Judge finds horse farm owner guilty of neglecting 13 horses


WICOMICO COUNTY, Md.  A judge found horse farm owner Barbara Pilchard guilty of neglecting and causing an unnecessary amount of suffering to 13 of her horses back in March of 2018.

“These horses couldn’t speak, they couldn’t call 911, couldn’t call the police so we had to tell the story for them,” says Wicomico County Deputy State’s Attorney Bill McDermott.

Barbara Pilchard is guilty of neglecting 13 of her over 100 horses for not providing enough food, water or proper veterinary care to these horses.

“I think this message today sends a clear and unmistakable message to the community which is we value our livestock, we value our horses and we take that seriously,” says McDermott.

During the trial, several veterinarians that examined the horses took the stand testifying to the horrible condition many of these horses were in. Saying that every one was emaciated, dehydrated and riddled with parasites.

But despite the state’s best efforts to suggest this was torture, the judge didn’t think there was enough evidence.

“Ultimately Ms. Pilchard has been held accountable for her actions and whether you put the term felony or misdemeanor before it, it almost doesn’t matter because what the law requires is that people take care of their animals and when they fail to do so the state’s attorney for Wicomico County is going to hold you accountable.”

It’s a verdict that Christine Whaley, who rescued ten of Pilchard’s horses is happy with, one that is at least holding her responsible for neglecting her horses.

A case that she hopes will help shed some light on how horses should be treated like any other pet.

“Horses aren’t livestock. Horses have hearts they breathe, they eat, they do everything that cats and dogs would and horses do a lot of comforting with people so I’m hoping this does a lot for the horses end,” says Whaley.

With this verdict, Pilchard could face up to nine years behind bars, but we won’t know what sentence she actually gets until a pre-sentencing investigation is complete.

In the meantime, Pilchard is not allowed to have any animals or pets under her care and if she does have any she has to surrender them to animal control.


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