Deputy accused of starving horses

A 17-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department is under investigation after being accused of animal cruelty.

9/23/2013 | HOUSTON (KTRK) | By: Jessica Willey — A 17-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is under an internal affairs investigation after being accused of neglecting two horses.

Monica Cooper, 54, of Huffman has been charged with two counts of cruelty to livestock animals.

At Cooper’s home Monday evening, no one was there. The gate was locked, but out back, four horses were feasting on hay. It’s how Barbara Logan knows her neighbor.

“They’re well-fed. None of them are hungry, none of them are sick,” Logan said.

Next door, we heard a different story.

“Neglect, no food, no water, no good source of shelter,” neighbor Raquel Campos said.

And Campos’ opinion is now supported by criminal charges linked to two horses believed dumped by Cooper in Montgomery County back in July. A volunteer at the Splendora stable found one horse barely able to stand, another too weak to do so, and both were emaciated. The one on the ground, despite their efforts, was too far gone to save.

Cooper, who is assigned to the sheriff’s patrol division, has been put on paid administrative leave. Cooper has been arrested but is not in jail. Court records show that her bail was originally set at $1,000 for each count.

Cooper is a 17-year veteran with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. In a statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesman says, “Although the criminal charge against her does not appear to directly involve her HCSO duties, all law enforcement employees are expected to set an example in following all laws.”

Logan hasn’t seen anything different.

“She cares for them like we would care for our own babies,” Logan said.

But Campos says she’s seen this.

“She should know better,” Campos said.

We wanted to ask Cooper about these charges, but when she saw us at her home Monday night, she quickly turned around and sped off.