After the new charges were filed on Thursday, Dec. 30, an arrest warrant was issued for 49 year old Rodney Dean Kankey, who had been free on bond. Kankey was located and arrested on Dec. 30 and, as of Monday, Jan. 3, was being held in the Boone County Detention Center.
The latest charges, five felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to a Horse and 113 misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals, stem from the Dec. 7 discovery of 117 horses without proper food or water at Kankey's farm on Highway 62/412 near Viola.
Working with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, the Arkansas Humane Society and the national ASPCA obtained a court order to care for the animals and investigate what appeared to be a major animal cruelty case.
On Dec. 14, the horses were relocated to the Mountain Home Livestock Auction, where they are being treated for disease and injury and being nursed back to health.
On Dec. 7, Deputy Lance Gray discovered that more than 100 horses were suffering from neglect after some of the horses escaped a corral on Kankey's property and were on the highway.
Gray noticed many of the horses appeared malnourished and found a dead horse who, according to ASPCA Veterinarian Rhonda Windham, died "as a result of starvation."
According to an affidavit filed in Fulton Circuit Court, a second dead horse was found and three other horses in the herd were suffering from "obvious untreated injuries and starvation."
Veterinarian James Snodgrass examined the horses after they were transported to Mountain Home. His medical report on "horse #1" found the horse "extremely emaciated; no fatty tissue can be felt"... and "a long, dead hair coat which reflects poor nutrition." The doctor also found the horse was in extreme pain from an untreated eye infection and suffering from an untreated fracture in its right front leg.
According to the affidavit, "All 116 horses were subjected to cruel mistreatment," which included insufficient food, no clean water, a lack of shelter from winter winds, injury hazards on the farm and a lack of medical care which led to disease and injury.
Kankey was jailed between Nov. 25 and Dec. 13 after being arrested for pulling a gun on one man and threatening others, including his wife and members of her family.
However, the affidavit indicates that the mistreatment of the horses began well before Kankey was jailed and unable to care from them. "Rodney Kankey knowingly neglected horses in his care and has a long standing nature of poor conditions of both the farm and horses," the court file states. It goes on to claim that Kankey refused advice and recommendations regarding proper horse care from the Humane Society and ASPCA, which visited the Kankey farm after receiving complaints last spring.
Besides the Fulton County charges, Kankey faces a charge in Marion County for allegedly stealing back a horse he had sold and reselling it.
If found guilty of the animal cruelty charges, Kankey could receive up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each of the five felony counts. He could be sentenced to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for each of the 113 misdemeanor charges.