Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10242
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: horse
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Saturday, Dec 2, 2006

County: Washington

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Barbara P. Reinken

Case Updates: 16 update(s) available

Animal control authorities have seized a 35-acre farm, saying they found dozens of horses dead or dying from illness and maltreatment.

No charges had been filed against the owner of the farm, but authorities were treating the property as a crime scene, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society.

Authorities were sent on Dec 2 to investigate reports of a dead horse at Windrinker Farm, near the Antietam National Battlefield. They found more than 70 horses in various stages of poor health, plus the mostly skeletal remains of at least five other horses.

About 20 of the horses were sent to facilities throughout the region for further care, and one of them later died, said Miller, who also serves as a Howard County animal control officer.

Windrinker Farm owner Barbara P. Reinken, 61, denied mistreating the horses but conceded she had more than she could handle.

"The only thing I had wrong, I had too many horses, that's all," Reinken, a registered nurse, told The Associated Press Sunday.

Neighbors told the AP that dozens of horses at a time would sometimes get loose and graze in yards, fields and orchards. Bonnie Holmes said she called the Humane Society last month when as many as 30 horses got out.

"I'm so happy to see they're being taken out of here," Holmes said.

Miller said investigators found little feed on the farm except pasture, and volunteers brought in bales of hay for the horses.


Case Updates

A 62-year-old former Sharpsburg woman who kept malnourished, injured and worm-infested horses on her farm now lives in North Carolina, where she is supervised by that state's Department of Parole and Probation, Washington County Court records show.

Officials seized 75 horses, miniature horses and donkeys from Barbara Perry Reinken's farm in December 2006. Four horses were euthanized and one died in transit, according to court records.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael called Reinken's situation an "animal hoarding" case.

Reinken entered an Alford plea in April to one felony count of animal cruelty and was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. She received additional 90-day consecutive sentences for 10 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

The prison sentence was suspended and Reinken was placed on five years of probation to be supervised by the Department of Social Services. As part of her probation, Reinken must refrain from the care of animals - excluding dogs and cats - and seek mental health treatment.

Under the April plea agreement, Reinken relinquished the animals to the Humane Society of Washington County.

Reinken was back in court in October to ask Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. to modify her sentence, putting her on unsupervised probation so she could move to North Carolina. North Carolina authorities originally denied a petition asking them to take over Reinken's supervision, citing an instance in which Reinken told a North Carolina probation agent that she was not on supervised probation, her defense attorney Edward Button said in October.

Reinken wanted to move to North Carolina, where she has a home, because she was unable to find employment in the Hagerstown area, Button told Long in October.

"No one will hire her," he said.

Reinken's case incurred far more publicity than most criminal cases in Washington County, and Reinken was recognized in public and ridiculed, he said.
Source: Herald-Mail - Dec 5, 2007
Update posted on Dec 5, 2007 - 3:11PM 
Although this defendant has been sentenced, officials may still benefit from receiving community feedback regarding the outcome of the case.

Prosecutor:
The Honorable Joseph Michael
33 West Washington Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 240-313-2000
Fax: 240-313-2001

Judge:
The Honorable M. Kenneth Long, Jr.
95 West Washington Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 240-313-2573
Fax: 240-313-2596

Click here for Tips for Effective Letter Writing
Update posted on Nov 8, 2007 - 12:16PM 
A woman convicted of animal cruelty for neglecting horses on her western Maryland farm has asked a judge to loosen the terms of her probation so she can move out of state.

Barbara P. Reinken, 62, wants to move to North Carolina but authorities there have refused to take over her supervision, attorney Edward Button told Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Tuesday. Reinken is seeking to have her five years of supervised probation changed to five years of unsupervised probation.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph S. Michael said that if Reinken isn't supervised and treated for animal hoarding, she will start accumulating animals again in violation of her sentence. Reinken, whom Button said is now homeless, told the judge that three mental health professionals have examined her and agreed she doesn't have a hoarding disorder but is depressed.

Long suspended the supervision requirement pending another hearing Dec. 6.

