VANCEBORO - A case against a man who was accused of mistreating his horses has been dismissed.
Animal control officers found the horse named "Flash" dead on 30-year-old derrick Chapman's property. Chapman was charged with animal cruelty on July 11.
Investigators said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal case.
According to court records, there was little evidence that showed Chapman intentionally deprived his horse of necessary substances. Vet findings were consistent with that of an aged horse.
Chapman maintained his innocence from the beginning.
Sources close to Craven County Animal Control said a man charged with animal cruelty could have another horse in his care die from malnourishment.
Derrick Chapman, 30, was charged with animal cruelty July 11. Animal control officers found a dying horse on the man's property, without its teeth and severely underweight.
According to a Greenville veterinarian at the scene, the horse died five days later from not being able to properly chew its food. Three other horses remain on the property, including one with skin hanging on its ribcage.
"The animal cruelty charges came as a shock to me and my family," Chapman said in an interview Monday. "We thought we could help [the dead horse], put some weight on him, give him what he needs."
Now, sources who work with the Craven County Animal control are concerned one of the surviving horses could also die from malnourishment. The horse in the worst condition has half of its teeth remaining, and needs specialized saturated food.
"The horse is not as bad as it looks," Animal Control Supervisor Trinity Smith said Thursday morning. "On a body score scale of one to five with one being emaciated, the horse scored a three and a half."
Chapman has allowed authorities to visit his property and check the animals at any time.
Previous Story: Man charged after horse dies
A horse is found dead at a Vanceboro home and a West Craven Middle School employee now faces charges.
According to Craven County authorities, four horses were found without water and little food on July 6.
Derrick Chapman claims he was out of town that weekend and had someone coming by to feed them. He's been charged with one count of animal cruelty.
Chapman says he got the horse "Flash" from a co-worker three months ago, and was trying to rehabilitate him.
"Look at my other three horses," Chapman said. "Why haven't they taken my other horses?"
The Craven School Board responded to the charges saying that based on its policy, Chapman followed proper procedure by reporting his misdemeanor charge to human resources in a timely manner. He will not face any penalties.
Chapman is scheduled to appear in court on August 6.