Two people have now been charged with combined felony and misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals after Sheriff’s Investigators today procured warrants for their arrest following an investigation initiated on June 30th into the welfare of several horses in a pen on Baxter CR 213 in Southern Baxter County.
As previously reported by the Sheriff’s Office, on the afternoon of Thursday, June 30th, Sheriff’s Sergeant Ken Grayham responded to a citizen complaint that several horses, dogs, and cats were being mistreated and deprived of food and water on Baxter CR 213. Upon arrival, Sgt. Grayham and later Sheriff’s Investigator Drayton McDaniel found ten horses on the premises, only two of which had access to even a small amount of water. There was no grain or hay present for the horses. The corrals where most of the horses were penned up were entirely dirt, with no grass. Investigators noted that there was a pond, surrounded by grass, approximately 200 feet from the corrals, but the horses were allowed no access to that area. The horses appeared to be in significant distress and some were confined in their own excrement. Investigators obtained a Search Warrant from the District Court later that evening and seized a total of ten horses as well as six stray dogs and cats that were running loose on the property. Water for the animals was brought to the location by the Rodney Volunteer Fire Department. The horses were trailered and taken to the Double S Oaks Ranch in Baxter County, which was coordinated by Desiree Bender, Arkansas Director of the Humane Society of the United States. They have been temporarily kept and maintained there, under veterinary care, since that time. The dogs and cats were taken to the Baxter County Animal Shelter.
Investigators learned that the horses were owned by the tenants of the property, being Roy Charles Parker and Brenda Lou Parker. Investigators also learned that Roy Parker had previously been charged with Cruelty to Animals in Izard County.
Since their seizure, each of the horses has been intensively examined by a licensed veterinarian, utilizing the “Henneke Horse Body Condition Scoring System” to determine the approximate health and overall condition of each horse. This system, developed by Don Henneke, PhD while at Texas University, utilizes a standardized scoring system for assessing the body condition of horses. The grading scale ranges from 1 – 9, with a condition of “1” being the worst. Of the ten horses examined, four of the horses were rated as a “1”, with the highest rating given to any of the remaining six horses being a “3”.
Sheriff’s Investigators have been reviewing the evidence in the case with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and today formal charges were filed as indicated below:
ROY CHARLES PARKER, 38 years old of rural Baxter County, and his wife, BRENDA LOU PARKER, 51 years old of rural Baxter County, were each charged with:
Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (4 counts) – Class D Felonies
Cruelty to Animals (6 counts) – Class A Misdemeanors
ROY PARKER was arrested at his place of employment in Calico Rock, and BRENDA PARKER was arrested at her residence on Baxter CR 213. Both of them were booked into the Detention Center with bond set at $10,000 each, with an appearance in Baxter County Circuit Court set for July 19th.
The Sheriff’s Office wishes to extend its thanks and appreciation to the Humane Society of the United States, Rodney Volunteer Fire Department, Double S Oaks Ranch, Baxter County Animal Control, and to all the many concerned citizens who have donated funds to provide for the care and continued upkeep of the horses since their seizure, as well as those who have provided professional services and facilities for the horses.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff