Drone Footage Exposes Shocking Cruelty, Spurs Arrest at Unlicensed Illinois Rodeo


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JOLIET, IL – Drone footage obtained from an unlicensed rodeo in Lockport Township has led to the arrest of 26-year-old Ezequiel Herrera on charges of animal cruelty. 

According to Will County Sheriff’s Office reports deputies acted on a tip-off, which originated from a drone video provided by the animal rights group, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK).

The footage reportedly shows nearly twelve minutes of captured instances of alleged animal abuse while steers, seen suffering from injuries, are allegedly being forced to partake in the unlicensed rodeo activities. The drone footage was pivotal in identifying Herrera, who is reportedly seen in the footage using an electric cattle prod to shock steers in their face and head, forcing them into the rodeo arena.

An investigation following the incident led to Herrera’s reported admission to the allegations under interrogation by Sheriff’s detectives. This led to Judge Art Smigielski issuing a criminal complaint summons against Herrera, with a court appearance scheduled for December 15, 2023.

The case underscores the crucial role of technology in uncovering hidden abuses, particularly in unregulated events like the Lockport rodeo. The Will County Sheriff’s Office, thanked SHARK’s contribution, reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating animal cruelty in the region, sending a clear message that such acts will be met with stringent legal action.


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