Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17815
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: horse
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Defense(s): Robin K. Henley, Michael A. Cuches
Judge(s): Douglas H. Everngam

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Friday, Apr 29, 2011

County: Queen Annes

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 2 files available

Alleged: Marsha Holly Parkinson

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

A Maryland-based horse rescue is coming to the aid of over 150 malnourished and neglected horses, but they're going to need financial help to nurture each of the animals back to health.

Investigators found more than 150 Arabian horses at Canterbury Farms in Centreville, Md., and claim that most are suffering, including 13 critical cases. "Every horse on the property is suffering from some level of lack of care," said Stacey Segal of the Humane Society of the U.S.

The Days End Farm Horse Rescue is leading a multi-agency effort to rescue the neglected horses. However, due to the size of the impound, they're forced to use private facilities throughout the state, which is costing them money they don't have.

"We are filled to capacity and our main farm can not house any more animals, especially with the number involved in this case." stated Dan Zalewski, Development Director for Days End Farm. Zalewski says that rehabilitating each horse costs about $5,000 for the first six months of treatment.

Animal services officers said they have been watching the farm for months. They say the owner moved her breeding operation to the Eastern Shore about 10 years ago from California and has been trying to get by with only one farmhand to help. The owner, Marsha Parkinson, declined to comment. Charges are pending, according to animal control services.

"The horse market has fallen on hard times. Just like the rest of economy and we have a situation where someone could not afford the upkeep," said MacGlashan.

Zalewski says that the Humane Society of the United States, American Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have assisted in the rescue operation. However, Days End Farm is looking at bills surpassing $1 million just for this rescue alone.

"These monies are in addition to the operational costs already attached to our main facility where we currently have over 70 horses being treated and watched for not only their original aliments," Zalewski said.

Last week more, than a dozen of the sickest horses were removed for treatment. Several were deemed beyond hope and euthanized. Crews from Days End Farm Horse Rescue and the Humane Society are rounding up and assessing the rest.

As many as 130 horses will be placed on foster farms across the region. The hope is they'll be nursed back to health and adopted.

Days End Farm is accepting tax-deductible donations to help support their rescue operation. You can purchase horse care packages through their website, or you can send donations to:

Days End Horse Farm Rescue
ATTN: Arabian Emergency
P.O. Box 309
Lisbon, MD 21765

Individuals can also purchase new horse care packages through the Days End website. Days End Farm Horse Rescue is a 501 (c) (3) organization (Federal ID # 52-1759077).

Case Updates

Animal cruelty charges have been filed in one of the largest cases of animal neglect in Maryland history.

The Queen Anne's County State's Attorney, Lance Richardson has filed 34 counts of animal cruelty charges against Marsha Parkinson, owner of Canterbury Farms, an illegal horse breeding farm.

Parkinson is scheduled in Queen Anne's County court for a trial on July 27.

In late April, animal control seized 140 horses from Parkinson's from the Centerville farm because they had signs of severe neglect.

Of the 140 horses only a few were found to be at a sufficient body condition, the rest were all lacking the "Minimum Standards of Care" under Maryland state law.

Many of the horses were under 5.

It is anticipated that more than 100 animal cruelty charges will be filed against Parkinson, and additional charges are being considered bu other state agencies for the lack of licensing to operate and tax issues.

"Animal Services had been monitoring this farm for some time, and without intervention, many of these animals would have succumbed due to the ongoing neglect. We applaud the state's attorney for holding the owner accountable for her actions and seeking justice for these animals. There is no excuse for letting any animal languish without proper care", said Dave MacGlashan, Director of Animal Control for Queen Anne's County.

Since the horses were taken, they have been in the care of local animal welfare organizations and are all thriving in their new environments.

Brooke Vrany, Assistant Director of Days End Farm Horse Rescue said, "Many of the horses were at risk of dying, it has taken expert care to rehabilitate them and restore them to health. We are so grateful that Queen Anne's County intervened to stop their suffering. "

A photo gallery of some of the horses can be viewed here or here .
Source: - Jun 21, 2011
Update posted on Jun 21, 2011 - 8:56PM 
A judge has found the removal of horses from Canterbury Farm on April 29 was necessary for their health.

On Wednesday afternoon, Queen Anne's County District Court, Judge Douglas H. Everngam denied Marsha Parkinson's civil petition for the return of her property, 133 Polish Arabian horses seized by Animal Services on April 29. Some of the horses are being treated in Cecil County.

