PILESGROVE — A national animal-rights group says a New Jersey rodeo treated a fatally injured horse with cruelty.

Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, released a video Tuesday showing a horse after it slammed into a fence and fell to the ground during the Saturday opening night of Cowtown Rodeo.

SHARK says rodeo handlers "roughly tied up" the convulsing horse. Instead of placing the horse on a tractor-pulled pallet, the groups says handlers carted the horse out of the rink on what appeared to be a metal rack or fence so that the audience would not see the injured animal.

"There is no question that using the metal fence caused even more pain for the animal who was clearly dying," SHARK’s NJ Coordinator Stuart Chaifetz said. "We’ve never seen such rough and disgusting treatment of an injured horse."

Cowtown Rodeo called the death "an extremely tragic and unfortunate accident." They said the on-site veterinarian provided immediate assistance to the horse that they identified as Z13.

"A professional veterinarian is on-site, and required, at each rodeo performance as per the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) regulations. We take the safety of our livestock very seriously and follow all protocols dictated by the PRCA," the rodeo said on its website.

SHARK, which sends investigators armed with cameras to events like rodeos to document alleged abuses, says Cowtown has a history of mistreating animals. The group published a video in 2013 of a horse being electroshocked.

They say the Saturday video contradicts Cowtown's claim that the horse's injuries "were instantly fatal."

“SHARK condemns Cowtown for all the cruelty it has committed, for all the horses not only killed in the arena, but sent to be mercilessly slaughtered for food. They have disgraced themselves once again and now another innocent horse has paid the price,” SHARK President Steve Hindi said in a written statement.

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