'Putting Horses At Risk': Lawsuit Filed Over 2019 Death Of Eight Thoroughbreds Aboard Containership - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Putting Horses At Risk’: Lawsuit Filed Over 2019 Death Of Eight Thoroughbreds Aboard Containership

A Puerto Rican Thoroughbred owners' association, the Confederación Hípica of Puerto Rico, has filed a lawsuit against a shipping company and several agents for the 2019 deaths of eight horses aboard a containership, reports the Blood-Horse.

Fifteen horses were loaded into a modified shipping container on April 30, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla., which was then loaded onto the Tote Maritime Puerto Rico containership “Perla del Caribe.” Only seven walked out over three days later when the container was unloaded in San Juan.

Shipping agent Hermanos Ruiz' employees failed to immediately notify the horses' owners of the loss, and made the decision to euthanized one injured animal and bury the other horses on a local farm. The situation was further complicated by Tote Maritime's reluctance to provide the Confederación Hípica with a bill of lading, as well as misrepresentation on that documentation: Hermanos Ruiz was listed as the consignee, but the actual shipper was a Baltimore-based company called Gutman Brothers.

Horses have been shipped by boat rather than by air because the costs to owners are significantly lower, but multiple individuals spoke out against the practice. The main issue with this particular shipment appeared to be the placement of the container aboard the ship, which did not allow adequate airflow to the horses.

“It is disappointing and frustrating that people would consider putting horses at risk one more time when they know it is not the safest way to transport them,” Dr. Jose Garcia Blanco, a Puerto Rican veterinarian and bloodstock agent who buys for the Confederación Hípica, told the Blood-Horse. “Nothing has changed. You still have the same vehicle, so you have the same problems.”

In the lawsuit, Confederación Hípica is seeking $92,500 for the value of the horses as well as $100,000 more for fraud and misrepresentation.

Read more at the Blood-Horse.

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