HORRY COUNTY, S.C.—The story of Rodell and Sugar is a tale of too much tail, literally. It’s also a sad story because Rodell Vereen, who was sentenced Wednesday to three years in jail for having sex with a horse, simply could not stay away from the mare named Sugar.
Vereen pleaded guilty last July to having sex with Sugar on Thanksgiving 2007. He was declared a sex offender, sentenced to three years probation and ordered to stay away from Barbara Kenley's Lazy B Stables, where Sugar was kept. But his sweet tooth eventually got the better of him.
This July, two years after the first violation of Sugar, Kenley, who had set up a video camera to keep watch over the stalls, caught Vereen at it again and held him at gunpoint until the police came and arrested him.
"I'm sorry about what I've done," Vereen told the judge during a hearing at the Horry County courthouse. “I didn't mean to do it. It's my fault. I'm sorry for what I've done to myself.”
Family members have told the press that Vereen, 50, was diagnosed with a mental disease more than 10 years ago and may not have been taking his medication when he double-dipped Sugar, but the court apparently did not find that to be a mitigating factor.
Why Vereen chose the same horse also in unclear, but what is not in doubt is that Sugar, at 21 years of age, is hardly a spring chicken. Behind the Bit, a blog for horse lovers, estimates that Sugar is 71 in human years.
While studies of the recidivism rate for those who commit horse buggery are rare, to say the least, we can expect that septuagenarian Sugar will probably not be with us by the time Vereen gets out of jail. But you never know. A Missouri horse, Mr. Kid Bars, turned 40 in January, twice the average lifespan for a horse.
That fact alone might lead one to propose that if Sugar does indeed survive past Vereen’s incarceration, then someone, including perhaps the authorities, might want to take a close look at whether more was going on between the two than the presumed non-consensual sex.