Wednesday, August 12, 1987

Oklahoma: Bill McAnally and six others were charged Tuesday in connection with seven horses that were raced to death

OKLAHOMA -- Claremore Horseman Bill McAnally and six others were charged Tuesday in connection with endurance races in which prosecutors allege participants gambled and rode seven horses to death.

The Rogers County charges came after a three-month investigation in four states that included dozens of witnesses, said Patrick Abitbol, first assistant district attorney.

"This case by far has captivated more attention than any other I've worked on," Abitbol said Tuesday.

Efforts to reach McAnally for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. He did not respond to messages left at his business, a Catoosa backhoe and excavating equipment company.

Participants in the races near Catoosa allege McAnally urged entrants in his competition to run an all-out horse race in hot, humid weather along a Verdigris River trail.

The races, in distances of 15, 25, 50 and 100 miles, were organized by McAnally but were not sanctioned by the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce, Whiteley said. Estes said the race organizer pulled out of the event Friday, apparently because of dangerous heat and humidity.

The bodies of five horses, one of them buried along the race course, were found by authorities.

Carolyn Estes, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said an undersheriff looking into the case found the five dead horses on a trail along the Port of Catoosa channel.

Six other horses died after the race, Catoosa Mayor Terry Whitely said.

Estes said that if more than five horses died, "they were removed prior to our investigation." She added that authorities "may never know the actual number" that died.

McAnally is charged with seven counts of cruelty to animals. Both he and his wife, Paula McAnally, also are charged with unlawful betting on a race.

Five others charged with cruelty to animals allegedly were either riders or owners of seven horses that died.

The district attorney's decision to prosecute was welcomed Tuesday by an endurance ride organization that had pulled out of the races.

"I'm surprised and pleased they got the owners on it," said Darolyn Butler, a member of the American Endurance Ride Conference. "I really do hold McAnally responsible for most of this."

Butler had worked with McAnally to make the rides an AERC-sanctioned event. The AERC withdrew its sanction one day before the event after McAnally allegedly said the horses were to run without rest stops or veterinary control. Many of the participants whose horses died said the extreme heat was responsible for the collapse of their animals.

Bill Coghill of Broken Arrow, whose 4-year-old filly died after he pulled her out of the event, said in an earlier interview that the animal would have survived the run in normal weather.

"People are calling us "horse killers,' " Coghill said. "There's no way. I loved that horse."

One of the carcasses was sent to Oklahoma State University for necropsy. A pathology report showed the horse died of heat exhaustion and shock, Abitbol said.

The horse also had the diuretic Lasix in its system, said Bill Edwards, veterinary toxicologist with the university's Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

The tests could not determine whether the drug had been administered before or after the race, Edwards said.

The drug is legal in Oklahoma but banned from state-sanctioned races, Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission investigator Benny Lovett said.

A report from the American Endurance Ride Conference, which withdrew its sanction the day before the races, cited allegations McAnally had told participants "to use Butazoliden (a stimulant) or whatever drugs would make their horses run fast."

Others named in the charges would not comment Tuesday.

Each of the seven animal cruelty counts against McAnally would carry up to a five-year prison term, or a one-year jail term and a maximum fine of $500 on conviction, Abitbol said.

Coghill, as an alleged rider of a horse that died, is charged with one animal cruelty count. Johnnie Lee Medders of Talihina, allegedly the owner or caretaker of two of the horses, is charged with two counts.

Jody Marcella Trotter of Kiefer, who allegedly rode one of the stricken horses and owned or took care of two, is charged with two animal cruelty counts.

Separate cruelty counts were filed against alleged riders Marty Douglas Bates of Claremore and William Schluneger of Broken Arrow.

The betting charge against the McAnallys stems from an alleged gambling auction before the race, Abitbol said. Conviction would carry up to a 10-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000, he said.

(NewsOK - Aug 12, 1987)

Friday, August 7, 1987

Illinois: Teen With Pit Bull Guilty Of Armed Robbery

ILLINOIS -- A Cook County Juvenile Court judge found a teenager guilty of armed robbery Wednesday, ruling that the pit-bull terrier he ordered to attack his victim was a "dangerous weapon."

The youth, now 17, used the dog when he robbed another teenager last month in the 1400 block of South Ashland Avenue, said Assistant State`s Atty. Jeffrey Ryan.

"He demanded money, and when it was refused, a struggle took place and he commanded the dog," Ryan said. "He said, `Get him!'"

The dog latched onto the victim's knee. When the youth managed to free his leg, the dog leaped up and grabbed his jacket. The youth fled, leaving his jacket behind, still in the dog's grasp. The robber got the jacket and a pair of sunglasses that were in a pocket, but no money, Ryan said.

"The dog was an active participant in the robbery-- he was the one who took the jacket," Ryan said.

The victim, treated at Cook County Hospital, later identified a dog tied outside the defendant`s home as the one that attacked him. The dog was taken to the city`s animal pound, where it is to be destroyed Thursday.

Ryan argued that the pit bull qualified as a "weapon" when used by the robber, whose name was withheld because of his age at the time of arrest. Judge Julia Dempsey agreed and found the youth delinquent on charges of armed robbery and aggravated battery.

The teenager, released over Ryan`s objection, will be sentenced Sept. 21.

(Chicago Tribune - August 6, 1987)