Ripley police investigator charged with animal cruelty

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GATES, Tenn. -- A Ripley police investigator was charged after horses he owns were found malnourished.

Some of the neighbors who live in the area say the condition of the horses was so bad that they would come outside to feed the horses. They described the animals as breathing skeletons.

"Bad shape, rib bones showing, hip bone showing, close to verge of death,” said Jeremy Ray of Gates.

Several of those horses Ray is talking about are on oxygen, and some can barely stand.

Members of the American Humane Association's Red Star group even stepped in to help after a request from the district attorney in Fayette County.

"I'm surprised that anybody would do that. I can't stand to see anything go hungry, that's just not right,” said Ann Crowder of Gates.

The horses were taken to a facility where they'll be fed and get the medical treatment they need.

Some people said they were surprised the animals survived this long.

“That was cruel I think,” Ruby Davis said.

The horses owner, James Crook, now faces six counts of animal cruelty. Since Crook was a police investigator for the Ripley police department, the Lauderdale County judge recused herself and a Crockett County judge will hear the case.

"Sad, you shouldn't have no horses if you can't take care of them,” Ray said.

This isn't the first time Red Star has been called out to the area. Earlier this year, nearly 20 starving horses and a mule were rescued.

Neighbors say this case of animal cruelty is the most disturbing one they've seen.

Crook can’t have any contact with the horses or any animals while the case is pending. He will be back in court on the charges in September.


  • Cary Miller

    Thank you, Channel 3, American Humane, District Attorney, and Redemption Road humane group. That which won’t stand the light of day WILL have a light shined upon it! Now what about the officials to whose attention this was brought, and did nothing???!!!!!!

  • WW

    Why it had to get this bad before anything was FINALLY done is completely unacceptable!! Thank God for the outside organizations that stepped in to get something done. I’m so sick of local so called “authorities” turning a blind eye to people like this and not taking these matters seriously, I’m assuming because they’re “just animals”.

  • Don

    Police officer, Crook needs to be billed everyone who has paid to have his horses, including the taxpayers and the government and the people who have transported and cared for the horses.
    I’m sure he is a person a being an officer of the law you can put faith in to the (Protect and Serve) oath he swore to when he became a Ripley policeman. I don’t think so.

  • Ralph Noyes

    In this part of the country, the wrong people are becoming cops for the wrong reasons. And police unions are a big aggravating factor. They protect the very worst. This will come back and bite the taxpayers again and again — HARD.

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