Reinken was convicted of animal cruelty in April after authorities removed 75 horses from her property. Under her plea agreement, she agreed to refrain from owning any animals except the five dogs and six cats already in her possession.
Source: The Horse - Oct 18, 2007
Update posted on Oct 18, 2007 - 11:48PM 
An open house will be held on Saturday October 6th for the remaining Sharpsburg Horse Rescue horses still available for adoption in Washington County. The time will be 12 pm until 4 pm and the location is 17907 Spielman Road, Fairplay, MD 21733.

There are currently 10 horses available although two will be adopted together as they are mother and young colt. For more information on
the available horses please visit the Humane Society of Washington County's website at www.hswcmd.org. Anyone interested in attending the open house may contact the Humane Society of Washington County at 301 733 2060 extension 237 for directions and information.
Source: Humane Society of Washington County Press Release - Oct 2, 2007
Update posted on Oct 4, 2007 - 12:16PM 
A number of the horses rescued from a farm in rural Maryland in December of 2006 are still looking for homes. Pheasant Hill Equine Foundation, Inc., located in Adamstown, MD is overseeing the adoption of 9 of the horses. They will be holding an open house this
Saturday, September 29th at 4911 Bald Hill Road in Adamstown, MD 21710 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Currently, Pheasant Hill has 7 mares and 2 geldings available for adoption. Those horses will be available to see and meet. In addition, they will be having a horse training demonstration with Joe Crandell, a yard sale, farm tours, vendors, food and a silent auction. The open house is open to the general public.

For more information on the open house please call (301) 639-8994.
Source: The Humane Society of Washington County - Sep 25, 2007
Update posted on Sep 25, 2007 - 3:39PM 
After a successful weekend of potential adopters meeting a number of the rescued horses located at a farm in Fairplay, MD, the Humane Society of Washington County is still actively looking for permanent homes for many of the horses.

"We had a great weekend but we still need to find homes for a lot of horses," said Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Washington County. He added, "We have to find homes for 45 horses, 9 at the location in Washington County, 12 at the Frederick County location, and 24 at Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon."

Anyone interested in seeing the horses will need to make appointments at
the facilities:

* The Humane Society of Washington County, call 301 733 2060 x237
* Pheasant Hill Farm, Adamstown, MD 301 639 8994
* Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Lisbon, MD 301 854 5037
Source: Humane Society of Washington County Press Release - June 5, 2007
Update posted on Jun 7, 2007 - 1:35PM 
It's become known as Maryland's worst case of animal cruelty. Now some 70 horses found sick and neglected in Washington County need good homes. Months after being found neglected on a Sharpsburg farm, dozens of horses are getting a second chance.

Ms. Reinken was charged with 72 misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of animal and 4 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals on December 22nd, 2006.

The Humane Society of Washington County rescued the horses. Now they need a place to go.

"I think people need to understand that these are horses that need some work. Some will need a lot more work than others," said Paul Miller with the Humane Society of Washington County.

Out of tragedy comes new life. Almost a dozen mares are pregnant.

"One of the minis that we're watching had a foal on Monday, so you get to see that--you get to see life coming back into the world and being taken care of," said Miller.

Since they've been rescued, the horses have developed personalities. Some are shy and some love attention. Now they just need a loving home.

The Humane Society of Washington County tells Eyewitness News they are doing very serious background checks on anyone interested in adopting one of the horses.

If you would like more information on how you can adopt one of the rescued horses, you can call 301-733-2060.
Source: WJZ - May 2, 2007
Update posted on May 2, 2007 - 10:01PM 
Barbara Reinken, the Sharpsburg woman whose 75 horses were seized in December 2006, appeared in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday April 3, 2007. Ms. Reinken by and through her counsel Edward Button of Washington County and Charles Iannuzzi of Woodbury, NJ, entered a Plea and Sentencing Agreement pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-243.

Ms. Reinken was charged with 72 misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of animal and 4 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals on December 22nd, 2006. If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, she faces imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both, for each misdemeanor offense. If convicted of the felony charges she faces imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.


