Five teens aged 13 through 16 arrested for horse theft in Baton Rouge

Aerial view of Baton Rouge, La.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities said five Louisiana teenagers were arrested on suspicion of stealing two horses that appeared to be physically abused.

The state Department of Agriculture and Forestry said in a statement that the five teens are from St. Landry Parish and range from 13 to 16 years old.

Investigators from the state agency believe the teens stole the horses from a stockyard in Opelousas on April 4. They were arrested April 10 and taken to a juvenile detention center.

One of the teens faces charges of theft of livestock and aggravated cruelty of animals. The others face related charges, including theft and accessory after the fact to theft of livestock. Source at KALB »

Note: The report does not say why the teens took the horses. It seems to imply that the teens were the ones who abused them. We are following up. If anyone has further information on this story please contact us at or use our contact form.

Aerial view of Baton Rouge. Unattributed Google search result.

Frog juice drug resurfaces at Louisiana racetracks; vet charged

Waxy tree monkey. Getty images.

BATON ROUGE, LA — Do you remember the Louisiana trainers that were busted for giving racehorses the illegal drug Dermorphin? Well, they’ve been at it again. Only this time the racetrack vet is taking the fall and has reportedly been charged along with a healthcare company.

ABC via the Associated Press reports:

A Louisiana veterinarian has been charged with engaging in a scheme to influence the outcome of horse races by illegally treating the animals with a synthetic version of a drug known as “frog juice.”

The federal indictment accuses the veterinarian, Kyle James Hebert, of providing trainers with syringes of dermorphin to inject the painkiller in at least four horses that competed at Louisiana racetracks. The indictment returned Thursday by a grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana says Hebert told trainers that the mislabeled drug would make the horses “focus” and run faster.

Dermorphin, an opioid roughly 30 times more potent than morphine, is naturally secreted by tree frogs native to South America. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any drug containing dermorphin for use in humans or animals.

Hebert’s company, Southern Equine Sports Medicine, operated veterinary clinics in Lake Charles and Sunset. The indictment charges him and an Omaha, Nebraska-based company, Kohll’s Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc., with conspiracy.

Hebert is licensed to practice veterinary medicine at racetracks by the Louisiana State Racing Commission. In 2012, the commission sanctioned nine trainers whose horses tested positive for dermorphin. Read more »

When the story on doping racehorses with “frog juice” originally broke in June 2012, more than 40 horses from four states had tentatively tested positive for the Dermorphin. More cases appeared as testing was tweaked to enhance detection.

The horse racing industry refused to take any sort of real action against it leaving it up to individual racecourse jurisdictions to deal with it.

Then the Dermorphin problem appears to have gone underground — until now.

Drugging racehorses is as old as horse racing itself when it comes to American trainers. Over the years, laboratories have detected everything from cocaine to viagra to heroin.

Jane Allin writes in Part 2: Historical Perspectives — The Chemical Horse:

“Perhaps the greatest significance to the racehorse doping trend in the United States is the story of American trainer Jack Keene, who traveled overseas in quest of reaping the rewards of junked-up racehorses.”

But Keene was caught and banned. So he returned home.

“Unable to race horses in Europe, and now banned from racing horses in Russia, Keene soon returned home to Kentucky and his family farm — Keeneland — where he laid out the track that bears his name, and helped build Lexington into the influential Thoroughbred racehorse breeding and sales center it is today”.

Pacific Magazine, reporting on the history of doping in horse racing writes:

Barry Irwin, a prominent owner in today’s racing game, said in an interview that he will never forget something Harthill once told him: “Even though a horse is five or seven times larger than humans, the amount of dope needed to have an effect is so small. An amount on the tip of a match would be enough to flick up a horse’s nose to get a spectacular result.”

Spectacular result. That about says it all doesn’t it?



Paulick Report

Louisiana Appeals Court upholds 2012 Dermorphin penalties; Dec. 10, 2014

Tuesday’s Horse

• Quarter Horse trainer Bassett banned 10 years for frog juice; Sept 24, 2012

• Louisiana Racing Commission to meet late Sept on dermorphin cases; Sept 12, 2012

• New Mexico: Tests confirm dermorphin positives; Aug 31, 2012

• Dermorphin use now suspected in Nebraska racehorse; Aug 20, 2012

• Horse given exotic painkiller breaks down at New Mexico racetrack; Aug 18, 2012

New York Times

• Turning to frogs for illegal aid horse racing; Jun 19, 2012

Delta Downs stewards make first ruling stemming from dermorphin outbreak; Jun 19, 2012




A Christmas rescue makes it a happy new year for a horse, disabled children and the taxpayer

Happy New Year Horse and Golden Horseshoe against wood background.

Updated 1/25/2016 2:40 pm

Just before Christmas I spotted a gorgeous, healthy, palomino quarter horse colt in a kill pen in Bastrop, Louisiana awaiting shipment to slaughter in Mexico. I bought him as a gift for a therapeutic riding school for handicapped children in Victoria, Texas and shipped him to them.

Had I not intervened he would have been crammed into a crowded trailer with panic stricken adult horses and sent to a hellish death or been trampled to death in transit. A foreign meat company would have made a few hundred bucks selling him by the pound and paying no U.S. taxes. His story would have ended there.

However, now that he has been snatched from the slimy clutches of the foreign horse meat trade he will go to on to a loving home and a long, productive life as a therapeutic riding horse. He will help thousands of emotionally and physically handicapped kids overcome their challenges.

In his 20-year life he will generate several million dollars (I calculate about 9 million) in taxable economic activity in hay, grain, stable salaries, lesson fees, farriers, tooth care, vet services, etc.

A few hundred bucks to a foreign corporation, zero benefits to the U.S. and a one-way trip to horse hell for a beloved American icon vs a productive life, enrichment of the lives of Americans, and millions to our economy are the side effects of horse slaughter.

This is the choice represented by passage of HR 1942/S 1214 — to get rid of the slaughter of our horses.

I urge ya’ll to pass this bill in 2016 so that we can multiply this success story by 130,000 per year (92% of the 140,000 horses slaughtered per year are healthy and young just like this one), pump billions into our economy and stop the foreign meat traders from robbing us of a cherished American treasure.

If you’re so inclined please forward a link to this story to your State and Federal legislators as these are all strong talking points for stopping the slaughter of our horses.

Happy New Year!!!

Brian Sullivan

We will update you with pictures when we receive them. —Editor.

Alleged drug smugglers may have ties to Quarter Horse racing

Cross-posted from the Daily Racing Form

MapMap of Louisiana. Google image.

A group of 18 people who were arrested last week in Louisiana on charges of drug smuggling included several individuals with ties to Quarter Horse racing in the state, according to reports covering the arrests and officials with the state racing commission.

The list of people arrested included several who appear to be involved in or related to individuals in the state’s Quarter Horse racing industry. Charles Gardiner, the executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission, said late Monday that the commission had verified that several individuals were licensed in the state, but he declined to provide the verified names until he was able to recheck the records.

“We’re weighing our options about what we can do, if anything,” Gardiner said. “Precedent says that it’s not grounds for [license suspension] on an arrest, only on a felony conviction, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern right now.”

Gardiner did confirm that one of the arrested persons, Alvin Smith III, is the son of Alvin Smith Jr., a Quarter Horse trainer who was suspended last year for 10 years by the Louisiana Racing Commission after horses he trained tested positive for dermorphin, a powerful painkiller. Smith Jr. was one of eight Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred trainers to be suspended for findings of the drug in 2012. Continue reading >>