Woman Says She Saw Horse Abused at the Reno Rodeo

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RENO -- The Reno Rodeo is promising an investigation after a woman said she witnessed a horse being abused. Ellie Lopez-Bowlan, a Washoe County resident, took a very brief cell phone video, which resulted in several stills. The photos appear to show someone lifting a horse's tail while another person approaches it with a prod.

Lopez-Bowlan said she saw: "pinching, tasing on the sides of a horse that was in a stall, he couldn't move, it was a pretty tight stall."

She said she was going to a box at the Reno Rodeo Friday night expecting a good time. She said she tried to get the men to stop.

"I saw what looked like a wire, a thick wire hanger that looked coppery and they were preparing to put that in (the horse's) anus and I yelled down at them and asked them to stop, they kept pinching him, tasing him, they did not stop," Lopez-Bowlan said.

Lopez-Bowlan said a volunteer told her to sit down, and that no one can stand where she was standing.

"I heard the horse scream and buck really high," she said.

This is not the first time there have been allegations of abuse at the Reno Rodeo. Last year, an animal rights organization released a video that appeared to show a man using a shocking device on a horse.

The Reno Rodeo released the following statement:

"The Reno Rodeo is very pleased to report that all livestock that participated in our event this year completed the competition safely. In an effort to continue to provide the best care of the livestock at the Rodeo Rodeo, we instituted event policies regarding the proper handling of livestock at our event that go even farther than the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rules, which are also in affect. In particular, we addressed the use of electric livestock prods which are used to move large animals. The stock contractors who provided the livestock at our event agreed to the policies that limit the use of these devices, particularly during competition.

We are in receipt of photos that appear to be taken at the Reno Rodeo. The photos seem to show personnel working to move a bucking horse through the back chute area which leads to the bucking chutes. Reno Rodeo officials will fully investigate the circumstances and actions depicted in these photos and take action as outlined in our policies if there is found to be any violation of those policies.

Once again, we appreciate the overwhelming support of our event and will continue to work to improve our event in all ways in order to give back to worthwhile organizations in our community. We thank our rodeo veterinarian, livestock handlers, stock contractors and contestants for assisting us in insuring that our rodeo showcases the best and healthiest livestock in the rodeo industry."