Plea Agreement

* The Defendant will knowingly, voluntarily, and with the benefit of the advice of counsel enter a plea pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970) (Alford Plea) to count 77 of the Charging Document, to wit: A violation of Maryland Ann. Crim. Code 10-606 (aggravated animal cruelty, including omission or neglect, resulting in the cruel death of an animal). Defendant acknowledge that under an Alford Plea she maintains that she did not commit the alleged crime, but admits that the State possesses evidence sufficient to convict her, and knowingly and voluntarily accepts a guilty judgment to the crime. Defendant acknowledges that the maximum penalty for this crime is three (3) years incarceration in the Maryland Division of Corrections, and a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

* The Defendant will knowingly, voluntarily, and with the benefit of the advice of counsel enter guilty pleas to counts 11, 19, 22, 24, 39, 46, 48, 56, 60 and 64 of the Charging Document, to wit: ten counts of violation of Maryland Ann. Crim. Code 10-604 (negligent of animals). Defendant acknowledges that the maximum penalty for each count of this crime is 90 days incarceration, and a fine not exceeding $1,000/00 or both.


Sentence Agreement

* The State and Defendant agree that Defendant will receive a sentence of three years incarceration in the Maryland Division of Correction for Count 77, and 90 days consecutive incarceration for each of Counts 11, 19, 22, 24, 39, 46, 48, 56, 60 and 64, and that the State and Defense agree that, upon acceptance of this plea agreement by this Honorable Court, that this sentence will be suspended in its entirety.

* The State will defer to the Court, after presenting the facts of the case, on the amount of fine, if any to be imposed upon the Defendant. The Defense is free to argue for leniency in the imposition of any fine.

* The Defendant reserves the right under Md. Rule 4-345 (e) to timely file a Motion for Modification of sentence. The State opposes modification of this sentence, but the Defendant and State agree that the Defendant's Motion for Modification may be held sub curia for such a period as the Court sees fit. The State specifically requests and reserves the right to be present and oppose the motion to modify if and when the Court elects to hold a hearing to modify the sentence.


Terms of Probation

* The terms of this plea agreement and this document are to be incorporated into the probation order upon the approval of the Court and acceptance of the Defendant's Alford plea and guilty pleas in open court.

* The State and Defense agree that the Defendant will be subject to the probation of this Honorable Court for a period of five years. This probation will be supervised by the Maryland Department of Parole and Probation, subject to transfer to another state, until such time that the State, the Defendant, or a Probation Agent petitions this Court for a termination of supervision, and the Court approves termination of supervision. Termination of supervision will not end the period of probation.

* As a condition of probation Defendant will undergo a mental health evaluation within 30 days with a mental health provider approved by the Court, said evaluation to include a treatment plan for the Defendant. As a condition of probation the Defendant will engage in and successfully complete or maintain the treatment described by the mental health evaluation, and report the progress of this treatment to the Defendant's supervising probation agent.

* During the five year period of probation, the Defendant will possess no animals other than the dogs and cats, and the number of dogs and cats in her possession or present in any home or property in which she resides will not exceed 5 dogs, and 6 cats. In addition she will not engage in the training, ownership, care, showing, buying, selling, of any animals other than 5 dogs and 6 cats allowed under her sentence. All dogs and cats in her possession must be either spayed or neutered within 30 days of sentencing in this matter, or 30 days of any later acquisition.

* During the five year period of probation, the Defendant shall be subject to periodic (not to exceed monthly) inspection of her home and any real properties owned, used, or occupied by the Defendant by the Humane Society of Washington County (if Defendant resides within Washington County), or by the animal control authority within any jurisdiction in which the Defendant resides, or uses or occupies real property.

* The State and Defendant agree that the Court may impose such other reasonable terms of probation that it sees fit, including, but not limited to standard terms of probation.


