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City investigates cruelty charges leveled at rodeo

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Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2007 12:00 pm

By Desiree Johnson

Killeen Daily Herald

The Killeen city attorney is investigating allegations of animal cruelty made against local rodeo practices.

The rodeo subcommittee is facing accusations of open meeting policy violations, violations of animal control ordinances, allegations of breaking state laws and other grievances, Kathy Davis said.

"There are always general complaints from people who believe the rodeo is cruel in general, but there has not before been specific allegations of cruelty," Davis said.

In addition to the complaint letter, volunteers captured the alleged rodeo abuse on videotape, which has since been posted on the popular Internet site, YouTube. George Fox, president of Assisi Animal Refuge, has been preparing to present these allegations to the city for the past five months.

"The video is a small portion, not the whole issue. This is going to be the controversy of the year," Fox said. "(The rodeo) is a waste of time, and not that popular. We want those who have broken the law behind bars, where they belong."

While Davis is hoping to have investigations finished by the first week of September, Fox, who is certified in animal-cruelty investigation, said the rest of the story will go public through various news outlets on Aug. 27 and will bring much more information to light.

John Fisher, chairman of the city of Killeen Rodeo Subcommittee, said all rules and regulations have been followed.

"We're moving forward until (the city) tells us we've done something wrong," Fisher said. "We're dealing with the agricultural community, and that's their livelihood. They wouldn't want to do anything to harm animals. We just want to bring a good, quality rodeo to Killeen."

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