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Pony’s Neglect, Abuse Leads To Arrests In Parker County

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(credit: Parker County Sheriff's Office)

Animal Control officers found this Shetland pony, which they have renamed Achilles, suffering in a declining health state. He was extremely malnourished and severely underweight. (credit: Parker County Sheriff’s Office)

PARKER COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - Parker County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is investigating an animal cruelty case of a Shetland pony found in the 3000 block of East Highway 199 in Springtown. When animal control officers found the pony, which they have renamed Achilles, he was extremely malnourished and severely underweight to the point his rib and hip bones were visibly protruding. The Shetland was also suffering from a large, open, infected wound on his genitals with a rancid smell apparently coming from the infection.

Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers reported there wasn’t any hay or food near Achilles and the only water supply was dirty containing leaves, debris and insects along with mosquitoes and larvae swarming the water. Officers reported Achilles was standing still in a manner reflecting a high level of pain when he attempted to walk. His hooves were overgrown and split from obvious neglect. Animal control officers also reported when they gave Achilles fresh water, he drank it very fast due to obvious dehydration.

The owner of the pony wasn’t on the premises. Animal control officers immediately seized the Achilles and took him 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 Saturday on warrants for cruelty to livestock animals. Both men posted bond of $2,500 each on Sunday.

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

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

Sheriff Fowler vowed to care for the pony and pay for his treatment.

“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.”

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