Parkinson was represented by attorneys Robin K. Henley and Michael A. Cuches, who argued the county had illegally seized the horses by not having a prior recommendation from a veterinarian to remove them and that the county had violated an April 15 agreement with Parkinson, in which she had been given 30 days to correct conditions at the farm.

Although there were representatives from the different agencies involved in the seizure Queen Anne's County Animal Services, the Humane Society of the United States, Days End Farm Horse Rescue and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the courtroom, only two witnesses testified: Dave MacGlashan, director of Animal Services, and Dr. Michael Forney of Chestertown, the veterinarian who accompanied Animal Control officers on their visits to the farm, including the day the horses were removed.

Henley asked MacGlashan about Animal Services' April 15 visit to Canterbury Farm.

MacGlashan said he, Animal Control officers, representatives from HSUS and Days End and Forney went to the farm to check on the welfare of the horses there. That day Parkinson voluntarily surrendered seven of the horses and agreed to have six others humanely euthanized, he said.

Henley introduced a document he described as a 30-plan agreed to on April 15 by Parkinson and the county to bring up the standards of care at the farm. If more horses needed to be removed, why weren't they removed that day; why even create a 30-day plan if they weren't going to give her 30 days, he asked.

MacGlashan said the county didn't have the resources to deal with any more than the seven horses surrendered that day.

He said Animal Control officers visited the farm to check on conditions about every other day between April 15 and April 29.

"After less than two weeks, we found nothing had been complied with," MacGlashan said.

Both Parkinson's attorneys and Queen Anne's County State's Attorney Lance Richardson agreed Forney was an expert witness in equine care.

Forney testified he accompanied the group April 15 because he was asked to evaluate the overall horse population on the farm. He said he euthanized one horse on site that day and he returned April 17 and destroyed five more.

Henley asked Forney if he had made a recommendation to remove any horses from the farm.

Forney replied, "I didn't contest the idea they could do a lot better elsewhere."

He said MacGlashan called him April 28 and asked him to accompany the group to the farm April 29 to remove the horses. He said he asked for a meeting with the state's attorney because he wanted to know why the agreement they had made with Parkinson wasn't being kept.

Forney said he was asked along April 29 in case there were questions that need to be answered or decisions that needed to be made, but that he was not asked to evaluate or score any of the horses. Parkinson's attorneys contended only a trained veterinarian could score the horses.

MacGlashan had testified earlier the scoring was done by two representatives from Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The original plan that day was to remove any horse scoring a 3 or below on the Henneke body scoring chart, he said.

Forney said he stuck around until about 1:30 or 2 p.m.

"Basically, I was getting sunburned and I had no hat," he said.

After Forney left, there was an emergency and MacGlashan called in a nearby veterinarian, Dr. Terry Corkran, to help. Once the emergency was resolved, Corkran continued to help, providing care and helping score horses, MacGlashan said.

It was Corkran's recommendation that no horse should be left on the farm, Richardson said. MacGlashan concurred and made the decision to remove all the horses.

Richardson also said that under the local Animal Control Ordinance, animals may be impounded without a veterinarian's prior recommendation.

Cuches objected, saying the county law conflicts with the state law, which requires prior veterinary recommendation.

The judge overruled his objection.

Richardson referred to a memo Forney submitted after the April 15 visit about conditions at the farm; it spoke of the horses' rough coats, their need for hoof and tooth care, problems with parasites, the need for a higher level of nutrition.

"Why wouldn't you recommend removal?" Richardson asked.

"No. 1, I wasn't asked; and No. 2, Mrs. Parkinson had been given time to turn things around," Forney replied.

Richardson asked if the horses weren't being fed would he still recommend them leaving them the full 30 days. Forney said no.

Parkinson's attorneys said she had been the victim of a scam which resulted in the purchase of the poor quality of hay she was feeding the horses and she had bought 15 tons of better-quality hay.

Forney said he saw a tractor-trailer load of mixed alfalfa hay being delivered and that Parkinson had made efforts at delousing and de-worming the horses.

Why act sooner than the 30 days, Richardson asked MacGlashan.

MacGlashan said he believed if he waited 30 days there would be more horses that couldn't be rehabilitated.

He described the pastures as filled with feces, the stalls filled with feces and old straw.

"The farm is completely run down," he said. "It's not a safe environment for these animals."

When he dismissed the petition, Everngam noted that Forney had been involved with the investigation from the beginning and while he may not have actually recommended removal of the horses, he didn't contest it or that they could do better elsewhere, and that Corkran had recommended removal while on site April 29.
Source: - May 28, 2011
Update posted on May 28, 2011 - 3:14PM 


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