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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

State suspends area hog expert in cheating case

Williams County's nationally known hog breeder, judge, and auctioneer Howard Parrish is officially suspended from participating in livestock exhibitions in Ohio through the end of 2006, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced yesterday.

The decision ends the department's eight-month investigation.

Mr. Parrish is not allowed to show, handle, sell, offer for sale, or judge livestock at shows in the state. However, he can continue to sell pigs at his farm near Edon to others to exhibit at fairs. And he can attend livestock exhibitions as a spectator, Agriculture Department spokesman LeeAnne Mizer said.

Mr. Parrish, who is accused of cheating with his granddaughter's grand champion hog at last year's Williams County Fair, where he was the fair board president, has until Sept. 15 to file an appeal in Williams County Common Pleas Court.

He did not return calls from The Blade yesterday. He has maintained in earlier filings with the Agriculture Department that he has done nothing wrong.

Mr. Parrish resigned this summer as president of the Williams County Fair.

Ms. Mizer said yesterday's announcement would have forced his resignation if he had not already done so.

"He couldn't have performed his fair duties with these restrictions," she said.

The official suspension came 10 days before the opening of the Williams County Fair, which runs Sept. 10-17.

In all, Mr. Parrish is suspended for one year and four months by agriculture Director Fred Dailey's ruling. The Agriculture Department had proposed a two-year suspension for Mr. Parrish when it announced its case against him in December.

Officials said that he had taken his granddaughter's grand champion hog to his farm instead of delivering it to the slaughterhouse for an examination of the carcass as required by state law, the department said yesterday. Later, Mr. Parrish delivered a different hog to the slaughterhouse and misrepresented it as the grand champion.

Gene Lautzenheiser, who succeeded Mr. Parrish as Williams County fair board president, declined to comment on the agriculture department's ruling.

But he said that the fair has changed its procedure for handling championship livestock at this month's fair.

That should put the fair in compliance with state law for the first time in years.

- Jane Schmucker



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