Day At The Track

Sstatement on Killean Cut Kid investigation

11:59 AM 20 Oct 2017 NZDT
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Photo from 9-5-17 in quarantine of Killean Cut Kid, Harness Racing
Photo from 9-5-17 in quarantine of Killean Cut Kid

Columbus, OH --- In early September, the United States Trotting Association (USTA) learned of social media reports concerning the condition of a Standardbred named Killean Cut Kid, which, it was reported, had been acquired by a horse rescue group from a sales pen in Bastrop, Louisiana. Photos showing wounds to Killean Cut Kid's ankles accompanied several of the Facebook and Twitter postings. 

On Sept. 3, the USTA engaged the Association's contracted investigator, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, to conduct an inquiry into this matter to determine if any USTA rules on animal welfare had been violated. Thursday, the USTA issued the following statement regarding the investigation. Details of the investigation and the USTA’s rules on animal welfare follow below the statement.

“The USTA is dismayed and disturbed by the chain of events revealed by its investigation, and by the actions that contributed to Killean Cut Kid’s plight. All of us who share a passion for horses find the images concerning and difficult to view, and we approached this investigation vigorously and seriously.

“It is important to understand that State racing commissions, and not the USTA, determine who can and who cannot participate in racing in their respective jurisdictions. USTA’s scope of authority is clear -- we may only suspend memberships when specific rules are broken. While this situation is emotionally troubling, the investigation affirms that neither of the specific conditions for disqualification from the Association has been met.

“The USTA has relayed its findings to the Ohio State Racing Commission and has been in contact with law enforcement in Union Parish, Louisiana. Should additional information pertinent to the investigation be made known, the Association will act accordingly.”

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Investigation Background:

• The investigation indicates that Killean Cut Kid changed hands several times in the days following the initial social media postings regarding the need to euthanize the horse.
• His trainer stated that Killean Cut Kid was given to an acquaintance in western Ohio. 
• That acquaintance stated that he then gave custody of the horse to a local horse broker. The broker stated that he transported the horse with others to the sale in Louisiana. 
• Those involved in the transfers and transport of Killean Cut Kid provided disparate and incomplete descriptions of Killean Cut Kid's ankles, and of the origin of their condition. 
• Absent additional, corroborating information, the investigation was unable to ascertain definitively the timing and progression of Killean Cut Kid’s injuries, nor could it determine possession of the horse at the time they were incurred. 
• The investigation found no evidence that the horse was insured.
• Unannounced visits to the trainer’s farm and stable were conducted. All horses appeared to be in good condition, stalls were clean with sufficient shavings, and all had clean water. There were ample bales of hay and bags of horse feed available at both locations.
• The investigation has determined that no charges have been filed by any law enforcement or animal welfare agency possessing the power to act upon them, and none are anticipated at this time.

USTA rules governing animal welfare:

In the area of animal welfare, the USTA rule book specifies the following:

1) Any person who has admitted to or been adjudicated guilty of participating in causing the intentional killing, maiming or injuring of a horse for the purpose of perpetuating insurance fraud or obtaining other illegal financial gain shall be barred from membership in this association for life.

2) Any person who has been the subject of an adverse finding in a final order in a prosecution arising out of treatment of a horse under any state animal welfare statute shall be disqualified from membership in this association for a minimum period of one (1) year with the length of disqualification beyond one (1) year to be determined by the gravity of the offense.

USTA Communications Department 

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