Trinity Co. Sheriff's Office: 2 malnourished horses seized; owner arrested on animal cruelty charge

A malnourished paint horse found on property in Trinity (Source: Trinity Sheriff's Office)
A malnourished paint horse found on property in Trinity (Source: Trinity Sheriff's Office)
A malnourished paint horse found on property in Trinity (Source: Trinity Sheriff's Office)
A malnourished paint horse found on property in Trinity (Source: Trinity Sheriff's Office)
Kevin Cooper (Source: Trinity Police Department)
Kevin Cooper (Source: Trinity Police Department)

TRINITY, TX (KTRE) - A Trinity man was arrested on a warrant for cruelty to animals Tuesday morning after two malnourished horses were found on his West Pine Valley Street property without food or water on April 23.

Kevin Cooper was arrested on a warrant following a hearing at the Trinity County courthouse. He was charged with cruelty to animals, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

According to the Trinity County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, the county's cowboy seized the two horses on April 23 after the TCSO received a report about two neglected horses on West Pine Valley Street.

"They had no food, no water and no grass around where they were tied," Investigator Tommy Park said. "You can see all the ribs and backbone and the hip bones of both horses."

Park and Sgt. Randy Wheeler of the Trinity Police Department met at the address and found two paint horses.

"From the street, the horses looked as if they were in very bad health," Park said in the narrative of his report.

One of the horses was tied to a telephone pole, and its lead rope was wrapped around the pole several times. The other horse was tied to a tree. Neither horse had access to any food or water, according to the Facebook status update.

When Park got closer to the second horse, he realized that some bark was missing from the tree.

"As I got closer to the tree, you could tell that the horse had been eating the bark off the tree," Park said in the narrative of his report. "There wasn't any grass around the area the horse was tied to, only dirt on the ground."

Park could tell that both horses appeared to be malnourished because their ribs and hip bones were protruding

When Park was leaving the property, he spotted an elderly woman on the porch of the mobile home near the property where the horses were being kept. The woman told park that the horses belonged to Cooper.

After Park got a warrant for seizure of cruelly treated animals, he returned to the property with the Trinity County cowboy to take possession of the horses. As the cowboy was leading one of the horses to the trailer, it pulled the cowboy over to a bucket of water.

"When the cowboy untied the second horse, the horse walked straight to the water bucket and began drinking," Park said in the narrative of his report. "The horse didn't move from that spot for approximately five minutes."

Cooper was then served with a notice of hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday, April 29 at 10 a.m.

According to the TCSO Facebook page, both the sheriff's office and the Trinity Police Department have warned Cooper about the need to take better care of his horses. The Facebook page stated that one of Cooper's horses had to be put down because it was severely malnourished.

"[The veterinarian] said there was no known disease," Park said. "He was basically starved to death."

In another incident, one of Cooper's neighbors called the Trinity Police Department and said a strong odor was coming from Cooper's property. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a horse half-buried in the ground.

"The next day I get up and it is all in my backyard," said neighbor Ricky Dennis. "I could tell the horse was dead then. They told me that they had buried him. I hate it."

After the incidents with the horses that died or had to be euthanized, Cooper moved his last two horses to the property on West Pine Valley Street, according to the TCSO Facebook page.

Family members of Cooper declined an on-camera interview but said they feel like he is being singled out by law enforcement.

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