How the Fines and Penalties Process Works

How the Fines and Penalties Process Works

these are the actions taken when an individual violates the animal welfare or unsportsmanlike conduct rules at an AQHA event. 

herd of horses running at sunset (Credit: AQHA Calendar)

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In accordance with the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules & Regulations, these are the actions taken when an individual violates the animal welfare or unsportsmanlike conduct rules at an AQHA event. The AQHA fines and penalties regarding inhumane treatment and unsportsmanlike conduct can be found in rules VIO200-204 & VIO220.

Should an exhibitor receive a warning card, here's the AQHA Animal Welfare Violation/Adjudication Process:

1. The process is initiated when a warning card is issued to a person by a steward or when a judge disqualifies an exhibitor for inhumane treatment.

a. The rule(s) violated must be clearly defined. (See VIO200 – VIO204 and SHW205 of the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations). A detailed account of the incident should be documented by the steward or the judge(s).

b. While not always possible, stewards are encouraged to obtain photos or videos evidencing the violation as well as statements from witnesses to the violation. Such evidence should be sent to AQHA immediately after the steward completes his/her duties at the show.

c. In the case of a judge’s disqualification, documentation should be sent in with the show results.

2. Once AQHA receives, reviews and evaluates the evidence, a letter of inquiry is generated by Director of Breed Integrity to the person receiving the warning/disqualification asking them to respond to the violation in question. A response is required per AQHA Rule VIO100.

3. Once the response is received, all documentation is reviewed at a hearing by the Animal Welfare Grievance Committee (AWGC). The alleged violator may be asked to participate in the AWGC hearing.

4. After a hearing, the AWGC issues its determination regarding whether a violation occurred and, if so, makes a recommendation to the AQHA Executive Committee regarding what disciplinary action should be imposed.

5. If the AQHA Executive Committee determines that disciplinary action is appropriate after its initial review described in #4 above, an offer of penalty letter is sent to the violator giving them the opportunity to accept the disciplinary action or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

6. If an Executive Committee hearing is held, the Executive Committee’s final decision shall be immediately effective, and the matter shall not be subject to further referral or review.

AQHA Fines & Penalties Chart