Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18199
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: horse
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Judge(s): John Putman, Gordon Webb

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For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Thursday, Jun 30, 2011

County: Baxter

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 6 files available

» Roy Charles Parker
» Brenda Lou Parker

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

"This horse is the next candidate to go down. I'm surprised he's not down right now," said Gainesville, Mo., veterinarian Dr. Bob Main on Friday as he looked at a dark-brown, 4-year-old male horse that was little more than skin and bones.

The horse was one of 10 Main was evaluating after they were seized from a home on Baxter County Road 213 late Thursday night from the home of Roy Charles Parker, 38, and his 51-year-old wife, Brenda Lou Parker.

The Baxter County Sheriff's Office received a complaint at 4 p.m. on Thursday of several dogs, cats and some horses that were not receiving proper care at a home in rural Calico Rock off State Highway 177.

Sgt. Ken Grayham and sheriff's investigator Drayton McDaniel found several dogs and cats running loose and 10 horses that appeared to be in very bad condition, Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said at the scene.

The horses had no food, two horses had a small amount of water and authorities could not find any running water on the property.

Concerned the horses needed water immediately, the sheriff's office contacted Rodney Volunteer Fire Department. Firefighters brought a tanker truck and pumper truck and soon began filling several large tubs with cool water.

Search warrant

Meanwhile, sheriff's office investigators took cell phone pictures of the starving horses and began writing an affidavit for a search warrant.

Mountain Home District Court Judge Van Gearhart read the affidavit, looked at the photos, and signed the warrant.

Warrant in hand, investigators seized the horses and began collecting evidence at approximately 7:55 p.m.

The horses were kept in five separate corrals, none of which had any visible food in them. Horses could be seen stretching their necks in an attempt to reach tree leaves.

A truck and horse trailer eventually rumbled down the 2.7 miles of dirt road to reach the Parker residence and workers began loading horses.

"It's sad to see the condition of these horses," Montgomery said as he watched the evidence collection process. "It's even worse when it appears the Parkers did not have the ability to properly care for these horses."

During the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Roy Charles Parker was charged with animal cruelty in Izard County approximately two years ago, Montgomery said as he watched horses being loaded on the trailer.

The last horse to be loaded was an emaciated palomino mare. The horse was skittish and would not stand still as workers attempted to put a halter on her.

She was eventually trapped in a small area and collapsed. The halter was placed on her, and workers attempted to coax her up, but she stayed down and went limp, her quick, shallow breathing accentuated by her highly visible rib cage.

It took workers 15 minutes to get the mare back on her feet. She was led to the trailer at approximately 10:50 p.m.

Workers had to place her front hooves on the trailer. She then collapsed again and was lifted into the trailer for the journey to the Double S Oaks Ranch, owned by Sandy Rand.

Night vigil

Rand and colleague Coleen Wall were waiting as the horses arrived around midnight. They were separated according to medical need and temperament.

The palomino mare was given a stall to herself, and veterinary Dr. Anne Gamble was called as Rand and Wall feared the horse might not survive the night without immediate medical attention.

Gamble arrived around 1 a.m. Friday morning and assessed the mare. Gamble gave the mare three shots and began giving it intravenous fluids.

Once Gamble left, Rand and Wall sat a vigil with the mare, talking softly to her, giving handfuls of grain and soothing words of comfort. As dawn approached, the mare began to nicker and paw at the ground, signs the horse was improving, Rand says.

Main spent Friday afternoon evaluating the condition of the 10 horses, a process Montgomery says is critical when the information regarding the case is given to the prosecutor's office.

The sheriff praised Rodney Volunteer Fire Department for its quick response to the incident. Montgomery also thanked Desiree Bender, Arkansas State Director for The Humane Society of the United States, for her work to arrange transportation and care for the horses.

"We are always willing to help law enforcement when they find animals in distress," Bender said. "We are particularly happy to help sheriff Montgomery, who has been a great partner in the apprehension and prosecution of those who harm animals."

Sheriff Montgomery says 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.

He says 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".

On Friday, July 8, deputies arrested 38-year-old Roy Charles Parker and his wife, 51-year-old Brenda Lou Parker. Each are charged with four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals (Class D felonies) and six counts of cruelty to animals (Class A misdemeanors). Bond was set at $10,000 for each. The couple is due in Baxter County Circuit Court on July 19.

Case Updates

Roy Charles Parker pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanors and two felony aggravated animal cruelty charges Thursday in Baxter County Circuit Court.

Baxter County Circuit Court Judge Gordon Webb accepted a plea deal Parker's public defender worked out with prosecutors.

That plea deal calls for Parker to spend six years on probation, during which he is not allowed to own, have or care for horses.

In addition to court fines and costs, Webb ordered Parker to pay $10,838.50 in restitution for money expended to care for the 10 horses.

"The court is aware many people would feel a case like this should have jail time attached," Webb told Parker. "I did not allow that to factor in to my decision."

Webb did have a warning for Parker.

"People take a very dim view of people who don't take care of their animals," Webb cautioned Parker. "The court is going to watch the terms of your probation very closely. If it's discovered that you have horses, jail time is likely."

