State Issues Fines in Carousel Acres Horse Deaths

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The Texas Department of Agriculture has levied fines and warnings against two people and one business in the infamous Carousel Acres horse deaths.

The equestrian center's owner, Brad Raphel, has been charged with five violations, including use of a restricted pesticide without being licenced, as well as improper storage of the pesticide.

Raphel's fines total $4,000. Though each of the five violations come with a $1,000 fine, the Texas Agriculture Code notes the maximum total fine for violations with a single incident is $4,000.

Attempts to reach Raphel Tuesday were unsuccessful.

In addition, Walter Cronin, a private applicator, was fined for not properly supervising the use of the pesticide. Raphel has said Cronin, who is licenced for the pesticide PhosFume, purchased it for him.

When reached Tuesday, Cronin said he had just received the TDA's report, and would not comment until speaking with his lawyer.

Producers Cooperative was warned by the TDA on three issues: failure to record the correct name of a pesticide they sold, failure to list that Raphel was unlicenced when he received the product, and distributing a pesticide without a manual describing the application process for the product.

Commenting from Minneapolis where he is attending a conference, Producers' General Manager James Deatherage said he feels his business did, in fact, follow all state protocols.

Last July, 27 horses at Carousel Acres died after consuming phosphine gas in their feed.

The aforementioned fines can be appealed to the TDA.

Details from a criminal investigation into the deaths have been sent to the Brazos County district attorneys office. Raphel has said he believes the horses were intentionally poisoned.