Kissin The Girls
A Tarrant County prosecutor, once again, is being asked to file an animal cruelty charge against Florida horse trainer Shirley Roth. Roth allegedly abused a client’s stallion while in Texas for the Reichert Celebration last fall.
Roth, of Shirley Roth Show Horses, specializes in futurity performance horses. She was arrested after a horse show last September. Authorities in her hometown of Ocala picked her up on an active fugitive warrant from Texas.
The warrant stems from a police investigation into Roth’s alleged training methods used on a two-year-old Quarter Horse named Kissin The Girls. The pair was scheduled to compete at the Texas event. When they never made it to the show pen that prompted questions from the stallion’s owner Gavin Rawlings.
According to Rawlings’ statement, Roth told him the horse was “fine for the event later that day,” although she said “they had ridden the colt all night again” after being “tied up all day in the box”.
When Rawlings demanded to know where his horse was, Roth told him “the horse was crippled and gate officials had not let her enter the class”. Rawlings said he found the horse was not excluded, but instead Roth had been paged six times and was a no-show.
“We found out later that evening that some people had threatened to call the police after witnessing her abuse of the colt in the arena before the show and she had panicked and packed up and was going to take the colt and leave.” Rawlings states he found Roth “finishing a bottle of wine” in the empty stable with her tack boxes and horses loaded on the trailer.
A full veterinary examination was done by Dr. Alan Donnell who stated in his report the horse was “was depressed and agitated.”
“All the injuries are a result [of] excessive abusive training practices,” according to the exam report. Dr. Donnell attributes the injuries on the colt’s barrel to “spur trauma” and the abrasions on the chin to a hackamore chin strap or something similar.
The horse’s left rear leg was “moderately swollen” and his right rear had a superficial laceration of the coronary band roughly an inch long.
The police report states Kissin The Girls “was fearful of people and flinched when people came near him.”
Section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the intentional cruel treatment of animals. Under the statute, “custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of an animal subject to the person’s care and control, regardless of ownership of the animal.
“The facts are compelling,” says Sgt. John Phillips, Supervisor of the Central Criminal Investigation Unit at Fort Worth Police Department. “The most incriminating part is the lengths she went to hide what had been done. It clearly indicates she knew she did something wrong when she attached fake hair to the injured areas.”
Investigators submitted the case to the prosecutor’s office, but Assistant Criminal District Attorney Alfredo Valverde returned it last fall with a request for additional information. Investigators say the prosecutor asked them to speak to a witness close to Roth to determine their role in the alleged abuse.
Rate My Horse PRO learned the witness is Ocala horse trainer Shane Kuhn. He was assisting Roth at the competition when the alleged abuse occurred. Detectives say Kuhn refuses to cooperate with the investigation and has effectively stalled the prosecution of Roth. Kuhn’s attorney, Stephen Murty instructed authorities not to contact his client. Shirley Roth is also represented by Murty.
Our attempts to reach Kuhn were unsuccessful.
The case has idled for 8 months until being resubmitted on Tuesday. Prosecutor Valverde says due to the recommended felony charge, the case would go before a grand jury, however, he has not committed to pursuing the charge. When pressed regarding the state’s care, custody, and control law, Valverde said, “I’m not at liberty to discuss it since this is a pending case.”
Roth remains suspended from the American Quarter Horse Association and National Snaffle Bit Association. She is out on $5000 bond.
Sgt. Phillips asks anyone who witnessed the alleged abuse to contact him at 817-392-3904.
Horse owner Gavin Rawlings writes, “we hold Shirley Roth fully responsible for the cruelty to this horse as she was the person who was in care and custody of the horse when these injuries occurred.”
Assistant Criminal District Attorney Alfredo Valverde did not prosecute Shirley Roth for animal cruelty. The case is closed.