I-Team: County Commission Revisits Horse Tripping Issue - 8 News NOW

I-Team: County Commission Revisits Horse Tripping Issue

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LAS VEGAS -- Horse roping is called animal cruelty by some, and living history by others.

Clark County commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to ban rodeos with controversial horse roping events.

Horse roping usually takes place at traditional Latin American rodeos including one scheduled for late September at South Point Casino.

Animal welfare activists hope they can beat back a new attempt by two commissioners to allow the horse roping event to continue.

"The majority of the horses that we use are actually rescues," said Tobias de la Torre, Charros Federation USA CEO. "We bring them in. They're undesirable horses that maybe didn't work out as a saddle horse, have bad habits, and or are abandoned, undesirable horses. We bring them in and we train them."

Charreada events typically have a horse run around in a circle. They are chased by other men on horseback. A roper will take his lasso and throw it to loop onto a horse's legs.

The charreada event is meant to test the roper's accuracy with a lasso. That lasso is not pulled and if done correctly, the horse quickly gets free from the lasso.

Event organizers say intentional horse tripping is not allowed and accidental tripping is extremely rare. One incident happened two years ago in northern Nevada, but some local trainers claim horses suffer unseen mental damage from being chased at charreada events.

"If you never physically abuse or physically mark your child, but you create psychological damage to them throughout their childhood, imagine the issues they'll have - scars that run so deep that you can't see," said horse trainer Mark Keyser. "The scars will last a lifetime. We do the same things to these horses by chasing them and roping them."

Clark County commissioners will debate an ordinance Tuesday that would continue the ban on intentional horse tripping, but allow licensed horse roping events.

The ordinance is favored by Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Tom Collins.

It's uncertain how much support they can gather tomorrow. There is a petition online from local animal welfare activists pressing commissioners to ban all horse roping events. It has more than 850 signatures so far.

South Point officials said they are not selling any tickets for the September charreada event yet because they're waiting for the county's decision.

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