State prosecutors in Jefferson County, Ky., said they can't investigate the death of the filly Eight Belles despite a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Steve Tedder, a spokesman for the commonwealth's attorney, said June 5 the actions requested by PETA aren't within the legal duties of the office. PETA has urged prosecutors to bring animal cruelty charges against Eight Belles' trainer, Larry Jones.
Eight Belles broke down and subsequently was euthanized after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. A necropsy on Eight Belles showed she had no diseases or pre-existing bone abnormalities before her breakdown. She also tested negative for steroids
Lawyers for the animal rights group delivered a letter June 5 to R. David Stengel, the commonwealth's attorney for Jefferson County, asking for an investigation to be launched into the death of the 3-year-old filly. PETA demonstrated in front of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority office the week after the Derby and called for changes in the horseracing industry, including a ban on 2-year-old racing.