Tempers flared in an Owyhee County courtroom Monday over a case of severe animal neglect. A judge told a Grand View couple, Billie Jean and Michael Parker, they have one week to get rid of their remaining horses; this after several were found dead on their property. Idaho Horse Rescue has purchased some of the horses, dozens more were seized by the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office.
In January, sheriff's deputies received a call regarding a number of dead horses and cattle on the Parker's property.
"It was a horror show," Chief Deputy Larry Kendrick said.
On their arrival, deputies found nearly 60 horses and cattle living on just a little more than four acres of land. Deputies say many of the animals were severely malnourished, some horses were even found dead just feet from the Parker's home.
"Six horses, nine cows in various sorts of decay throughout the property," Kendrick said.
In addition to those 15 found dead, six more horses also had to be put down due to the extent of their malnourishment.
The Owyhee County Sheriff's Office released video of their initial investigation. In the video, you can hear Michael Parker claim that they are feeding the animals.
"I just didn't realize what was happening because I feed the s%!@ out of these horses, grain every night," Parker can be heard saying in the video.
In the video, Parker also claims the reason his animals are dying is because of pesticide from their neighbors.
"They clean them trailers right there," Parker said.
"Ok, then you should move them out of here so that that doesn't happen," Kendrick replied.
"I didn't know was going on until now," Parker said.
"So you have a plan to move them," Kendrick asked?
"Yeah, I'm going to try and get them out of here," Parker replied.
Kendrick told KTVB that all the animals next door to the Parkers were healthy. Since January, the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office has been caring for the horses and cattle. The courts have ruled the Parkers must sell all of their cattle and horses.
"All the proceeds that are generated in the process of that and any monies not spent in the caring of the animals and the cost associated, will go back to the Parkers," Owyhee County Prosecuting Attorney Douglas Emery said.
As of Monday, the Parkers still have 12 horses in their possession, but Judge Dan Grober gave them one week to get rid of them.
"If that week period comes and goes and we have some of the same residual issues, Judge Grober indicated that he anticipated that the prosecutor would be filing contempt actions against the defendants," Emery said.
Any horses not gone by the March 20th deadline will be given to the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office. Deputies told KTVB, they already plan to give those horses to the Idaho Horse Rescue, an organization that has already purchased 17 of them.
The court has also ordered that the Parkers, for the next five years, cannot feed, water, oversee, possess, or care for any horses or livestock.
KTVB did reach out to the Parker's attorney, Scott Fouser, for comment. He did not return our calls.
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