ASPCA Confirms Arrest Warrant Issued for Man Charged in Ark. Horse Neglect Case

December 30, 2010

NEW YORK-The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has confirmed, through the Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Fulton County, Ark., that an arrest warrant for Rodney Kankey was issued today for neglecting and starving more than a hundred horses on his property a few miles east of Viola, Ark. 

Kankey, 50, was charged with five counts of felony and 113 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

"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," said Kyle Held, Midwest director of ASPCA 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."

On December 9, the ASPCA dispatched its Field Investigations and Response team to manage the investigation and seizure of 116 horses from Kankey's property at the request of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. Working in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and American Humane Association, ASPCA responders discovered several dead animals upon arrival on the property, and many horses showed various degrees of neglect, including old fractures and infections that were left untreated.  The horses were later transported to a temporary shelter in Mountain Home, Ark., where they continue to receive food, water, and veterinary treatment and are being cared for around the clock by ASPCA staff.

"The local authorities have been great partners in this case," added Desiree Bender, Arkansas state director for the HSUS.  "Their cooperation, professionalism, and willingness to help has resulted in one of the largest and most serious animal cruelty investigations. The Humane Society of the United States looks forward to working with local authorities on other cases and saving more animals from cruelty and neglect in Arkansas."

"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," said Held, who added that the majority 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."

The seizure of the horses is the result of a seven-month investigation during which the Fulton County Sheriff's Office contacted the ASPCA and HSUS for assistance.