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PETA wants inquiry into horse death at fair pull

Published March 7, 2007


TAMPA - A national animal rights group wants Hillsborough authorities to investigate cruelty toward a horse that died after a weight-pulling show last month at the Florida State Fair.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a copy of its letter to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, asking that charges be filed because state law prohibits overworking or overloading an animal.

A 12-year-old Belgium horse died of a heart aneurism after it participated in the fair's Draft Horse Pull Show on Feb. 15, said Terry Yoder of Wildwood, the event organizer.

"It's just one of those deals that happened, and there's nothing that anybody did wrong," Yoder said.

Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter did not have details on the status of an investigation, because the deputy looking into it was unavailable.

Jackie Vergerio, the animal entertainment specialist with PETA, said the organization sent the letter after talking to a witness who said the horse had been bleeding and frothing from the mouth after its pull and not given access to water.

Travis Claytor, a Florida State Fair spokesman, said that the horse's death was a private matter being handled between the event promoter and the horse's owner. He said the Horse Pull Show had been going on for several years and described it as "one of the more popular shows at the fair."

Yoder said that in the show, horses pull six heavy loads for about 3 seconds each time, before taking a rest.

Kevin Graham can be reached at 813 226-3433 or

[Last modified March 7, 2007, 01:03:40]

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