Bruce Teeter

Horses seized after one found dead

Yellville, AR

January 10, 2006

In January, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Marion County Humane Society executed a warrant on property near Bruno where Bruce Teeter, 53, was keeping horses.  The Humane Society workers stated they had received several complaints from neighbors about a dead horse named Misty.  Upon arrival they found a foal trying to nurse of the dead mother horse.  The Humane Society removed Misty’s foal and another horse, Silky.  Silky died a few days later from malnutrition and parasitic infections.

There was no visible source of food on the 65-acre lot and the creek running through the land was dry.  Volunteers from the Humane Society put out hay for the remaining 7 horses who are also showing signs of malnutrition and muscle atrophy.  Teeter also was not on the property.  An arrest warrant was issued and Teeter turned himself in on 1/17/06, posting a $500 bond.  Kelly Sturkie, who worked on the Teeter farm some years ago claims that Teeter kept additional horses at his parent's Boone County Farm.  Kimberly Johnson of the Marion County Humane Society visited the horses and found them to be in fair condition.  2-3 of the horses were acquired through the Bureau of Land Management.

The dead mare was believed to be between 15-20 years old.  She was emaciated and still lactating.  The veterinarian Dr. Jim Lowe who examined the horses felt the pregnancy was the worst thing that could have happened to the mare - every calorie she took in went to the foal.  The remaining horses were rated on a scale of 10 (10 being a butterball) to be 2 or 3.

At least 6 dogs were also roaming the property.  The house overlooking the pasture appeared vacant.  3 doghouses sat on the porch, each sheltering an open bag of dog food.  The water to the house was shut off and there was no other water source for the dogs.  Other than a dehydration concern the dogs appeared to be in decent condition.

Teeter was initially charged with three counts of animal cruelty, criminal mischief and permitting livestock to run at large.  Another charge of failure to comply with testing requirements for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) a viral disease for which there is no vaccine and no cure.  The disease is spread by horseflies.  The Coggins test checks for EIA antibodies in the horse's blood.

Marion County District Judge Judith Bearden found Teeter guilty of one count of cruelty to animals and one count of permitting livestock to run at large.  Two counts of cruelty to animals and a criminal mischief charge were dismissed.  At the trial Teeter testified that Silky had been shot twice back in October, 2005 and he felt died from being separated from her family herd.

In Judge Bearden’s ruling on Friday, August 4th, Teeter was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 plus court costs of $150 for the cruelty to animal charge. He was also ordered to pay $836 in restitution to the Marion County Humane Society for veterinary services, $150 plus court costs of $100 for permitting livestock to run at large – which stems from an incident in which a neighbor’s property was allegedly damaged by Teeter’s horses.  Judge Bearden stated restitution, if any, must be determined in a civil court proceeding.

Previously, Teeter pled guilty to failure to comply with testing requirements.  He is ordered to have testing completed within seven days with verification to the Livestock and Poultry Commission and Judge Bearden.  Teeter must pay court costs of $100 and a fine of $1,000 - $750 of that fine will be suspended with timely proof of the required testing.  He must also pay the fines, costs and restitution in full or sign an agreement for a payment plan within 30 days.  An appeal bond has been set at $2,500.

Reference:

Baxter Bulletin

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Arkansas Democrat Gazette