Surrender of Horses:

* Upon the approval of this plea agreement by this Honorable Court, the Defendant agrees to immediately surrender ownership and possession to the Humane Society of Washington County of all horses previously impounded from her possession. For purposes of this plea agreement the term "horses" includes all equines, and any offspring born or unborn. The Parties acknowledge that this condition of the plea agreement is effective upon the acceptance of the terms of the agreement by the Honorable Circuit Court of Washington County, and that the surrender will be effective and irrevocable immediately upon the court's approval of this agreement. The Defendant agrees to execute such further assurances, release documents, registration documents, or other documents necessary to effectuate this surrender.

* Neither the State, nor the Humane Society of Washington County will seek financial recourse against Defendant for the costs of the care of the animals accrued to date, or thereafter.

* The Humane Society of Washington County, upon surrender of the horses will make all reasonable efforts to adopt out the animals according to its protocol, as expressed in documents previously shared with the Defendant, receipt of which the Defendant acknowledges. If reasonable adoption efforts fail for any animal, the Humane Society of Washington County will dispose of any un-adopted animal in a humane fashion.

* The Defendant will not attempt to contact or interfere with any person or entity having possession of any animal surrendered by this plea agreement in the future.
Source: Washington County Humane Society - April 3, 2007
Update posted on Apr 3, 2007 - 9:23PM 
In the matter of the State of Maryland v. Barbara Reinken the Circuit Court of Washington County has scheduled a trial date of April 3, 2007 at 1:00 P.M. According to the State's Attorney's Office no witnesses are needed for the hearing.

This case attracted national attention when 74 horses were impounded from Ms. Reinken's 32 acre farm in Sharpsburg, MD in December 2006. She recently entered a prayer to the court for a jury trial.

Ms. Reinken was charged with 72 misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of animal and 4 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals on December 22nd, 2006. If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, she faces imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both, for each misdemeanor offense. If convicted of the felony charges she faces imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both for each count.

The Humane Society of Washington County continues to provide medical, daily and rehabilitative care for the 70+ horses in their care. Anyone wishing to contribute to the ongoing rehabilitation effort may send donations to the Humane Society of Washington County, Attention: The Sharpsburg Horse Rescue Medical and Rehabilitation Fund, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown MD 21740.
Source: The Humane Society of Washington County - March 28, 2007
Update posted on Mar 28, 2007 - 11:58AM 
The trial of Barbara Reinken, the Sharpsburg woman whose 74 horses were seized on her property in December 2006, scheduled to begin on March 19, 2007, will be rescheduled. Ms. Reinken entered a prayer to the court for a jury trial. This transfers the case to the Circuit Court and a new trial date will be assigned.

Ms. Reinken was charged with 72 misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of animal and 4 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals on
December 22nd, 2006. If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, she faces imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both, for each misdemeanor offense. If convicted of the felony charges she faces imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both for each count.

The Humane Society of Washington County continues to be responsible for the care and upkeep 70+ horses in their care. "We are so grateful to all the residents of Washington County and surrounding counties for their numerous contributions," Says Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Washington County. "Those donations are going towards the bills incurred for the daily upkeep and rehabilitation of the horses here and those remaining at Days End Farm Horse Rescue."

For those wishing to contribute to the ongoing veterinary care and rehabilitation of the seized horses, contributions can be made out to
the Humane Society of Washington County, Attention: The Sharpsburg Horse Rescue Medical and Rehabilitation Fund, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown MD 21740.
Source: Humane Society of Washington County - Mar 14, 2007
Update posted on Mar 14, 2007 - 2:56PM 
The trial of a Sharpsburg woman charged with 77 animal-cruelty charges was continued until March 19, Washington County District Judge Mark Thomas ordered Thursday.

Barabara Reinken, 61, appeared without a lawyer Thursday afternoon in District Court.

Four of the charges Reinken faces are felonies. The 73 misdemeanor animal-cruelty counts allege Reinken failed to provide for 72 horses and one cat at her 4040 Mills Road farm in Sharpsburg. The four felony aggravated animal-cruelty counts allege Reinken failed to provide for four horses that died. Conviction on the three counts of animal mutilation carries three years in detention for each count.

