Graphic Content Advisory: This article contains images that may be upsetting.
No one was prepared for the horrific scene on a farm in Quantico, Maryland. Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis and Wicomico County Humane Society arrived on the farm, owned by Barbara Pilchard, on Friday after a report had been made regarding the state of her horses.
Lewis was not expecting or prepared for what he saw. Upon arriving at the 2-acre farm, he noticed many deceased horses, their bodies decomposing in the yard. One of the most shocking was the body of a foal lying just steps from the door. According to The Daily Times, when Pilchard was asked about the young horse she told Lewis that “she tried to nurture it to survive; it only lived 4.5 hours before it died.” Pilchard then drug the body near her front steps and left it to decay.
There were 25 total dead, with another 100 horses roaming in the same area. The surviving horses were so thin and hungry that they had resorted to eating aluminum siding off the building, according to the sheriff. Lewis tells The Daily Times, “Those horses were so hungry, they had broken the glass sliding doors on the back of the house, trying to get in and find something to eat.”
On Saturday, the authorities returned to the farm to remove the dead bodies and transport the mares and foals to a safe undisclosed location. When they arrived Saturday morning, they noticed a mare had gone down to give birth. Wicomico County Humane Society Executive Bob Culver discovered the mare, who had given birth to a stillborn foal. Culver tells the DailyMail, “The mother, she threw her head up and just wailed. I looked at her, and I could see the hurt in her eyes. She kept nudging the foal, trying to help it get up. But it was dead. It was so sad, and there was nothing we could do.”
It was Nicole Constante, a local resident, who first discovered the dead body of a young horse on her walk by the farm Thursday evening. She immediately contacted the media, because she said reports about Pilchard’s farm had been ignored by police in the past. Thanks to her call, the rest of the horses have been rescued.
Sadly, this is not the first time that officials have been to the Pilchard farm. According to Lewis, “We’ve been called here numerous times to the property.” The reasons varied from horses escaping their pasture and grazing on neighbors’ gardens to complaints of over 200 neglected cats. Pilchard was charged with 100 counts of animal neglect in 1995, when over 200 cats were removed from the same farm. She was never prosecuted, and charges were made inactive by the court.
Lewis states that experts had been out to inspect the horses before and had deemed them healthy and properly cared for. He goes on to say, “We had insufficient evidence to charge the property owner with animal neglect. The condition of both the horses and the property looked unacceptable to us, but we had insufficient evidence.”
The investigation is still ongoing. All horses will be seized from the property and brought to an undisclosed location. Officials are going to try and keep them together. A generous donation of grain and hay were provided by local companies to help with the rehabilitation of the horses. Anyone with any information regarding this horrific case is asked to call the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office at 410-548-4891.
Local News WBOC covered the story in the video below. CAUTION: Graphic images of dead horses.
Please be the voice for animals. If you see an animal that is being abused or neglected, contact the Sheriff’s department. Do not stop calling until the animal is safe. They need you to speak up for them!
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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