Police Arrest Trainer for Beating Horse Following PETA Complaint

Published by Danny Prater.
2 min read

Breaking news: Today New York State Police arrested harness racing trainer Frederick Bourgault for allegedly beating a horse named Finish Line so violently that he had to be euthanized. Bourgault was charged with two felonies: interference with or injury to certain domestic animals and criminal mischief in the second degree.

humans force horses to participate in harness racing

The incident reportedly took place in mid-July 2023 at Pine Bush Training Facility in Pine Bush, New York. PETA was informed of the alleged beating by former trainer Mike Petrelli and immediately contacted the police.

Finish Line’s body, which had been buried on the training facility’s property, was exhumed and sent to a laboratory for a necropsy.

an excavator digs for the body of Finish Line, a horse trained by Frederick BourgaultPhotos supplied by Mike Petrelli showing the exhumation of Finish Line

the body of Finish Line is exhumedPhotos supplied by Mike Petrelli showing the exhumation of Finish Line

The Violent Track Record of Trainer Frederick Bourgault

Bourgault, who has trained horses forced to race at Tioga Downs and Monticello Raceway, was suspended in 2020 by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in Canada for beating a horse who had placed fifth in a race. He has a long history of violations in New York state and has been fined and/or suspended for kicking horses and for excessive use of the whip.

In 2022, the New York State Gaming Commission fined Bourgault for whipping a horse after a race and directed him to take an anger management course. In April 2023, Bourgault was again fined for excessive whipping.

Frederick Bourgault is a repeat offender who should have been booted from racing years ago, the first time he whipped a horse after a race was over.

—PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo

PETA questions why the gaming commission and tracks have allowed Bourgault, with his documented history of violence and violations, to continue racing and why New York taxpayers are forced to support the harness racing industry with $100 million in subsidies every year.

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