In July of last year, Parker, 39, and his 52-year-old wife, Brenda Lou Parker, were arrested after personnel from the Baxter County Sheriff's office served a search warrant at the couple's rural Calico Rock home and seized 10 horses, many of which were showing signs of starvation.

At the time the search warrant was executed, high summer heat concerned law enforcement officials who could find no source of fresh water for the horses.

The Rodney Fire Department was called and brought a water tanker truck to the scene and helped give the animals fresh water.

Authorities were able to charge Parker with felonies due in part to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, who along with Desiree Bender, a public policy consultant for The Humane Society of the United States, lobbied for a felony animal cruelty law to be enacted following the Tammy Hanson animal cruelty case that began in 2005.
Source: - Feb 24, 2012
Update posted on Feb 24, 2012 - 11:11PM 
At a hearing held Thursday in Baxter County Circuit Court before Judge John Putman, the Baxter County Sheriff's Office was awarded ownership and possession of ten (10) horses that were seized on June 30, 2011 on Baxter CR 213 in the Iuka area from Roy C. Parker and Brenda L. Parker.

The Parkers have each been charged with four (4) felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and six (6) misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals following investigation of a citizen complaint involving the condition and treatment of the horses and other animals on their property.

During the hearing, both of the Parkers waived any objection to the forfeiture proceedings, and Judge Putman then divested the Parkers of ownership and ordered the horses turned over to the Sheriff's Office. Ownership will ultimately be transferred to the Humane Society of the United States at a later time. These horses remain under veterinary care at the Double S Oaks Ranch in Baxter County.

These charges against the Parkers are the first Felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals charges filed in Baxter County since the passage of Act 33 of 2009. This act also established the procedures under which abused or neglected animals can be seized by law enforcement or animal control wardens and ownership of the animals later forfeited by court order after a fifteen day waiting period has lapsed.

Two others persons were in court claiming an interest in three of the horses, but after speaking with the Prosecuting Attorney and learning of the restitution that was due for the treatment and care of the horses following their seizure, these persons dropped and waived their potential claim.

The Parkers remain free on bond awaiting their trial in Circuit Court on those animal cruelty charges.
Source: - Jul 23, 2011
Update posted on Jul 23, 2011 - 10:21PM 
Roy Charles Parker is on familiar ground as last Thursday's seizure of 10 horses from his Calico Rock home marks the third time the 38-year-old man has had animals seized based on cruelty complaints.

Investigators seized 10 horses from Parker's Baxter County Road 213 property late Thursday evening after receiving a complaint, obtaining a search warrant and discovering 10 horses on the property, at least three of which appeared to be severely emaciated.

Authorities discovered only two of the horses had access to a small amount of water and none had food. Authorities also believe the property had no running water.

2008 cruelty case
In 2008, an Izard County deputy went to Roy Charles Parker's Calico Rock home to serve an eviction notice. Upon arriving at the Parker residence, the deputy saw dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens and pigs, at least some of which appeared to be starving, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence.

Former Horseshoe Bend animal control officer Sue Legg remembers the case.

"He was answering ads that said 'free to good home' and he was taking the animals and didn't have a way to feed them," Legg said. "We tracked down one woman, told her what happened, and she was devastated and came and got her dog."

Legg said Parker had several cats in the home with no litter box, and that feces could be seen throughout the house. Authorities found a cage in a bedroom with dead ducks in it.

"We took a duck out to photograph it and one of the dogs was so hungry he ran up, took the duck and ate it," said Legg. "It was just unbelievable, but the dog ate the evidence."

Parker was charged with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, pleaded guilty, and was fined $500. At the time, Arkansas did not have a felony animal cruelty law.

2009 cruelty case

The 2009 cruelty case sounds eerily familiar to the current incident. In 2009, authorities received an anonymous complaint that Parker had a starving horse on his property, Lawrence said.

When investigators checked, they found one horse on a 2-acre fenced pasture with no grass, no food and no water available to the horse.

The horse was seized and given to Izard County Animal Rescue Effort (ICARE) for rehabilitation.

Authorities were told several more horses had been on the pasture but that when the pasture was eaten down to dirt, the other horses were moved.

Later in 2009, Parker again pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. In addition to court costs and fines, he was ordered to pay $800 restitution to ICARE.

Sheilla Womack, president of ICARE, said Parker finished paying off his restitution this month, and that the horse in that case was fully rehabilitated and adopted out to a new home.

"We fully investigate every complaint that comes in and, when the situation warrants, we press charges as the law allows," said Lawrence.
Probe continues

On Thursday, the Rodney Volunteer Fire Department brought in a tanker truck to fill several tubs scattered across the property as authorities made plans to transport and house the horses in Baxter County following their seizure.

Veterinary Dr. Bob Main of Gainesville, Mo., drove to the Double S Oaks Ranch on Friday to examine the horses and grade them as part of the evidence-gathering process.

The Baxter County Sheriff's Office is accepting donations to help care for the 10 horses seized on Friday. For information, call the sheriff's office at 425-7000.
Source: - Jul 6, 2011
Update posted on Jul 8, 2011 - 8:47PM 


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