Animal cruelty charges against an Olympic equestrian are to be dismissed in New Jersey, it has been announced.
Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III said his office would be dismissing animal cruelty counts against Cesar Parra.
Parra competed for Colombia in the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2006 World Equestrian Games, and is a contender for a berth at the London Olympics as part of the US dressage team. He was Colombian national champion multiple times and last year rode for the US dressage team at the Pan American Games in Mexico. The team won a gold medal.
In March 2012, the Hunterdon County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued four summonses to Parra, 49, of Whitehouse Station, after a complaint was made over an incident that occurred nearly three years earlier.
Parra was accused by the SPCA of “torture or torment to a living animal” after a horse he was training was injured in June 2009.
The horse at the centre of the allegation was named William PFF, owned by Trudy Miranda.
“Of the four summonses issued to Parra, one was related to a fourth degree crime, one was for a disorderly persons offense, and two were civil complaints,” Kearns said.
The one criminal summons related to the disorderly persons offense was reviewed by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office.
Kearns noted: “This incident occurred almost three years prior to the complaints being issued and the Statute of Limitations on disorderly persons offenses is one year. Therefore, that summons was dismissed.
“In regards to the remaining fourth-degree criminal complaint, a thorough investigation into this matter was completed by my office, including multiple witness interviews.
“It has been determined that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges in the case. The summons will be dismissed.
“The two civil complaints have been referred back to the Readington Township Municipal Court for appropriate disposition.”
A lawsuit against Parra filed by Miranda is scheduled to go to trial in New Jersey Superior Court, in Flemington, on July 12.
Miranda filed suit in June 2011. She alleges Parra was negligent in the way he handled the horse and how he cared for him after an injury. Parra filed a counterclaim against Miranda in April and asked the judge for a jury trial.