|Flicka, American Humane Association, Tim McGraw|
Here is the letter from the Department of Animal Services Los Angeles about the investigation into the dead horse on the set of the movie “Flicka.” Link to actual pdf below. The City determined that the death was preventable. They let the horse run with a long dangling lead. He stepped on it, his neck went down and he died. Everyone knows you NEVER let a horse run around with a dangling lead that they could step on. American Humane Association is responsible for allowing the horse to run with a dangling lead.
October 17, 2006
American Humane Film & TV Unit
15366 Dickens Street
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Dear Ms. Rosa:
I am responding to your inquiry into Animal Services’ investigation into the Flicka
Incident. This incident involved the death of a horse with a painted number 23 on its
hindquarters. The horse was running with another horse inside the Hansen Dam Arena
at the time of death.
A special task force investigated the following allegations that arose following this death:
1) the horses involved were from the Bureau of Land Management; 2) the horses did
not have halters and lead ropes on; 3) cattle prods or other devices were used to incite
the horses to act wild; 4) the horses were abused; and 5) the cause of death was the
result of abuse.
Animal Services’ findings to these allegations are as follows:
1. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (B.L.M.) HORSES USED ON THE “FLICKA”
MOVIE SET: After extensive interviews it was confirmed that the horses were
professional bucking horses provided by Bill Agin and were not from the Bureau of
2. THE ABSENCE OF HALTERS AND LEAD ROPES ON THE HORSES: Halters and
lead ropes were used in the “Wild Horse” race scenes. All of the horses had halters
and lead ropes on them during the filming of the “Wild Horse” race scenes.
3. CATTLE PRODS OR OTHER DEVICES WERE USED TO INCITE THE HORSES TO ACT
WILD: There is no evidence that any cattle prod or any other electrical devices were
used on any of the horses at any time. The “Wild Horse” race footage was
observed and there was no evidence of any cattle prods, hot shots, handheld
shockers or whips used on any of the horses. The film footage was observed from 5
different POV’s (Point of View) and included footage before and after each take.
Witnesses directly on top of the chutes during the filming also stated that they did
not observe any of the handler’s using any type of electrical device or whip to agitate
4. THE HORSES WERE ABUSED: There is no evidence that the horses were abused
at any time. The film footage showed the activity before and after each take and at
no time is there any evidence that the horses were hit or abused. The photos and
necropsy of the deceased horse showed it to be in excellent shape and weight with
no apparent signs of being overworked.
5. THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF ABUSE: The necropsy report
concluded the horse died from tripping on its lead rope causing it to fall and break its
neck, which caused asphyxia due to diaphragmatic paralysis. The report
characterized the cause of death as accidental.
After hundreds of hours of investigation Animal Services has determined that this was a
preventable accident. Animal Services contends this accident could have been avoided
had the horses not been allowed to gallop or cantor freely with a dragging lead line and
without an outrider to control them.
The “Wild Horse” race film footage showed a horse with a painted number 23 on its
hindquarters running with another horse inside the Hansen Dam Arena. The horse
apparently tripped on its lead rope causing it to fall violently headfirst. Once on the
ground the horse kicked its hind legs out for approximately three seconds then lay
motionless having died instantly. Horse number 23 was not being chased by anyone
and both horses were alone at one end of the arena when the incident occurred.
The conclusion of this investigation is that the death of the horse, number 23, on the
“Flicka Wild Horse” race scene was a preventable accident but there was no violation of
the California Penal Code 597(a) or 597(b) or Los Angeles Municipal Code 53.65.
It is the responsibility of LA Animal Services to inspect and investigate the use or work
of animals in theatrical, motion picture, television and other performances and
productions and enforce the City of Los Angeles’ humane laws. In the future Animal
Services should be contacted in advance time to fully monitor such filming and should
be provided unlimited access afterwards to conduct thorough investigations when
Edward A. Boks
LA Animal Services
Cc: Tarriq Khero, LA Animal Services, President Commissioner
Jim Bickhart, LA City of Los Angeles, Mayor’s Office
Dov Lesel, LA City of Los Angeles, Deputy City Attorney
David Diliberto, LA Animal Services, Field Ops Director
Link to actual document obtained in a FOIA request.
In AHA’s website they state the LAAS Flicka Incident report stated the death was an “unavoidable accident.” “The City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services (LA Animal Services) conducted its own investigation into the incident at Hansen Dam and concurred with American Humane Association’s findings.” Obviously AHA is lying about this as you can see from the official report.
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