After turning herself in on an arrest warrant, Reinken, 61, was released on personal recognizance by a District Court commissioner on the condition she not keep any horses on her property until disposition on the charges is complete.

Reinken has the right to a jury trial because of the gravity of the charges.

Thomas advised Reinken of the benefits of counsel during her appearance in court Thursday.
Source: The Herald - Feb 23, 2007
Update posted on Feb 24, 2007 - 5:12PM 
A caravan of over 400 square bales of hay donated from residents of the Baltimore, MD area is headed to Washington County this weekend. Given the moniker "Hay Angels" by the Baltimore media, Monkton residents Fran Burns, Maureen Haley and Joanna Kelly and Lauren Otto from Frederick County have been working for a month arranging the caravan.

The women are responding to a call from the Humane Society of Washington County for help with the 70+ horses removed from a farm in Sharpsburg, MD in December 2006. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th, the threat of inclement weather postponed the caravan until Saturday, February 17th. The all volunteer caravan will begin at the Sears in Hunt Valley Town Center at 9:30 a.m. and will proceed through Baltimore County, Howard County and into Frederick County where it will be joined by additional trailer angels whose participation was arranged by Lauren Otto. The caravan will then proceed onto Washington County.

"We are overwhelmed by the many donations we have received from the residents of Baltimore and the surrounding area." stated Paul Miller
Executive Director of the Humane Society of Washington County. He added, "We would like to thank Connie Bison, Lee Lowery, Linda Johns,
Lizzie Johns, Karen Price, Margie Williams, The Mill of Black Horse, Windmill Hill-Peter Jay, James and Grace Shaw, Eilene Poole, David Rose,
Dana Sachey, Mr. Gifford and everyone who has helped with donations of hay, their time in shuttling the hay to us and their help in loading and unloading the many trailers. I would also like to thank Nancy Wallis and Phil Tagliaferri for the use of their barn for storing the hay and to
acknowledge the Hunt Valley Towne Centre and Greenberg Gibbons Commercial for allowing the parking lot at the Sears store at Hunt Valley Towne Center to be used as the staging area for the hay caravan."

For those wishing to contribute to the ongoing veterinary care and rehabilitation of the seized horses, contributions can be made out to
the Humane Society of Washington County, Attention: The Sharpsburg Horse Rescue Medical and Rehabilitation Fund, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown MD 21740.
Source: Humane Society of Washington County - Press Release
Update posted on Feb 15, 2007 - 1:47PM 
Hagerstown, MD: The Sharpsburg woman, Barbara Reinken, whose 74 horses were seized on her property in December 2006 is scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court on Feb 22, 2007 at 1pm. Due to the number of cases set on the docket that day, and the unlikelihood of the court reaching the lengthy Reinken matter, the State has elected to not summons its volunteers and veterinarians on that day because of the likelihood of continuance. The State discourages any attendees from suffering any inconvenience by attending this trial date. The State will ask that the matter be rapidly set for its own trial date so it can be reached without undue inconvenience to its witnesses, and without undue delay. A date will be set by the court at a later time.

Ms. Reinken was charged with 72 misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of animal and 4 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals on December 22nd, 2006. If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, she faces imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both, for each misdemeanor offense. If convicted of the felony charges she faces imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.

The horse rescue effort that began on December 2nd, 2006 has now become an extensive medical and rehabilitative effort. "We continue to provide for the veterinary, rehabilitative and daily needs of the 70 live horses remaining in our care," stated Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Washington County. He added, "The Humane Society of Washington County is dedicated to overseeing the welfare of these horses. With the likelihood that the trial date will be pushed back, these animals continue to require the assistance of the public in the forms of donations of hay and monetary contributions."

