Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
An animal cruelty case against an Olympic athlete who allegedly hit her horse during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been dropped.
Pentathlete Annika Schleu, 31, and national trainer Kim Raisner were being investigated “for alleged violations of the animal welfare act” after they were seen allegedly hitting her horse during an event at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Schleu will now have to pay EUR 500 (GBP 417) to a non-profit organisation, according to her lawyers, who added that the agreement to terminate the proceedings in no way represented an admission of guilt.
She and the national trainer both allegedly hit her horse Saint Boy after it refused to take part in the course, despite her using spurs and the whip. Raisner also allegedly punched the horse.
Schleu’s lawyers wrote that the termination of the proceedings “represents neither an admission of guilt on the part of Ms Schleu, nor was our client’s guilt established or a sufficient suspicion confirmed”.
They added that their client had decided “in agreement with the public prosecutor’s office for purely procedural economic reasons to discontinue the investigation in this way”.
Raisner also agreed for the charges to be dropped “so that our client can continue to call herself innocent”.
Her lawyers said that Schleu was “interested in continuing the discussion on the protection of animals, especially horses, in and outside of sport”.
The German Association for Modern Pentathlon (DVMF) welcomed the decision, saying: “We are pleased that both Annika Schleu and Kim Raisner can turn to things that are important to them and can leave this chapter behind.”
The modern pentathlon’s world association, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), announced after the incident that it would remove show jumping from the pentathlon programme. After the Summer Games in Paris in 2024, the discipline is to be replaced by a new one.