Last August, SHARK Investigator Michael Kobliska attended the Olmsted County Fair Rodeo in Rochester, MN and video-documented stock contractor, Talton Toney, repeatedly shocking bulls with a variety of electric devices. See SHARK's video footage here.
SHARK took the video footage and filed a complaint of animal cruelty with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office declined to file charges. But that was not the end of the matter.
SHARK continued to pursue animal cruelty charges against Mr. Toney by reaching out directly to the Rochester City Attorney's Office. Over the course of the following months, SHARK's attorney provided additional information to the Rochester City Attorney's Office and worked to encourage the office to press animal cruelty charges against Mr. Toney and his company, T&C Rodeo Company.
Last month, the Rochester City Attorney's Office concluded its investigation of this matter and although the office declined to press charges, it did send Mr. Toney a clear message that his conduct at the Olmsted County Fair Rodeo was unacceptable, and that it would not tolerate such behavior in the future. In fact, the Rochester City Attorney's Office sent Mr. Toney the following letter, telling him to
"review your practices and assure that this type of animal handling does not occur again" and warning him that "[i]f there is evidence of similar animal handling that occurs in this jurisdiction in the future, my office will likely bring criminal charges against anyone involved in such conduct."
See letter here.
"While we certainly would have preferred criminal charges in this matter, we are pleased that the Rochester City Attorney's Office responded to SHARK's animal cruelty complaint with the seriousness it deserves," states SHARK's attorney Lisa White.
SHARK fully intends to be at this year's Olmsted County Fair Rodeo and if we see Mr. Toney or any other animal handler shocking bulls or engaging in any other type of cruel behavior, we will not hesitate to again pursue animal cruelty charges with the Rochester City Attorney's Office.