Horse Left in Stall With Broken Leg for Almost a Month; Trainer’s Wrist Is Just Fine

On the surface, the recent suspension of a Pennsylvania trainer for failing to provide proper care for one of his charges reads like the racing industry taking care of business – policing and punishing a delinquent. Looks good to the masses. Racing cares and will not tolerate abuse. Then you dig a bit deeper. The story, as relayed in the Paulick Report, is that trainer/owner Mario Rodriguez left 6-year-old Silent Ruler in his stall with a broken leg – for almost an entire month. Imagine that.

According to the article, on September 24, Kathryn Papp, veterinarian, happened upon Silent Ruler while guiding a track visitor who was there to possibly adopt the gelding. Here, in Papp’s words, is what they found:

“From the outside of the stall you could easily see that the horse’s nostrils were flaring, he had a very worried look in his eyes and was covered in drying sweat. He was mostly non-weight-bearing on his right front swollen ankle and was holding it up off the ground. When he attempted to move around his stall he would rock back onto his hind legs, squat down and skip his front end over without using that right front limb at all. The left front limb looked sore and over-taxed.”

Radiographs would eventually confirm that the horse had “a break in the right front sesamoid with multiple fragments pulled away from the bone.” It was obvious to all that Silent Ruler was “in distress,” and, another vet confirmed, “needed immediate treatment or euthanasia.” Bad, by any measure.

Apparently, the CANTER listing said that Silent Ruler “was recently injured in a race” but that “no diagnostics have been completed.” Indeed, SR had been added to the vet’s list after finishing second-to-last (15+ back) in a $4,000 claiming at Penn National August 26. It was at that point that Rodriguez, a bottom-feeder trainer running cheap horses in cheap races at cheap tracks, wanted to be rid of him. But instead of finding the extent of the injury and administering (serious) palliative care, he simply stuck him in his stall and waited for a taker. For this, for leaving this animal (alone, mind you) in pain, in suffering – in, surely, terror – for weeks, this obscenity of a human being got 45 days (less than that actually, as it’s calendar, not racing, days) and a $500 fine. A wristslap for cruelty of the worst order. Good on you, Pennsylvania Racing.

(I would say appeal directly to the AG on this, but the relevant Pennsylvania “Cruelty to Animals” statute, which encompasses exactly what Rodriguez did here – “a person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats…otherwise abuses…or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care…or deprives any animal of necessary veterinary care” – falls in the lowest class of crimes, a “summary offense” – on a par, I kid you not, with failing to return a library book and “illegal use of shopping carts.”)

(full Paulick article, with pictures)

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  1. Disgraceful neglect of a beautiful and sentient creature. Ridiculously lenient punishment will not act as a deterrent

  2. Silent Ruler, I am beyond sickened about what you endured – and enraged. YET, what happened to you is not an isolated incident.

    Here are more “Silent Ruler’s” – only they had to be euthanized after waiting in their stalls at the track with their injuries….

    Here is a small portion of a list we possess of other racehorses much like Silent Ruler (those whose names were also used by other JC-registered horses, I identified with year of birth and sex in parenthesis). All of the following horses (again, this is just a partial list) were injured training or racing, then waited – untreated – for our help. After evaluations at Michigan State University, they were diagnosed with injuries not compatible with a comfortable life and were humanely euthanized.

    Backside Sunrise
    Barbara’s Jewel (2000 G)
    Belle d’Elite
    Buck’s Secret (2004 M)
    Celtic Trick
    Cant Catch G.I.
    Cat Stick
    Court Ace (2003 G)
    Dream Deliverer
    Havana Anna (2001 M)
    Indigo Rock (2003 G)
    J Aled Rudolph
    Kiss On The Run (2004 G)
    Kiss the Flame
    Meadow Gift
    Oh No Uno
    Restrike (2002 G)
    Salty Lover (2003 G)
    Search for a Star (2002 G)
    Storming (2002 H)
    Sunder Bay
    Sunny Charmer (2003 G)
    That’s My Chance (2004 G)
    Top Faith
    Tricky Tyler
    Unreal Dancer
    Winds of Love (1998 G)

    • It is astounding why these people are never charged with animal cruelty as they as they should be.
      Time and again it is shown that this business policing itself is a joke, a bad joke for the animals involved.
      Many of these cases very likely belong in a court of law instead of meriting the usual “slap on the wrist” deemed appropriate by these corrupt commissions.
      No business in a civilized society should above the law land.

      • Pas animal cruelty laws: (c) Cruelty to animals.–

        (1) A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal’s body heat and keep it dry.

        (2) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii), a person convicted of violating paragraph (1) commits a summary offense.

        (ii) A person convicted for a second or subsequent time of violating paragraph (1) commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if all of the following occurred:

        (A) The action or omission for which the person was convicted for a subsequent time was performed on a dog or cat.

