Dean M. Eckley, 27, of Loda, Ill., was arrested on Oct. 8 by the Mount Hope (N.Y.) Police Department in Orange County on a charge of cruelty to animals after he allegedly drove a horse into a barn door at Mount Hope Training Facility, and then whipped the horse.
After learning of the alleged incident today, the Racing and Wagering Board took swift action to summarily suspend Eckley’s owner-driver license, that had allowed him to compete in harness racing in New York.
The Board’s action led to the scratching of three Eckley-trained horses that had been entered to race at Yonkers Raceway this evening, said Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini. Eckley has also trained horses that have competed at Saratoga Raceway and Monticello Raceway.
“This Board has zero tolerance for equine abuse or animal cruelty,” chairman Sabini said. “We showed that when we removed prominent trainer Ernest Paragallo from Thoroughbred racing, and we showed it again today by taking immediate action against Mr. Eckley.”
Chairman Sabini thanked the Hudson Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Mount Hope Police Department and all those who cooperated with the investigation leading to the arrest.