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Travis Coker discovers the downside of cattle prod as parenting tool

A keen student of motivational techniques, Travis Coker decided to jolt his daughters into a more expeditious completion of their chores.

A keen student of motivational techniques, Travis Coker decided to jolt his daughters into a more expeditious completion of their chores.

Like all good fathers, Travis Coker hoped to instill in his daughters a robust work ethic, the better to prepare them for the soul-crushing life of adulthood.

The adopted girls, ages 11 and 13, were assigned chores on the family farm in Swan, Iowa, a half-hour outside of Des Moines. Yet Coker was clearly a student of the great management texts concerning efficiency and timeliness. He found his daughters’ labor wanting.

They had an hour to complete their tasks. But it appears said toil often lingered beyond the allotted time frame. As a keen managerial theorist, he needed to better motivate his subordinates.

He found his relief in the Sharpshock Electric Livestock Prod.

Billed as an “economical alternative to more expensive prods,” the Sharpshock is perfect for nudging along recalcitrant cows or hogs. But its shocking prowess may have been a bit formidable for wee children.

Coker decided to motivate his girls by blasting them once for every five minutes they were late with their chores. This, however, had the unintended consequence of motivating them to rat out their dad for going medieval in his teachable moments.

Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt was summoned to the farmstead, where Coker and his wife admitted to the electrical incentive program. Coker was charged with two counts of child endangerment and released on a $5,000 bond. He is also barred from having any contact with the girls.

The sheriff doesn’t believe Coker is the kind of guy who’d be voted Most Likely to Be Caught Cruising the Middle School Parking Lot with Handcuffs and Mace by his high school class.

"If you were to ask me is this guy the worst father in the world, I would say no," Sandholdt told the Des Moines Register. "I think he used poor judgment in this case and hopefully will realize that from this point forward."

In other words, Travis Coker likely isn’t a sadist. He’s just a moron.