Electric Horsemen

Is a rodeo mafia covering up evidence of animal abuse in California?

Hindi went on to found SHARK in 1993 and has built a mailing list with 8,000 addresses. Contributions to the group allow him to receive part-time pay for what's turned into a full-time job. He's scored several victories: forcing Pepsi to stop sponsoring bullfights in Mexico; winning a statewide ban on horse tripping and pigeon shooting in his home state; exposing the use of captive bolt guns—the kind used in slaughterhouses—to euthanize dogs, cats and deer, also in Illinois; getting the Pennsylvania pigeon shoot dragged into court, where videos SHARK has shot have been entered as evidence; using ultralight planes to separate herds from hunters in several states; and persuading schools across the country to stop staging donkey basketball games.

The Folsom cop says many on his force share that kind of passion for protecting defenseless creatures.

"Law enforcement is extremely sensitive to animal cruelty," he says. "There is always sworn law enforcement at rodeos. Why don't these people find an officer and tell him the abuse is going on? Instead, they always go to the media."

Hindi responds, "Oftentimes, law enforcement has been hired for crowd control and paid by the people putting on the rodeo. It's a conflict of interest, which, unfortunately, often results in a conflict going the wrong way."

Guess where he says that's happened before?

"In Folsom, the [SHARK] investigator had to almost twist the arm of the officer to get him to confront the rodeo clown," Hindi says. "And then [the officer] did not confiscate the prod. You're at a disadvantage when you don't take evidence out of their hands."

Mix disingenuous rodeo promoters with "weak-willed law enforcement" and well-heeled sponsors who give big bucks to elected DAs, and you get a Rodeo Mafia.

"They are shameless and they corrupt others," Hindi says. "We've gone to police, not just in Folsom, and most of the time they don't know there is a state law against shocking horses, and a lot of times they don't care."

See the videos SHARK shot at last summer's Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo by logging on to
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