At a hearing on Monday, Justice of the Peace, Judge Butch Morgan, awarded custody of thirty one horses, two dogs and two goats to the SPCA of Texas after the owners of the animals, Rodney Decker, signed an agreement to relinquish custody. Restitution in the amount of $19,090.98 was awarded to the SPCA of Texas to help offset costs, however due to the agreement, restitution was waived. One week earlier, the SPCA of Texas acted under the authority of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department to seize the animals from Decker’s property in Sherman.
The seized horses were all "thin to emaciated" and some of the horses were suffering from hoof rot. Most of the horses were living in two barns, among their own feces and urine and had no access to food and an insufficient water source. In fact, not even enough food for one day was observed on the property. Four horses were living in outside pens without access to food or shelter and had an insufficient water source, and one deceased horse was buried on the property. The two dogs, which had been housed in a pen on the property, did not have access to appropriate food and they had an insufficient water source as well. The two goats were housed in the feed room of the barn without access to food or water.
A veterinarian who evaluated several mares who aborted their foals and a deceased horse concluded that these animals’ conditions was a result of malnutrition. The veterinarian also concluded that the horse had endured a tremendous amount of suffering due to the thrashing marks found on the floor of the stall. Mr. Decker may face charges for animal cruelty. Under Texas law, a Class A Misdemeanor may include a fine of up to $4,000, jail time of up to a year, or both. A state jail felony may include jail time of up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Photograph courtesy SPCA of Texas