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Horse trainer at Harrah’s Hoosier Park faces charges after whipping horse with leather lead

A picture of horses on Harrah's Hoosier Park racetrack in Anderson, Indiana. (WISH file photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — An Anderson horse trainer is facing animal cruelty charges after being caught on video whipping his horse with a leather lead in June.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by News 8 says in September that an Anderson Police Department detective was tipped off about a YouTube video dated in June showing a horse at Harrah’s Hoosier Park racetrack being whipped multiple times by its trainer.

Investigators spoke with Hoosier Park officials, who said they investigated the incident and identified the trainer in the video as 69-year-old Dale Hiteman.

The horse, named Princess Laa, is shown in the video flailing herself up and falling to the ground when Hiteman attempted to place a bridal and other equipment on her head. After the horse fell to the corner of her stall, court documents say, Hiteman is seen grabbing a leather lead and whipping the horse several times on her body and head.

After Hiteman stopped striking Princess Laa, she stood up. Hiteman then put the equipment on her head and led her from her stall.

Park officials shared with investigators that a witness said she had been working outside of Princess Laa’s stall and witnessed Hiteman whipping the horse. Court documents say the witness had only been working with Hiteman for two weeks and later quit due to the incident.

Veterinarians who examined Princess Laa said in statements that, after the incident, they couldn’t see any evidence of physical or mental trauma to the horse. Court documents say that the veterinarians also could not see an exact reason for why Hiteman struck Princess Laa.

Anderson police spoke with Hiteman on Oct. 11, who confirmed to investigators that he was the trainer in the video, and that “he was striking the horse on the back of the head trying to scare her to make her get up.”

Hiteman was not arrested following the incident. A court hearing has not been set yet.

News 8 has reached out to Harrah’s Hoosier Park for comment.

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