San Diego Ballpark Sued to Stop Event Because of Possible Abuse of Animals

Gavel with open book and scales on table

Gavel with open book and scales on table

By The Vanguard Staff

SAN DIEGO, CA – Petco Park here has been targeted by an unusual legal action—it’s being sued to stop a three-day rodeo planned next year because community groups allege it will lead to the abuse of animals featured in the event, according to a story by City News.

The lawsuit against the Padres and C5 Rodeo, the company operating the San Diego Rodeo, was filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court. 

The San Diego Rodeo is planned for Jan. 12-14, the first-ever rodeo to be held at the ballpark and the first time a rodeo has been held in the city of San Diego since the 1980s, wrote City News.

Animal Protection and Rescue League, and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, allege in their legal filing the rodeo company conducting the event, C5 Rodeo, “utilizes electric prods and similar devices to shock animals.”

“The rodeos tie tight bucking straps around their abdomens and then they often actually shock the horses before they ride into the arena with a rider on their back and that’s why they’re bucking wildly and they sometimes fall down,” said Bryan Pease, the San Diego attorney who filed the action on behalf of the groups.

The lawsuit, said City News, also alleges the Padres and C5 Rodeo “are violating San Diego’s municipal code which prohibits non-service animals from being at Petco Park during a Padres event.”

“They haven’t sought any sort of special exemption or anything. They just plan to go ahead with bringing farm animals into Petco park so that men can chase them around and wrestle and lasso them and electric shock them, which is actually how the so-called bucking broncos end up acting the way they do,” Pease said to City News.

In a statement to NBC 7, a spokesperson for C5 Rodeo said: “In our preparations for the San Diego Rodeo, we have worked with industry professionals to establish and implement animal safety measures. We are committed to providing the very best care for the contestants and livestock and abide all California laws regulating the treatment and use of animals.”

Pease, added City News, has authored a resolution calling for the city to “pass an ordinance banning electric devices at rodeos. The resolution, which was passed unanimously by the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee last month, also calls for San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria to deny an event permit for the January rodeo.” 

The Padres said, writes City News,  “We have been assured by the group that is hosting this event that the safety, security and well-being of the contestants and livestock of the San Diego Rodeo are of the utmost importance. They are event professionals who are experts in livestock handling and care, as well as pre-event, event and post-event care for the contestants. Animal welfare is a major ongoing initiative of the professional sport of rodeo and the San Diego Rodeo, and the event hosts pledge to continue the strict enforcement of these rules and regulations.”

NBC 7 reached out to Petco, which pays for naming rights to the Padres’ stadium but does not have a hand in ballpark operations, for comment but has not heard back.

The city of San Diego, writes City News, said it has not received a special event permit application for this event yet, but noted it is not due until two weeks prior to the event.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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