Parrish hog swap caseODA officially suspends hog judge

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SALEM, Ohio – The state has had the final word against Howard Parrish, the nationally known hog breeder, judge and auctioneer accused of sparing his granddaughter’s prize-winning porker from the slaughterhouse.
Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey officially suspended Parrish from showing, handling, selling, offering for sale, and judging of livestock in all livestock exhibitions in Ohio through 2006.
The decision came down Sept. 1.
The saga. Parrish’s granddaughter, Caprianna, showed the champion gilt at the 2004 Williams County Fair.
Instead of taking the hog from the fairgrounds to the slaughterhouse, as required by state law, Howard Parrish and his son, Frank, hauled the hog home.
Members of the county’s fair board – of which Howard Parrish was a member of for more than 20 years until his resignation this summer – said in sworn affidavits it was common practice for exhibitors to take their animals home to prevent overcrowding at the county’s lone slaughterhouse.
The department of agriculture never approved the practice, which violates the state’s livestock exhibition rules.
A hog thought to belong to Caprianna was delivered to the slaughterhouse a few days later but was identified through ear tags and ear notches to be a different animal shown at the fair by another exhibitor.
Shortly after the fair, the Parrish family reported break-ins and possible thefts in the family’s hog barns. Caprianna Parrish’s true champion hog has never been located.
Slaughter and post-mortem examinations are required of all grand and reserve champion market animals shown in Ohio as part of the state’s livestock exhibition rules.
Course of action. ODA Director Fred Dailey first notified Parrish Dec. 14, 2004 of the department’s proposed actions against him.
The state originally proposed Howard Parrish be prohibited from participating from livestock shows in Ohio through Dec. 31, 2006; for his son, Frank, to be barred through Dec. 31, 2005; and for Caprianna Parrish to forfeit her premiums, trophies and other awards associated with the champion.
The department of agriculture and the Parrishes eventually agreed on Caprianna’s punishment and got her father’s punishment reduced to a letter of reprimand.
Hearing. The family’s lawyer waived their right to an oral hearing on the matter in May 2005 after going back and forth since January scheduling and canceling hearing dates.
The oral hearing is one step in the department’s procedure for hearing grievances.
Hearing officer Andy Cooke, a private attorney in central Ohio, reviewed the case and offered final recommendations to guide Dailey’s decision.
State law empowers the state director of agriculture to take disciplinary action against individuals who engage in deceptive practices in livestock competitions in Ohio.
Next step? LeeAnne Mizer, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said this is the end of the road for the state.
“It’s pretty much a done deal in our eyes,” Mizer said.
Parrish can still dispute the claims. He has until Sept. 15 to file suit in Williams County Common Pleas Court, she said.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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