Nonsanctioned rodeos one target of Lyon ordinance change |

Nonsanctioned rodeos one target of Lyon ordinance change

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

A Lyon County commissioner is proposing toughening the animal control ordinance after hearing complaints that some rodeo events at the Dayton Valley Events Center include “horse tripping” or “steer tailing.”

Those activities, said Commissioner Larry McPherson, constitute cruelty to animals.

The amendment will be proposed at the Lyon County Commission meeting Thursday.

“Some of this is brought up because it was reported to us by deputies and animal control that some of the nonsanctioned rodeos were engaged in using animals for targets and causing injury to the animals,” McPherson said.

He described “steer tailing” as grabbing a calf by the tail and flipping it so hard that an animal ended up with a broken back. Another suffered a broken leg, and McPherson said it was reported to him by witnesses that the animals were just pulled aside and not given any veterinary attention while the rodeo continued.

Horse tripping is also an event at some rodeos not sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo and Cowboy Association.

“That is one of the things that some of the nonsanctioned rodeos do quite a bit,” McPherson said. “We’re trying to take care of that.”

Other activities that would be banned include fighting animals, overworking animals and keeping animals in too-small crates.

The section on fighting would make it unlawful for any person to own, keep, use or be in any manner connected with or have a financial interest in instigating, promoting, arranging or carrying on fighting between animals. It would also be illegal to maintain premises for that purpose.

Another section would forbid the overdriving, overloading or overworking of animals, including to cruelly beat, torture or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill any animal.

“Sometimes animals are used over and over and over again and they’re fatigued,” he said.

A section on enclosures and restraints would make it unlawful to confine or overcrowd an animal in any cage or enclosure in a cruel or inhumane manner.

The section that covers rodeos also covers carnivals, fairs and amusement parks, and makes it unlawful for any owner, operator or agent to use live animals as a target or in any cruel or unusual manner.

McPherson said the proposed amendment was vetted by District Attorney Bob Auer and Deputy District Attorney Mark Krueger, as well as outgoing Animal Control Director Ted Bolzle.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.

If You Go

WHAT: Lyon County Commission meeting

WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: 27 S. Main St., Yerington

CALL: 463-6531