New Jersey SPCA investigators are looking into the suspicious death of a rodeo horse at South Jersey's famed Cowtown Rodeo Saturday.
Just seconds after being released from a chute, the horse - a 9-year-old "bucking bronc" named Duke - collapsed and began convulsing. Shorlty after, a veterinarian at the scene said he died of a ruptured aneurysm.
The animal rights group SHARK documented the episode and has filed a cruelty complaint, alleging the rodeo operators used an electric prod to force the horse to bolt out of the gate and start bucking.
"It was a truly horrific death," states SHARK Investigator Stuart Chaifetz. "That horse was cruelly and illegally shocked. People think rodeos are entertainment, but they are not. Rodeos are brutal, vicious events where animals are tortured, and sometimes, as in this case, they are killed."
The rodeo operators say the horse died of natural causes. They admit that an illegal electric prod was found in the chute but they said employees were told not to use it.
The Philadelphia Daily News has more here.
SHARK - which also is fighting to end pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania - has an extensive archives of video documenting abuse at rodeos around the country.
Caution: graphic video below.