Owner of Neglected Arkansas Horses Arrested

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 2:15pm

The owner of more than 100 severely neglected horses was arrested on Thursday, December 30—a few weeks after the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) team arrived in Fulton County, Arkansas, to rescue the starved equines.

Rodney Kankey, 50, was charged with 118 counts of animal cruelty, five of them felonies. The felonies each carry a penalty of up to six years in prison. Kankey, the owner of the Fulton County farm, purchased horses from auctions and then re-sold them to the public. The ASPCA became involved in the case after a seven-month cruelty investigation by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

"We appreciate the diligence of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in pursuing this case and bringing appropriate charges against the owner of these horses,” says Kyle Held, Midwest Director of Field Investigations and Response. “Animal cruelty should not be tolerated in any community, and we’re pleased that Kankey was held accountable for blatantly neglecting his animals.”

Kankey’s case illustrates the link between animal cruelty and other violence; he is now awaiting a March trial for several violent felony charges, including aggravated assault and terroristic threatening.

When the FIR team arrived in Fulton County, they found dead equines and more than 100 horses suffering from obvious signs of neglect that included infections and untreated injuries. The FIR team members, along with ASPCA Volunteer Response Team members, have been working day and night—throughout the holiday season—to bring the horses urgently needed food, shelter and veterinary care, nursing them back to health.

“We want to thank the community for providing supplies to help us care for these horses over the past few weeks and especially during the holidays,” says Held, adding that most of the horses are responding well to veterinary care and are regaining strength every day. “The horses are still under quarantine and are not yet available for adoption, but we’re hoping once they become available, the community will open their arms and offer these beautiful animals permanent homes.”