Weatherford Democrat

June 17, 2013

Shetland pony's neglect, abuse leads to two arrests


Weatherford Democrat

— Parker County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is investigating an animal cruelty case involving a pony.

The sheriff’s Animal Control Division received a call around 2 p.m. Thursday pertaining to the welfare of a Shetland pony in the 3000 block of East State Highway 199 in Springtown.

Animal control officers arrived and found the pony suffering and in a declining state of health. The pony was extremely malnourished, officers reported, and underweight to the point its rib and hip bones were visibly protruding. The Shetland was also suffering from a large, open and infected wound on its genitals with a rancid smell, apparently coming from the infection.

Animal control officers reported there was no hay or food near the pony and the only water supply was dirty containing leaves, debris and insects along with mosquitoes and larvae swarming the water. Officers reported the pony was standing still and exhibited a high level of pain when he attempted to walk. Its hooves were overgrown and split from obvious neglect. Animal control officers also reported when the pony was presented with a fresh water supply, it drank very fast due to obvious dehydration.

The owner of the pony was not on the premises, according to a report. Animal control officers seized the pony and took it to a local veterinarian for treatment.

The owner of the pony, identified as Jesse Ray Cross, 45, and the pony’s caretaker, identified as Franky Lynn Hatcher-Cross, 42, were both arrested Friday on warrants for cruelty to livestock animals. Both men posted bond of $2,500 each on Saturday.

Veterinarian staff reported the Shetland’s wound was feared to be inoperable due to the current extent of the injury and might not survive the surgery under its current health state. If the pony responds to treatment veterinarian staff relayed it might be a candidate for surgery.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said he is disgusted at the extreme poor condition the Shetland was discovered in and that two men who were responsible for its care were obviously neglecting the pony.

Fowler vowed to care for the animal and pay for its treatment, renaming the Shetland “Achilles.”

“We prayerfully hope Achilles will conquer his odds can be brought back to perfect health so he can undergo the surgery he so desperately needs,” Fowler said. “This is a shameful crime which could have been completely prevented had Achilles been given the required minimal care and basic necessities. We can not stress enough the importance of providing fresh water with adequate food and shelter for all animals. This case is a shame.”