        (B) The dog or cat was seriously injured, suffered severe physical distress or was placed at imminent risk of serious physical harm as the result of the person’s action or omission.

        (3) This subsection shall not apply to activity undertaken in normal agricultural operation.

        (d) Selling or using disabled horse.–A person commits a summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause, could not be worked or used without violating the laws against cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

        (e) Transporting animals in cruel manner.–A person commits a summary offense if he carries, or causes, or allows to be carried in or upon any cart, or other vehicle whatsoever, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner. The person taking him into custody may take charge of the animal and of any such vehicle and its contents, and deposit the same in some safe place of custody, and any necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping the same, and sustaining any such animal, shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can lawfully be recovered, or the said expenses or any part thereof remaining unpaid may be recovered by the person incurring the same from the owner of said creature in any action therefor.

        For the purposes of this section, it shall not be deemed cruel or inhumane to transport live poultry in crates so long as not more than 15 pounds of live poultry are allocated to each cubic foot of space in the crate.

        (e.1) Transporting equine animals in cruel manner.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person commits a summary offense for each equine animal if the person carries, or causes or allows to be carried, any equine animal in or upon any conveyance or other vehicle whatsoever with two or more levels stacked on top of one another. A person who violates this subsection on a second or subsequent occasion commits a misdemeanor of the third degree for each equine animal transported.

        (f) Hours of labor of animals.–A person commits a summary offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare, mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24 hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.

        Nothing in this subsection contained shall be construed to warrant any persons leading, driving, riding or walking any animal a less period than 15 hours, when so doing shall in any way violate the laws against cruelty to animals.

        (g) Cruelty to cow to enhance appearance of udder.–A person commits a summary offense if he kneads or beats or pads the udder of any cow, or willfully allows it to go unmilked for a period of 24 hours or more, for the purpose of enhancing the appearance or size of the udder of said cow, or by a muzzle or any other device prevents its calf, if less than six weeks old, from obtaining nourishment, and thereby relieving the udder of said cow, for a period of 24

        Now libres law has provided additional provisions but they are afforded only to domestic animals mainly cats and dogs

    • Yes joy exactly…..not even an isolated event for PENN NATIONAL…..SLADE as you know (shedrow secrets) i am outraged over this sickened to no end…..but im also at such a loss on how people will act like these types of things arent happening time and time again year after year…..parx racing 3/5/16 race 9 maidens 3 horse spill CANTINA BUTTERFLY she died on 11/2/16 from facial injuries with infection she suffocated to death….next is DIGGERS JIGGER necropsy history says “she walked off the track by herself and was examined by the vet, then found dead in her stall 3/6/16 displaced fractures right 13th and 14th ribs she bled to death internally….. so horses falls at 30 40 mph has a quick exam from the vet and is simply returned to her stall……add to that all the racehorses that have shown up at new holland…..its simple nobody cares not penn national not the pa racing commission not even the governing body of pa but yet will all claim how important animal welfare is no wonder the public is in outrage

  3. There is no low that this industry can reach that would surprise me.
    Their ongoing extensive cruelty, abuse, and exploitation perpetrated on these racehorses is beyond words.
    There is no doubt in my mind that MANY stable personnel saw exactly what was going on with SILENT RULER, and did absolutely nothing – enablers of the abuse.
    The racing commissions with their pathetic slap on the wrist – enablers of the abuse.
    This entire system is designed to abuse racehorses with little to no repercussions.
    The medical records, kept secret, for no neutral peer review is a policy endorsing racehorse abuse in order to fill races.
    It just goes on and on….and I’m repulsed by this vile business as any normal person should be.
    Then the last replay watching Silent Ruler getting beaten with a whip is horrific animal abuse.
    SHUT THIS cruelty circus down now!
    It can’t come soon enough for the racehorses, and don’t patronize this cruelty circus.

  4. Until the laws change, and horses are treated with the respect they deserve they will continued to be abused, neglected and killed. There’s a special place in hell for the owners, trainers, jockeys, and anyone that is aware of treatment and does nothing to stop it. If you can’t look in the mirror at the end of the day, and be proud of the work you have done, it’s time to get another job. Those who like/need to gamble should bet on other other things besides horse racing.

    • The laws will not change, at least in any significant way, as long as horses are viewed as property. If I own you, the concepts of rights, protection, respect are meaningless.

