Horses on Maryland farm seized after dozens starve, die

Authorities in Maryland are seizing the horses that remain alive on a Maryland farm where dozens of horses were found dead or malnourished.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis says he responded to a report about decaying horse corpses at the farm and found a dire situation, where starving horses had broken the sliding glass doors at the back of the farmhouse, desperate to get in and find something to eat.

The sheriff says it's not the first time Barbara Pilchard has been accused of animal neglect on the 2-acre farm she shares with her husband Clayton.

The sheriff tells The Daily Times of Salisbury that the property was investigated by the sheriff's department, the humane society and an equine expert several years ago, but there was insufficient evidence at the time to support charges of horse neglect. The sheriff says two deputies recalled Friday that Barbara Pilchard had been charged with 100 counts of animal neglect in 1995 when 200 cats were removed from the same property. He says those charges were indefinitely postponed .

Lewis says the dead horses will be disposed of in a lined container at the county landfill to keep any infectious disease from infiltrating the groundwater.

The live horses will be taken to an undisclosed location.

The Humane Society of Wicomico County executive director, Aaron Balsamo, says his agency is investigating.

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Information from: The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md., http://www.delmarvanow.com/