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Published: Friday, 12/22/2006

State suspends hog breeder for 2nd time in case

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Howard Parrish, a nationally known hog breeder, judge, and auctioneer who was accused of cheating with his granddaughter's champion hog at the 2004 Williams County Fair, was suspended again yesterday - in light of another court ruling on the more than 2-year-old case - from showing, handling, selling, offering for sale, and judging of livestock in exhibitions in Ohio.

The 11-day suspension, which is through Dec. 31, was ordered by Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey after the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus earlier this month affirmed, in part, and reversed, in part, earlier court rulings.

The appellate court found that Mr. Parrish, who was president of the Williams County Fair board at the time, illegally ordered the removal of his granddaughter's champion hog from the fairgrounds at the end of the fair.

Under Ohio law, champion animals must be taken directly from the fairgrounds to a designated slaughterhouse.

Mr. Parrish has argued that the Williams County Fair board allowed champion livestock to be taken home. That was ,in part, because officials said they feared the local slaughterhouse provided little supervision of the animals that were not killed immediately.

And some fair leaders said they thought the safest place for the champion animals was at the home of their owners.

But the court ruled that the fair board did not have the authority to supersede state law. That decision overturned an earlier Common Pleas Court ruling, which overruled the agriculture department's original penalty against Mr. Parrish.

The appeals court instructed the agriculture department to reconsider the appropriate penalty based solely on Mr. Parrish's violation of removing the hog from the fairgrounds.

The appeals court let stand the Common Pleas Court ruling that the agriculture department did not adequately prove that Mr. Parrish deliberately switched the ear tag of the champion hog with another hog.

The agriculture department has said that the hog Mr. Parrish delivered to the slaughterhouse was not his granddaughter's grand champion, which was required by state law to be butchered and inspected.

Mr. Parrish did not return calls last night seeking comment.

An agriculture department spokesman said Mr. Parrish would be able to appeal the ruling.

The latest 11-day suspension alone might not greatly affect Mr. Parrish; the very last days of the year are not a big time for hog shows and sales.

But Mr. Parrish said last year that the department's rulings have cost him thousands of dollars in lost business.

The agriculture department originally suspended him for 16 months, but after 7 1/2 months that suspension was overturned in court.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.


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