  5. The fact is SILENT RULER was a VICTIM of this VILE and HORRIFIC business that you have the audacity to support.
    If this industry didn’t exist then thousands of victims like Silent Ruler would not endure extensive pain, suffering, doping, maiming and/or dying.
    Let’s get that fact straight Witney!
    Where were all the apologists who saw this horse daily in the stable area and never did anything about it?
    Dr. Papp should have seen this long before his extensive pain, and suffering was evident.
    Horse racing MAIMS & KILLS racehorses EVERY SINGLE DAY on tracks and private training centers – not to mention the offshoot businesses of those nasty horrific places called slaughterhouses.
    So let’s get those facts straight you delusional apologists.
    These are FACTS not LIES, you apologists lie to yourselves every single day and attempt to portray a fancy hat venner.
    Well, let me tell you something Witney, the fancy hat veneer is being stripped away every day every time a racehorse dies in the dirt for this despicable, and nefarious antiquated business model.

  6. This is un-Friggen- believable!! May Karma find this horrible excuse for a human being quickly and show no mercy

  7. Silent Ruler’s story on the HW FB page provoked a number of apologists and incited their pathetic attempts at defending the industry responsible for the gelding’s injury and subsequent suffering – as well as its appalling lack of significant punishment for a significant offense. There are several points I’d like to make very clear for those obtuse folks…and since Dr. Papp had sent me (on October 18) a copy of her full report to the PA racing commission regarding this situation, I do have the facts.

    One dull-witted individual commented, “Silent Ruler was receiving the medically accepted treatment of 30 days stall rest prior to surgical evaluation.” I had to read that inane comment twice because surely I had misread that – no, that was verbatim. From Dr. Papp’s report to the commission, three veterinarians (Papp had requested the state vet’s presence nearly immediately after finding the gelding in “severe distress”) concurred Silent Ruler “was suffering and required immediate care or humane euthanasia.”

    Another falsehood at least two apologists attempted to circulate was that the industry/industry members provided for the gelding’s expensive surgical treatment and time-consuming aftercare. In addition, they wanted the industry to be credited with bringing Silent Ruler’s damaged condition to light. 1), neither Dr. Papp nor Dr. Jen Smith (who performed the surgery) are industry employees – they do not work for the industry nor are they paid by the industry. 2), Silent Ruler’s costly surgical repair required a GoFundMe account…the industry didn’t pay for his life-saving surgery. And while I will acknowledge a 1K donation from just one former owner, that owner profited from Silent Ruler’s efforts AND from selling him (via a claiming race) to the tune of 73K. Silent Ruler made him $73,000.00 and he gave back 1K. 3), there was no industry member speaking up for Silent Ruler as he stood in his stall “in a severe state of pain and shock” – NO one employed by the industry did ANYTHING to help him. A friend of Dr. Papp, and a veterinarian himself, said this; “It was only really a sheer state of luck and coincidence that he was found in time and treated by [Papp]…”.

    Silent Ruler is alive and recovering thanks to some individuals who cared about him – the industry nearly made certain he wouldn’t have lived to see his 7th birthday.

  8. The complete, and total lack of compassion for Silent Ruler by members of this VILE business is outrageous to say the least.
    The silence of the “good folks” of horse racing reveals how pathetic they are, and certainly confirms that they are anything but “good folks” to these racehorses.
    Moreover, the complete endorsement of severe pain, suffering, and inhumane treatment of Silent Ruler, by the racing commission, clearly shows a legitimized animal cruelty ring.
    I want to remind our readers that Silent Ruler was LUCKY because you can bet your bottom dollar that there are hundreds of racehorses suffering in their stalls as I write this.
    However, the industry puts gates up around these facilities to keep NEUTRAL professionals out.
    There is little to none neutral peer review of racehorses, and medical records.
    It’s in the industries best interest to keep these SECRET while hundreds of vets across this country exchange medical records on domestic pets every single day for the benefit of the animal not for the benefit of business, and profit as this industry upholds.
    They don’t want you to see what is going on.
    The apologists are just that, and the comments Joy posted are so egregious they would have to be delusional to post such fodder.

  9. Silent Ruler was “for sale” on a CANTER website. It is only because an individual who was interested in purchasing SR happened to be at the track that day and reached out to Dr. Papp to ask for her help with locating the horse’s stall that SR was given the treatment he desperately deserved. To give the racing industry any credit for “saving” this horse’s life is simply egregious. His prognosis? Pasture pet and he is ONLY six. Racing cripples, maims, and kills DAILY and SR is a perfect example of a horse who will be relegated to a “bright” future as a pasture ornament. Reprehensible….

  10. I bet that not ONE DIME will come from the horse racing industry, it’s multi-billion profit entities (such as wagering outlets or sales auction houses) for the ongoing care of Silent Ruler – thank goodness one got saved, but that was after an unacceptable amount of pain, suffering, and inhumane treatment.
    It was such lucky fate that day for Silent Ruler.
    This is the truth behind the fancy hats, and mint juleps folks – please educate people and stop supporting it.

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