Farrier Charged with 3 Counts Aggravated Animal Cruelty

Updated March 24, 2014

Tennessee farrier Ronnie Epperson is facing animal abuse charges after authorities say he poisoned his ex-girlfriend’s horses to death.

Epperson was arrested last week after he turned himself into Arkansas authorities. He is charged with 3 felony counts of cruelty to animals in Mississippi County.

Arkansas resident Debra Gable broke off her relationship with the horse shoer in late April, although she told investigators he continued contacting her.

Gable was selling a horse, and Epperson scheduled an appointment with her, for him and a buyer to come out on May 1. According to the criminal complaint, while Gable and the buyer were finalizing the sale and loading the horse, Epperson was alone in the barn with her Tennessee Walking Horses.

The next day Gable found her 3 horses dead. Her daughter Ashley Farrell had Chism (pictured) for 5 years.

Farrier Ronnie Epperson allegedly poisoned three horses to death.

She says, “he was my best friend.” One of the other horses named Sally arrived only two weeks prior. The third horse, Vengeance, was with Gable for 10 years.

Toxicology and necropsy reports showed the feed bucket and a horse’s stomach tested positive for Aldicarb. It is the active ingredient in the pesticide Temik. When poisoned with Aldicarb, the victim dies of respiratory failure. EPA guidelines state the product is only to be applied by professional pesticide operators.

Documents state Epperson allegedly used Temik to kill coyotes around a deer stand and other animals he considered a nuisance.

Sergeant Preston Williams tells Rate My Horse PRO Epperson does not have a criminal record.

Epperson is out on $100,000 bond. His trial is scheduled for July 2014.