Racehorse Trainer Faces Animal Cruelty Sentence

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A trainer who in 2002 was accused of failing to care for a racehorse that suffered a fractured knee at Los Alamitos is scheduled to be sentenced today for felony animal cruelty in connection with a 2008 offense at the Pomona Fairplex.

This time, 58-year-old Swedish citizen Zvi Kriple could be deported because of his felony conviction.


"They destroyed my life," Kriple told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

A jury found Kriple failed to euthanize or sufficiently treat a horse at the Fairplex racetrack that suffered from a chronic hoof condition. Prosecutors say he ignored advice from a veterinarian about treating his horse, and should have euthanized the animal rather than allow it to continue to suffer.

"He was completely overwhelmed by all the things he had to do, and rather than face them head on he just neglected them," said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich, who prosecuted the owner/trainer. "Mr. Kriple had no resources to put into this horse."

Kriple, who was barred from training horses after his 2008 arrest and now works as a long-haul trucker, still maintains his racehorse, In Schlefa's Honor, did not need to be euthanized. Saying he previously owned and trained about 20 horses in Southern California--and racing them at Santa Anita, Del Mar, the Fairplex and Los Alamitos--Kriple claimed he had his own way of nursing ailing horses back to health.

He conceded his unorthodox ways made him a "black sheep" among members of the California Horse Racing Board, which in the 2002 Los Alamitos case found his conduct detrimental to horse racing. However, the board did not suspend Kriple's license to train horses or forward the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

Mrakich told the Daily Bulletin he would have filed criminal charges against Kriple had he been presented the case from 2002.

(For another example of an animal cruelty case the Orange County District Attorney's office failed to file charges on, read this.)

Though Kriple could get up to three years in state prison at today's sentencing, the LA County Probation Department did not recommend additional jail time for him in its pre-sentencing report, and Mrakich says he will not seek additional jail time from Judge Thomas C. Falls either.
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