SALEM, Ohio – Developments continue to surface in the case that accuses Howard Parrish, a nationally known hog judge and breeder, of switching his granddaughter Caprianna’s champion gilt for another animal after the 2004 Williams County Fair.
Among those new developments are news of a break-in at the Parrish farm, a year of ignoring red flags and more state law violations.
Debating. Parrish, his attorneys and the state department of agriculture are currently debating facts of the case and expect a hearing officer to make a final ruling.
That hearing officer will recommend punishment to Agriculture Director Fred Dailey, who will ultimately hand down penalties to Howard Parrish, his son, Frank, and granddaughter Caprianna.
Howard Parrish was not available to comment. The Parrish attorney, Rocky Saxbe, did not return phone calls.
Wrongdoing. According to rebuttal documents filed June 16 with the Ohio Attorney General and Ohio Department of Agriculture, Howard Parrish denies any wrongdoing.
In a filed brief, Parrish characterizes himself as “neither an exhibitor nor responsible adult but a grandfather who assisted in the transportation of the grand champion hog.”
Parrish admits he personally took his granddaughter’s grand champion hog from the fairgrounds to his farm at the conclusion of the county fair.
The state’s livestock exhibition rules, at outlined in Ohio Administrative Code, say all Ohio junior market hog shows must be terminal – meaning all hogs shown must be slaughtered – or partial-terminal, meaning at least the grand and reserve champions must be slaughtered.
The exhibition rules also say terminal livestock may not be removed from the exhibition grounds unless traveling directly to slaughter or being quarantined at another location for drug withdrawal.
Crowding. Several members of the Williams County Fair Board had previously filed comments saying they had a policy of allowing champions and reserve champions to be removed from the fairgrounds to the exhibitors’ homes before slaughter.
They said this was to ease overcrowding at Jacoby’s Ole Smokehouse Meats, which handles a large number of livestock from the county’s fair.
It was previously reported Jacoby’s was the only slaughterhouse used for fair livestock, but state livestock inspector Clair Armstrong said the fair board allowed buyers to use other slaughter facilities in 2004.
State veterinarian David Glauer said the county’s procedure of moving animals has never been approved nor allowed by the ODA.
“I was unaware it was against the state rules. I never knew it, and I’m sure Dad didn’t either,” Frank Parrish said in an interview June 20.
Wait a minute. Laura Rohlf, a Williams County hog exhibitor’s parent and Ohio State University Extension agent in neighboring Henry County, brought the discrepancy with state livestock exhibition rules to the board’s attention in September 2003.
That was a full year before the policy affected the Parrishes and resulted in the current investigation.
The county’s livestock committee meeting agenda for Sept. 29, 2003, shows Rohlf’s concerns as an item for discussion, but board members’ affidavits say talks didn’t get far.
“Mr. Parrish was very dismissive of this issue and foreclosed any meaningful discussion of the topic by indicating that he would handle it himself. Mr. Parrish informed the committee that this was not an issue that needed their attention,” said 14-year board member Ric Henricks in a sworn affidavit.
Board member Sandra Kimpel said Parrish gave “… no merit to any of Laura Rohlf’s concerns regarding animals being removed from the fairgrounds.”
Tampering. The Parrish family supports the theory that someone may have tampered with Caprianna’s hog, possibly switching the ear tag once the animal was delivered to the slaughterhouse, or making a switch while the animal was still at home.
The hog or its carcass has never been produced for inspection.
Williams County Sheriff’s Department documents indicate Frank Parrish, Caprianna’s father, reported a trespasser opened gates and let hogs out at the family’s farm Sept. 24, 2004.
Parrish said it wasn’t the first time that week hogs had been released at the farm. He eventually became suspicious and called the sheriff.
Frank Parrish later reported five bluebutt gilts were missing. Caprianna’s champion was a bluebutt gilt.
Sheriff’s reports say Frank Parrish felt the hogs had been deliberately released.
In February 2005, sheriff’s deputies were alerted of the possibility Tyler Maugherman may have been involved in the theft of the animals. The man had been employed on the Parrish farm for seven years, through Oct. 10, 2004, when he and Frank Parrish had an argument, sheriff’s documents show.
The hog Howard Parrish delivered for slaughter was determined to be the one owned and shown by Erik Maugherman, a brother of Tyler Maugherman.
In interviews with the sheriff, Tyler Maugherman denied involvement.
Recordkeeping. State veterinarian Glauer also says ODA warned Parrish in September 2004 that he was in violation of state law for failing to complete mandatory post-entry testing for pseudorabies on hogs imported into Ohio.
Parrish is designated by the Williams County fair board as records official, meaning he’s responsible for maintaining records for the fair’s livestock shows.
The state says Parrish failed to comply with Ohio law by not obtaining and maintaining mandatory Drug Use Notification Forms for animals exhibited by Caprianna Parrish, her brother, Cambell, and Erik Maugherman.
An affidavit filed by state livestock inspector Clair Armstrong states Howard Parrish admitted he’d been fined by the state of New York for delivering a hog into that state without mandatory certificates of veterinary inspection.
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Hog swap: Newest developments