For those wishing to contribute to the ongoing veterinary care and rehabilitation of the seized horses, contributions can be made out to the Humane Society of Washington County, Attention: The Sharpsburg Horse Rescue Medical and Rehabilitation Fund, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown MD 21740.
Source: Humane Society of Washington County Press Release
Update posted on Feb 9, 2007 - 11:13AM 
A woman who allegedly neglected dozens of horses on her western Maryland farm was charged Friday with 73 misdemeanor counts of animal abuse and four felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Defendant Barbara P. Reinken, 61, declined to comment on the charges, which came nearly three weeks after the Humane Society of Washington County and the county sheriff's office executed a search-and-seizure warrant at her farm near Sharpsburg, about 60 miles west of Baltimore. Reinken previously denied mistreating the animals.

Reinken's lawyer, Edward N. Button, also declined to comment on the charges, which carry maximum penalties totaling 21 years in prison and $93,000 in fines.

Reinken's trial is set for Feb. 22 in Washington County District Court.

The charging documents allege that virtually all the 75 horses taken alive from Reinken's property were infected with parasites, and that many had diseased teeth, skin and feet.

One died in transit and two were later euthanized because of severe health problems, according to court records.

A 4- to 5-year-old mare was found dead in the pasture from complications from an untreated rib fracture, the charging documents state.

The felony charges are for the four deaths. One misdemeanor charge is for alleged neglect of a cat.

In an interview with The Associated Press Dec. 3, Reinken, a registered nurse, denied mistreating the horses but conceded she had too many on her 33-acre farm.

Maryland has no laws regulating the number of horses per acre, but the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension said one horse may need one to two acres of pasture during the summer grazing months.

In the charging documents, Humane Society Executive Director Paul F. Miller wrote: "Due to the number of horses, there were not enough shelter, not enough hay, no pasture grass as it was overgrazed and no evidence of clean water."

Some shelters were filled with trash or deep mud, and most of the horses appeared not to have had any recent hoof or dental care, Miller wrote. Most of the 45 mares appeared to be pregnant because most of the males hadn't been neutered, Miller wrote.

Separately Friday, District Judge Ralph H. France postponed a civil proceeding on Reinken's petition to have the horses returned to her.

One of the terms of her release without bail was that she refrain from keeping horses on her property until the criminal case is resolved.
Source: The WBAL CHannel - Dec 22, 2006
Update posted on Dec 23, 2006 - 12:48PM 
The woman at the center of a days-long investigation into allegations of animal neglect at a Sharpsburg horse farm admits she was in a bind, but she says she could not find anyone to help.

No charges had been filed in the investigation at the farm, where officials have said they found thin and injured horses, Humane Society of Washington County spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said Tuesday afternoon.

Barb Reinken, who said she has not been able to stay at her farm since officials seized it Saturday, blamed worms for making some of her horses thin. She said problems at Windrinker Farm seemed to snowball after she broke her leg in 1997.

A stallion impregnated nine mares at the farm after fencing broke, Reinken said. She said she seriously hurt her shoulder trying to make repairs, and she underwent surgery in June.

"It's just nobody will help. See, nobody wants to help when you need it," said Reinken, 61, who lives by herself.

Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, said workers found one dead horse lying in a field, three horses buried in a hole and the skeletal remains of five carcasses on the farm.

State tax records show the property at 4040 Mills Road covers a little more than 32 acres.

Reinken said she was trying to get rid of some of her horses, but nobody would take them.

The property has been for sale for about two years, she said.

"You could hardly meet me without hearing me say, "Don't you want a horse?'" Reinken said.

Ann Corcoran, president of The Ranger Foundation Inc., a 300-acre farm that provides a home to 15 retired police, military and therapeutic-riding horses, said one horse typically needs about two acres of grazing pasture.

"Normally, a horse would need about two acres of grass to maintain," Corcoran said.

Reinken disputed allegations that her horses were underfed. Though Cooker, the humane society's manager of development and community relations, has said there was nothing for the horses at the farm, Reinken said she probably overfed some of her animals.

"They weren't acting sick. They were eating normally, acting normally, no lethargy at all - except for the two foals," Reinken said.

Two baby horses were among the handful of horses Reinken said were having trouble maintaining weight. One filly that seemed to be getting better died Saturday, Reinken said.

