hal-richards

Kaufman County Hal Richards recessed a hearing for a proposed horse racing event in light of equine health concerns countywide.

KAUFMAN, Texas — UPDATE [July 12] — An applicant requesting a mass gathering permit for the purpose of horse racing has withdrawn the request in light of an equine infectious anemia (EIA) outbreak and quarantine at a nearby property, county officials confirmed Friday.

The permit was withdrawn until the quarantine, ordered by the Texas Animal Health Commission, is lifted and there is no further risk to horses.

The applicant now has 45 days before he can reapply for a mass gathering permit.

The Texas Animal Health Commission announced the quarantine earlier this month after 16 horses tested positive for EIA. The agency had only previously stated the quarantined property was southwest of Kemp, Texas. During the public hearing to consider the mass gathering permit, Kaufman County Judge Hal Richards revealed the quarantined property was within 1.5 miles of the applicant's property.

ORIGINAL [July 10] — A public hearing held today to consider a permit for a mass gathering for the purpose of horse racing at an event in Scurry was recessed pending animal health concerns by the county.

The applicant, Jose Manuel Rico, was seeking another mass gathering permit for horse races to be held on July 21, 2019, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 18315 County Road 4075 in Scurry.

Upon calling the hearing to order, Kaufman County Judge Hal Richards told Rico in light of the recent news that 16 quarter horses have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) at one Kaufman County premise that is located within approximately 1.5 miles from the event site, and the subsequent quarantine of those animals, that the hearing would be recessed until Rico had submitted copies of Coggins test for all horses that would be on site.

Further, Judge Richards ordered that Rico provide a sworn affidavit that all participants have been notified of the EIA outbreak and are aware that the quarantined horses are in close proximity to the event site.

Rico has been denied a permit numerous times previously since October 2017 when horse racing tracks were put on notice in early 2017 when the county announced stricter mass gathering permitting procedures, in accordance with the Texas Mass Gathering Act. The change was in response to area residents’ concerns for unwanted crime, illegal betting, noise, litter, and public safety and nuisance issues brought on by the events.

Rico has a deadline of 1 p.m. on Friday to comply with the judge's request.