HEBRON, Md. - The 150 acre property in Hebron, where authorities found over 25 dead horses on Friday, is no stranger to law enforcement..
It's rather quite the opposite, since the owners Barbara and Paige Pilchard have been on the radar of investigators for years.
"While this would be my first visit to the home, Wicomico County Sheriff deputies have responded to this home at least 81 times in the past five years," says Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis.
In April of 2015, the Sheriff's Office and or Animal Control responded to the Cherry Walk Road residence ten times. In May 2016, eight times. Authorities even visiting the farm this year in January a total of eight times.
So why now are we just learning about the extent of the alleged neglect?
Sheriff Lewis saying, "We can only go to the front door to address the homeowner. We have no authority to walk around the back of the house."
Despite the fact that they may not have known how serious it was, they knew something wasn't right. That's why deputies found creative ways to try and correct the problems that were clearly visible.
"On 4 separate occasions, frustrated with the homeowners apparent inability to keep these animals corralled, criminal citations or summons were issued for illegal dumping."
An Investigation back in 2015 conducted with the help of Maryland's Department of Agriculture, found that six horses were in desperate need of food and veterinary care.
And it was then that the MDA gave several recommendations, ones that were monitored by animal control and the sheriff's office.
"This includes working closely with farmers and planters. Sue White and her staff here in Salisbury to ensure she was purchasing horse feed and that sufficient hay was being stored on this farm," explains Lewis.
So how did it get to the extent of neglect we all witnessed on Friday? That's a question investigators are now trying to figure out.
The Wicomico County State's Attorney, Jamie Dykes, tells us it could take weeks before a comprehensive report is complete, but criminal investigators are now on this case. In regards to those horses that remain on the property, there are only 32 left. The others have already been taken to farms in surrounding states.
If you are are looking to help out whether with resources or monetary donations, the sheriff's office has asked for all donations to go through the Wicomico County Animal Control with a special note saying 'Bless our horses'.
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