Man arrested for animal cruelty

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

FLORALA - A Florala man was arrested Tuesday after an investigator with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries found an abandoned blind horse that was smuggled into the state from Florida.

According to Tim Forehand, an agriculture investigator, the horse was brought into Alabama without any health papers. State law requires horse owners to have papers with up-to-date registration of shots as a preventative of outbreaks of known diseases. In particular, the EEE virus, carried by mosquitoes, is deadly and can be spread to horses.

An investigation revealed the horse was "left to roam free," according to Forehand.

Millard Perdue, 34, was arrested and held at the Covington County Jail for abandoning the horse without food or water - classified as cruelty to animals - as well as allowing the animal to run at large and failure to provide health papers.

"He brought the horse into Covington County and pretty much let him run loose," he said.

Forehand found the horse at a residence on Lockhart Church Road.

"A landowner on that road found the horse and kept it in his pen, and that is where I found it," Forehand said.

Perdue is currently being held on a $3,000 bond for animal cruelty, and $500 for each of the other two offenses.

Forehand commented the horse is now in the custody of the agriculture department and "is doing fine."

The case Tuesday comes amidst an ongoing investigation of another case of horse cruelty involving gunfire.

More than a month ago, on Jan. 7, two quarter horses in Andalusia belonging to Johnny Harper were shot and killed. Since then, seven more horses were reported either shot or missing - on open land near Harper's farm.

The state Agriculture Department, in conjunction with investigators with the Andalusia Police Department, have been searching for leads to the perpetrator behind these crimes. They even held a public forum for farmers on Jan. 21 to inform the livestock owners of the nature of the crimes and to see what they can do about it.

So far no leads have been made to the capture and arrest of the individual or group of individuals responsible for these crimes, Forehand said Wednesday afternoon.

Harper, who originally announced he would offer a $2,000 reward for the capture of the criminals, raised that amount during the forum to $3,000.

In a previous Star-News report, APD Detective Wade Garrett said he will treat these cases like murder investigations.

"We will look for the same things we look for in murders," he said. "And it is murder - the malicious killing of livestock, which is a Class-C Felony."

If anyone has any information in regards to the whereabouts of the suspects behind the horse shootings, that person may contact Forehand at (334) 240-7208, Garrett at (334) 222-1155, or Johnny Harper at (334) 222-6226.