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BC-RAC--Santa Anita Fatalities,1st Ld-Writethru

April 16, 2019
Los Angeles’ top prosecutor says she’s formed a task force to investigate 23 horse deaths at Santa Anita Park between December and March. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says the task force includes experienced prosecutors and sworn peace officers. She says they will thoroughly investigate and evaluate the evidence to determine “whether unlawful conduct or conditions affected the welfare and safety” of the horses at Santa Anita.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor says she’s formed a task force to investigate 23 horse deaths at Santa Anita Park between December and March.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey said Tuesday the task force of prosecutors and peace officers will “determine whether unlawful conduct or conditions affected the welfare and safety” of the horses.

Lacey’s office had previously said its investigators would work with the California Horse Racing Board as that body looks into the deaths.

Santa Anita says it’s cooperating and “is fully committed to modernizing our sport in a way that prioritizes the welfare and safety of horses above all.”

Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, lauded the announcement, adding: “The racing industry has shown that it’s incapable of policing itself.”