An investigation by special rangers of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) and investigators with the Arkansas Agriculture Department has resulted in 382 criminal charges against an Arkansas man.
Jay Lee Parker, 43, of Waldron, Arkansas, surrendered to the Leflore County Sheriff’s Office Oct. 9, 2019, on one of the 382 counts — knowingly receiving stolen property (cattle). Upon his surrender, he was booked into the Leflore County Jail and later released on a $30,000 bond.
Special Ranger Bart Perrier led TSCRA’s portion of the investigation with the assistance of fellow Special Ranger Kenneth Wadsworth. Billy Black, chief of law enforcement for the Arkansas Agriculture Department led the investigation there.
According to Perrier, Parker allegedly entered into a one-year contract with a Texas rancher to care for the victim’s 435 cows and 61 calves. Near the end of the contract period in the fall of 2018, the victim discovered that a substantial portion of the cattle under Parker’s care were dead or unaccounted for.
According to authorities, the investigation revealed that Parker sold 54 head of cattle at the Leflore County Livestock Auction in Wister, Oklahoma. He pocketed almost $30,000 that should have gone to the victim.
In Arkansas, it is believed that he sold 29 head of the victim’s cattle at the Waldron Livestock Market. Numerous other cattle allegedly died due to poor living conditions and willful neglect by Parker, officials said. As a result, two charges of theft of leased property over $25,000, and 379 counts of cruelty to animals were filed in Scott County, Arkansas. He was arrested on those charges May 20, 2019, and was subsequently freed on bond.
If convicted, the one charge in Oklahoma could result in a sentence of three to 10 years in prison and significant fines. In Arkansas, the two theft charges carry a penalty of six years each, and every animal cruelty charge could land Parker in prison for up to a year.