SALEM, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture is saying one man’s attempt at switching his granddaughter’s slaughter-bound grand champion market hog for another was no accident.
Howard Parrish, a nationally known hog judge and breeder, is accused of switching his granddaughter Caprianna’s champion gilt for another animal after the 2004 Williams County Fair.
“Any reasonable interpretation of the facts in this case leads to the same conclusion: Howard Parrish knowingly and deliberately violated Ohio’s livestock exhibition rules,” wrote Jim Patterson, assistant state attorney general, in department of agriculture documents.
Damaged reputation. The family believes Howard Parrish should not be disciplined based on his “long history of honorable and unblemished service to the swine industry and his community,” according to a department of agriculture hearing brief.
The brief says the incident has already damaged the family’s reputation, causing business losses of $150,000 this year.
Parrish has also been asked to resign from a bank board he serves on, and is removed from exhibiting or helping at several shows including the National Western in Denver and North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.
It’s also been requested his name be removed from a list of recommended national and state hog judges.
Parrish denies any wrongdoing.
“I neither switched the grand champion hog nor engaged in any foul play with respect to the disappearance of the grand champion hog,” Howard Parrish said in an affidavit.
“I am deeply offended by such allegations and look forward to clearing the Parrish name.”
Punishment. Howard Parrish’s proposed penalty is two years’ disqualification from all Ohio livestock exhibitions until Dec. 31, 2006. Hearing officer Andrew Cooke will decide the case.
State officials agreed to reduce the punishment originally laid out for Caprianna Parrish and her father, Frank.
Parrish’s hog was disqualified from the show, meaning the girl must forfeit ribbons, banners and prize money won with the hog. Bids totaled $2,075 for the hog.
Caprianna Parrish will be paid fair market value for the animal, which is $130, according to department of agriculture spokesperson LeeAnne Mizer.
The girl’s father, Frank Parrish, received a letter of reprimand for not ensuring the exhibit was delivered to the slaughterhouse.
The department originally proposed Frank Parrish be banned from participating in any Ohio livestock exhibition through Dec. 31, 2005.
Official statement. Caprianna Parrish’s champion gilt was ear-notched 83-8, noting it was the eighth pig from litter 83. It also carried a removable ear tag with the number 295.
The notches, assigned shortly after birth, are permanent marks along the pig’s outer ear and cannot be changed or removed.
ODA says the hog produced for slaughter had the correct ear tag number but was notched 43-8.
Assistant attorney general Jim Patterson wrote in a hearing brief that “it would be simply incredible for someone as experienced as Howard Parrish to misread one [ear] notch pattern from another.”
He also wrote “the fact that the removable ear tag … had been transferred from the actual champion to the false champion … is vivid testimony that the substitution of one animal for the other had to be deliberate and not accidental.”
Parrish and his attorney, Rocky Saxbe, did not return messages seeking comment.
Terminal show. Parrish also broke state rules by taking the champion from a terminal show back to the home farm.
However, ODA documents say the Williams County Fair Board –
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