REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Franklin County Court of Appeals recently agreed with the Ohio Department of Agriculture that Howard Parrish, former president of the Williams County Fair Board, violated Ohio’s livestock exhibition law.
Parrish erred when he directed that his granddaughter’s grand champion hog be removed from the fairgrounds and returned to his farm at the conclusion of the 2004 Williams County Fair.
Following the recent court of appeals decision, Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey again suspended Parrish from showing, handling, selling, offering for sale, and judging of livestock in all livestock exhibitions in Ohio through the end of this year.
The law. The appeals court found that Parrish illegally ordered the removal of his granddaughter’s champion hog, a gilt, from the fairgrounds at the conclusion of the fair.
Under Ohio law, champion animals must be taken directly from the fairgrounds to a designated slaughter facility.
Despite Parrish’s contention that the fair board allowed removal of champion hogs on other occasions, the court ruled “the fair board was without authority to supersede the regulation with its own local rules.”
Court reversal. This decision overturned an earlier common pleas court ruling that overruled the department’s original penalty against Parrish.
The appeals court instructed the department to reconsider the appropriate penalty based solely on Parrish’s violation of removing the hog from the fairgrounds.
The appeals court let stand the common pleas court ruling that the department did not adequately prove that Parrish deliberately switched the ear tag of the champion hog with another hog. The department, however, contended Parrish initiated the uncertainty when he broke the chain of custody by removing the hog from the fairgrounds.
What happened. In 2004, an Ohio Department of Agriculture investigation found Parrish had his granddaughter’s junior fair grand champion hog transported from the fairgrounds to his farm instead of delivering it for slaughter and post-mortem examination, as required by state law.
A few days later, a different hog was slaughtered and was marked with the champion’s ear tags as if it were the true champion.
Other sanctions. Parrish’s son Frank received a written reprimand for his failure to ensure his daughter’s hog was handled properly under the rules. Also, the grand champion hog was disqualified, and the hog’s exhibitor, Parrish’s granddaughter, was required to return all awards, prizes, premiums, and proceeds.
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