The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has opened an investigation following allegations that a thoroughbred was cleared to race at an Erie-area track last year despite serious injuries.
The move follows a letter received last week from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) regarding Charlie’s Quest, a horse that raced at Presque Isle Downs.
Virginia-based PETA says the horse was run three times in approximately 30 days during the 2016 season, despite multiple chronic injuries. PETA asked the commission to investigate the procedures of state veterinarians and stewards at Presque Isle Downs.
Jason A. Klouser, the commission’s enforcement director, responded in a letter to PETA’s attorney that an investigation has begun.
“The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission understands the importance that our veterinarians’ pre-race examinations play in regards to the health and overall welfare of horses,” Klouser wrote.
The commission, oversees racing at six tracks across Pennsylvania, as well as at 16 county fairs.
“We take concerns such as the one you referred to very seriously, and we advocate for ethical treatment of all race horses here in Pennsylvania,” Klouser added. “The Racing Commission does not look favorably on those who treat their horses in a cruel manner.”
Presque Isle Downs did not respond to a request for comment.
The horse has since been purchased by PETA and retired to a farm with other rescued animals.