An Idaho couple is facing multiple counts of animal cruelty after law enforcement authorities seized more than 40 horses from their property in Owyhee County.
Owyhee County Deputy Sheriff Larry Kendrick said that on Jan. 25, he responded to a call about dead horses and other livestock on a property belonging to Ray Michael Parker and Billie Jean Parker, in Grand View, Idaho.
“I could see the dead horses from the property line,” Kendrick said.
Further investigation revealed the remains of six horses and nine cows scattered throughout the property, he said. Authorities found an additional 47 live horses and 17 live cows.
The following day, Idaho Department of Agriculture investigators and a state veterinarian found remains of another horse that had died on the property during the night. Eight horses were euthanized at the scene due to their condition, and the remaining animals were rescued in place, Kendrick said.
All the remaining live horses were malnourished and generally neglected, said Robert Bruno of Idaho Horse Rescue.
“In fact, when the Sheriff’s Department got there, they were starving,” Bruno said.
Authorities charged the Parkers each with 23 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Neither Ray Michael nor Billie Jean Parker were available for comment.
Kendrick said an Owyhee County judge ordered the Parkers to sell the animals without restriction. All the cattle were sold at auction. Members of the Parker family purchased 10 horses, and the Idaho Horse Rescue bought 17.
Of the horses purchased by Idaho Horse Rescue, one was pregnant, most were infested with lice, and none had any human handling, said Bruno.
“They’re not halter (trained), so it’s impossible to even handle them to get their feet done,” he said.
The remaining horses continue to reside on the Parker property pending another court appearance by the couple next week.
“We are still feeding them, and they are under our care,” Kendrick said.
The case remains ongoing.