefully they will FWD to correct department.


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