They Kill Horses, Don`t They? (Mexicans, That Is.)

Here in northern
California, American animal lovers are watching
the final stages of the case of two Mexican
illegal aliens who

got drunk
and killed a horse for fun.
Liobijildo Guzman Herrera and Noel Guido-Silva,
both farmworkers, ended a night of drinking last
April 26 by driving their vehicles around a field
near Kenwood, chasing a terrified 23-year-old
mare, running her down and causing her a painful

Gentle Song
, a retired race horse with three
victories in 27 starts, belonged to a 13-year-old

Mexico has no laws against animal
cruelty and is known for its blood sports like


. So we have to understand the Mexicans`
reprehensible behavior in a cultural context. Diversity,
as we all know, is our strength.

Americans are generally unaware of
national and cultural differences, until they become too

to overlook. One American value that many
cultures do not share: a strong rejection of cruelty to
animals, along with our fondness for


Even Americans who don`t normally
keep little furry creatures around couldn`t imagine
causing gratuitous pain to an animal for some sicko
enjoyment. That`s why we have

laws against cockfighting

and general

animal cruelty
. Of course, we have our own
home-grown cases where animals are cruelly abused. But
average Americans severely disapprove of such acts.

Around the globe, however,
attitudes toward animals are very different. For
example, most

regard dogs as unclean.

Iranian dog owners
have been fined or had their pets
confiscated by religious police when Fido was being
walked. Dog ownership is regarded as a Western
corruption—witness Iranian cleric

Hojatolislam Hassani`s demand
that pets and their
to be removed: "I demand the judiciary
arrest all dogs with long, medium or short legs together
with their long-legged owners, otherwise I will arrest
them myself."

had earlier borne Hassani`s wrath as being

particularly objectionable
to Islamic



other parts of Asia
, however, people do

like dogs
very much—barbecued, stir-fried or in


Some Asians regard dogs as
becoming more flavorful when they have been

in the slaughtering process.

Apparently, it releases adrenaline
into the dog`s system.

In Mexico, bullfighting remains a
sports obsession and showplace for Mexican machismo. But
it`s a fixed fight, where the bull always loses.


don`t fare well
in bullfights either. They may be
gored as they tote around the spear-carrying

. And of

Mexico`s stock
of horses, about

10 percent are slaughtered for food

After there were no immediate
arrests in the killing of Gentle Song, the Sonoma County
Humane Society offered $10,000 in reward money to catch
the perpetrators. Outraged animal lovers chipped in and
the amount rose to over $20,000. In mid-June, an

tipster told police
where to find the killers. The
arrest brought some closure to the young owner, who

on the pasture gate at the news.


original plea
last July was no contest. Apparently
the Mexicans illegals

they would receive a hand-slap sentence in
the county jail for a measly dead horse.

But Judge Robert Boyd indicated
that he would sentence them to the maximum three years
in state prison, reflecting the

"vicious manner in which the crime was carried out,"

in the words of a Deputy DA. The two then withdrew their
plea and opted for a jury trial.

The Sonoma District Attorney`s
office must be commended for the diligence with which
they approached the prosecution. At the preliminary
hearing, Deputy DA James Patrick Casey put on a
four-hour presentation of evidence to show how seriously
the prosecutor took the case. Furthermore, he sought a
felony verdict, not a misdemeanor.

During the two-week

of Guido-Silva before

Judge Lawrence Antolini
, police investigators
described the pasture, which showed

tire tracks
and hoof prints leading up to the
battered body of the dead horse, and jurors made a field
trip to the crime scene. Jim Michelson, the father of
Gentle Song`s young owner, testified that the mare`s

"matched her name. She was part of the family."

Sheriff`s Deputy Bill Focha
testified that one of the vehicles ran over the injured
horse as the drivers fled the scene. He knew that
because there was a

tire imprint
running over Gentle Song`s head.

Prosecutor Casey stated the

wanton killing
was a game to the killers. "It was
another Friday night and they were

liquored up
he said. "It was blood sport on
their part."

On March 23, Guido-Silva was

of felony animal cruelty, felony
vandalism, misdemeanor trespassing and misdemeanor
hit-and-run driving. He was found not guilty of felony
conspiracy and intentionally killing a horse. He is
still looking at a couple of years in prison, to be
followed by blessed

to his

true home
, as the

law requires.

His sentencing is scheduled for
April 22.

Herrera had agreed earlier to a
plea bargain, and pleaded guilty to everything except
conspiracy. He will hear his sentence on Monday, March

Hopefully there will be maximum
prison terms meted out to send the message south that
Americans don`t like our horses killed for the sick fun
of illegal aliens.

The next time someone tells you
that Mexican culture has enriched America, ask whether
that includes gratuitous cruelty to animals and


Once again, when open borders and
multiculturalism win, American values lose.

And a young rider has lost her
beloved horse.

Brenda Walker [email
] lives in Northern California
and publishes