Bill May be Revived!


The Associated Press

Sunday, May 15, 2011 | 2:26 p.m.

A three-and-a-half minute video taken at a Winnemucca chariada rodeo that shows a horse being flipped onto its back may revive legislation that was slated for the dust heap.

“Seeing that horse flailing on its back. It just got to me,” said Sen. Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, the bill’s sponsor. “This is not a sport. It is animal cruelty.”

SB364, which would have outlawed horse tripping, died in committee after opponents said the practice doesn’t happen in Nevada.

But Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, said the video now on YouTube and that was aired early this month by KRNV-TV, the NBC affiliate in Reno, has triggered a firestorm of complaints from constituents who want the activity stopped.

Manendo told The Associated Press on Friday that the urgency behind the measure has not abated, and he was told a similar event is being advertised to be held in June.

Senate leadership is examining at least two options that may allow lawmakers to put the proposed ban back on the legislative slate: reviving the measure in full or attaching it to legislation that is still being considered.

The latter option requires finding a bill that looks like it will survive the push-pull of two chambers, because the wrong bill could sink the legislation.

Reviving the measure in full will require some footwork. April 15 was the last day bills had to make it out of the original committee for a shot at a floor vote, but Manendo said the false testimony at an April 6 Senate Natural Resources Committee and the more recent video evidence may be sufficient leverage to skirt the rules.

Misdemeanor charges against witnesses for providing false testimony could also be pursued, Manendo said.

“You cannot lie to a legislator outside of session or in session,” he said, adding that testimony that horse tripping doesn’t happen in Nevada “changed committee members’ minds to not vote for the bill.”

SB364 would have banned any entertainment that intentionally causes a horse to lose its balance. It is an event in the traditional Mexican rodeo known as a chariada and is currently banned in Lyon and Clark counties.

Supporters emphasized at the hearing that they do not want to ban chariadas as a whole, just events that force horses to fall. The video shows the horse being tripped by ropes, but the ban would also include implements such as a wire, pole or stick.

Winnemucca Mayor Di An Putnam said during a phone interview that she had never heard of horse tripping before now, even though the rodeo has been held for at least six years.

“This is just something that should not exist,” she said.

SB346 supporters said the actual tripping is only part of the cruelty. Beverlee McGrath, a lobbyist who represents an array of animal rights organizations, and other supporters said the horses are injured so badly that they are often sent to slaughter shortly after the event.

The April 6 arguments against the bill included claims that it would criminalize portions of Hispanic heritage. Opponents also said SB364 could bring all rodeo events _ those of chariada as well as traditional American rodeos _ under such scrutiny it could ultimately lead to their extinction.

McGrath dismissed arguments that horse tripping is a cultural issue. “Many of the letters and emails and phone calls I’m getting are from Hispanics that are in Nevada that do not approve of this kind of inhumane treatment,” she said.

Opponents say the event is part of a heritage that treasures exhibitions of horsemanship, and that these events are part of this legacy. That proved a point of contention at the April 6 hearing between those who condemn the practice and others who said they were worried the ban would extend to events that appear in traditional American rodeos, such as roping.

Supporters said roping and tripping events exist in two distinct realms. They said roping events and the like are related to skills that are required on a ranch, and that tripping events do not employ any work-related skills.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, said he voted against the bill because witnesses told the Senate committee horse tripping was not a Nevada problem. He also said he would change his mind about the ban if tripping really happened here.

“I do what I say I’m going to do,” he told the AP when approached days after the video aired. “I am committed . . . to put a stop to this.”

McGrath said chariadas that feature horse tripping are usually held in obscure locations and rarely advertised, two elements that made the April event in Winnemucca unusual. McGrath said what made it even more surprising was that this very rodeo was discussed at the April 6 hearing.

“I would have thought they knew we would have someone there,” she said in a phone interview.

“They claimed it doesn’t happen,” McGrath said. “But guess what, it does happen and it’s going to happen again and again and it’s going to continue to happen until there is a state law to prevent it.”


8 thoughts on “Bill May be Revived!

  1. Sue Wallis and Dave Durquette sure flapped their jaws loudly proclaiming there “was no such thing as horse tripping in Nevada.” Well I hope now they get prosecuted to the max.!

    • Laura Leigh says:

      It will be interesting to see what “testimony” they see as false. I hope the guy that hotshot that horse gets charged as well… hotshot in the face….

  2. MargoWolf says:

    Yes, the way the horse is set upon in the video is horrible cruelty. Who would do that to a horse and then heal it?? I just know this lovely horse was sent to slaughter.

  3. MargoWolf says:

    Time for Nevada to do the right thing!

  4. Louie Cocroft says:

    May 17, 2011 @ 01:25:24

    Horse Tripping—“Break”-ing the Chain of Violence

    In the stated where horse tripping is banned, it’s a misdemeanor: the most you’d get is six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Doyle feels that more people would obey the lay if horse-tripping were a felony. The current laws have not eradicated tripping; they’ve only lessened it. “Much of the horse-tripping that was going on in the large commercial venues has stopped,” Doyle says. “Before, every week we were seeing mangled horses back from the charreadas. Now we see them only rarely.”

  5. Geri says:

    If you watch the video of the horse that is hotshoted in the face ~ does it not look like the horse that is being tripped in the other video? The same horse that Toby D. posted as the horse that was running in the pasture? I thought when they showed the video of the horse in the pasture he acted like he had not been in a pasture—-didn’t really know what to do, most horses just wander out and eat not run around like it is a new experience for them.

    And words mean everything ~ the Mexican charros keep saying—-they don’t abuse their horses—–and in the article that Louie posted above, it states ~ one charro group rented 78 horses(not their horses some rented ones, so in their book they don’t abuse their horses.) They are playing with words.

  6. Laura Leigh says:

    Yes… they are playing a word game.
    The horse hotshot in the face in the video shown is not the same horse. But the horses were all hotshot if you look at documentation that captured two getting it in the face.

  7. ellen holcomb says:

    who is renting these horses out? do they know where they are being used & abused? does the abuse never end?

    Is there any word on this bill’s revival progress?

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