Arkansas Horse Trader Faces Cruelty Charges

An Arkansas man is facing more than 100 animal cruelty charges in connection with the alleged maltreatment of horses on his Fulton County property.

On Dec. 7, Fulton County Sheriff's Deputies discovered 117 allegedly malnourished and neglected animals after responding to a call for help in rounding up horses that had escaped from a corral and wandered onto a nearby highway. The responding deputy discovered the animals residing in a fenced six-acre corral on property near Viola, Ark., owned by horse dealer Rodney Kankey. Carcasses of other horses were also found at the scene.

Untreated Eye Infection

More than 115 malnourished and neglected horses were seized from an Arkansas farm. Some horses had untreated infections (like this eye infection) and fractures.

Personnel from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) began investigating conditions at the property on Dec., at Fulton County authorities' request. The agencies' personnel later removed 116 horses from the site.

The request was the second time Fulton County law enforcement authorities sought ASPCA and HSUS assistance in responding to complaints about the horses' condition. In May, tipsters complained that more than 60 horses were residing in crowded conditions on the property. Desiree Bender, Arkansas director for HSUS, said personnel from both agencies subsequently visited the Kankey property, but were denied access to the animals.

"By December, the herd had almost doubled," Bender said.

At the time of their seizure, Kyle Held, Midwest director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said the animals were malnourished and showed various degrees of neglect including untreated fractures and infections. Two of the animals were later euthanized due to their condition. The remaining 114 horses are currently receiving rehabilitative care at a temporary shelter in Mountain Home, Ark.

Kankey was later charged with five felony and 113 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

On Dec. 30, law enforcement authorities in nearby Boone County, Ark., arrested Kankey on unrelated breaking and entering charges and property theft, as well as on the outstanding Fulton County warrant for animal cruelty charges.

Boone County Sheriff Danny Hickman said Kankey is being held without bond on the animal cruelty charges at the Boone County Jail. Charges connected to the break-in and theft are pending, Hickman said.

Meanwhile, Held said the majority of the horses are responding well under veterinary and rehabilitative care. A hearing to determine the animals' permanent custody is pending, Held said.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.