Reinken said she has a degree in animal husbandry, and she learned horses that appeared a little thin are healthier than horses that are overweight. She said she is a registered nurse, but she refused to say where she works.

Reinken said she was preparing to begin a new regimen of deworming at the farm.

Tests of one horse's stool samples revealed, "It was a lot of this one particular worm," Reinken said.

Marvin Gower, who sells feed at William Gower & Son in Williamsport, said the Windrinker Farm horses probably had more than enough grain, but the feed Reinken bought was the least nutritious.

"It was very marginal. You know, it was very marginal," Gower said.

Gower said the store made three deliveries of maintenance feed to Windrinker Farm since September. That kind of feed is not adequate for pregnant horses, he said.

"Especially this time of year, you need the hay. I mean, the grain's nice, but you really need the hay," Gower said.

Efforts to reach a Middletown, Md., man who Reinken said attempted to deliver supplies to the farm were unsuccessful Tuesday. A representative of Valley Equine Associates, a Ranson, W.Va., veterinarians' office Reinken said she used, declined comment.

Since Sept. 7, Reinken said, veterinarians visited her farm at least seven times. They treated a horse with an injured leg, performed one castration and began looking into what was making some of the horses thin, she said.

On Nov. 9, one mare needed emergency medical attention when she delivered dead the foal she was carrying, Reinken said.

Bills for the care of a horse's health, feet and teeth, and food can run $1,000 a year, Corcoran estimated.

People who want to get rid of their horses have few options, Corcoran said. With few shelters, unwanted horses end up going to the butcher's market, she said.

"There's no place for horses to go," Corcoran said.

Miller said the humane society shipped some of the horses in poorest health at Windrinker Farm to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Howard County, Md.

One horse died in transport, Miller said.
Source: Herald-Mail - Dec 6, 2006
Update posted on Dec 8, 2006 - 12:07PM 
Hay, halters, lead ropes, water troughs and other supplies are needed to care for about 50 horses at a Sharpsburg farm where officials are investigating possible animal cruelty and neglect.

"These horses need food now," said Katherine Cooker, the Humane Society of Washington County's manager of development and community relations.

Workers from the local and national Humane Society, workers from Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Howard County, Md., veterinarians and others on Monday evaluated and cared for about 50 horses that remained at Windrinker Farm, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County.

No charges had been filed by Monday against the farm's owner, who remained under investigation, Miller said.

The local Humane Society is working closely with the Washington County Office of the State's Attorney, he said.

Miller said the 35-acre property at 4040 Mills Road was seized Saturday afternoon after a complaint was made about a dead horse. The owner is not allowed on the property, he said.

Workers found 74 horses, one dead horse lying in a field, three horses buried in a hole and the skeletal remains of five carcasses on the property, he said.

Twenty-four horses were removed from the property for medical care, he said, and one died while in transport.

Miller said the local Humane Society received complaints over the past three years about the farm, but whenever animal control officers went to the farm to check out a complaint, the owner would "try to rectify it."

He said workers didn't see the multitude of horses in the past.

They found Saturday that many of the stallions were not castrated, he said, adding that he suspected many of the mares were pregnant, the possible result of inbreeding.

Miller said "there are still a lot of questions" about the conditions of the horses. Most of the horses are underweight and have cuts, abrasions and infections, Miller said. Not a lot of feed was found on the farm.

"There are a lot of things that can cause thinness. Was it their teeth, parasites ....?" Miller said.

He said about four veterinarian teams have evaluated and logged the horses' medical conditions.

Complicating their care, there are some horses that "cannot be touched" because they were not socialized, Miller said.

Miller said money and supplies are needed to sustain the horses.

Miller said "hay is on the top of the list," but "money is the best." He said workers need 100-gallon to 175-gallon troughs, lead ropes, halters, portable corrals, horse trailers and other supplies.

"There was nothing there," Cooker said.

She said the City of Hagerstown Water Department donated water and the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. transported it. Tractor Supply Co. donated money, she said.
Source: Herald News - Dec 5, 2006
Update posted on Dec 5, 2006 - 11:45AM 

References

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