Cesar Parra Cleared of Animal Abuse Charges

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Cesar Parra and Van the Man. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

FLEMINGTON, New Jersey, May 26–Animal cruelty charges against Cesar Parra, who rode in the Olympics for Colombia and the Pan American Games for the United States, have been dismissed.

Anthony P.Kearns, the proseutor for Hunterdon County in New Jersey where Cesar Parra’s farm in Whitehouse Station is located, announced the disposition of four summonses issued against Parra, 49, by the Hunterdon County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The summonses accused the trainer, who has been seeking an invitation to the U.S. Olympic selection trials next month, of “torture or torment to a living animal” after a complaint was made over an incident almost three years earlier.

“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,” the prosecutor said.

The disorderly persons charge was dismissed on the grounds that the one-year statute of limitations had expired.

“In regards to the remaining fourth degree criminal complaint, a thorough investigation into this matter was completed by my office, including multiple witness interviews,” the prosecutor said. “It has been determined that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges in the case.”

The two civil comlaints have been referred back to the Readington Township Municipal Court, where they were originally filed, for disposition.

Cesar Parra rode for Colombia in the Olympics and the Pan American Games. He became a United States citizen and was a member of the U.S. gold medal team at the 2011 Pan Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico.

With Van the Man, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Obelisk x Lady x Landjunker) previously ridden by Dorothee Schneider of Germany, he has been seeking to be among the top 15 combinations invited to the U.S. selection trials to be held over two weekends in New Jersey next month.

The latest official rankings as of May 21 place the pair in 18th place, but the pair is competing at this weekend’s ESDCTA Memorial Weekend CDI3* in New Jersey, the last opportunity to gain qualifying scores ahead of the cutoff date of May 27.

Some of the combinations within the top 15 will not be competing at Gladstone and the U.S. federation can extend invitations to the next ranked riders and horses.