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No charges filed yet in horse farm case

December 08, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County State's Attorney is awaiting the results of veterinary exams to determine how to proceed in the investigation of possible neglect at a Sharpsburg horse farm.

On Thursday, the Humane Society of Washington County said it still was accepting donations of goods for the care of horses found during the execution of a search warrant at Windrinker Farm on Mills Road.

"We're in it for the long haul, if we need to be," said Katherine Cooker, the society's manager of development and community relations.

No charges had been filed by Thursday afternoon in the case, which involves more than 70 horses.

The humane society said in a press release Wednesday that workers found 74 live horses, five skeletal remains, three carcasses buried in a field, one dead foal and one dead yearling when they went to the farm. One horse died while being transported for care, the release states.

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The animals were impounded by the humane society, and their caretaker must file a petition within 10 days to have a chance to regain ownership, Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said.

"This office has been in daily contact with the executive director of the humane society, and that contact preceded the service of the warrant," Michael said.

Michael said his office is awaiting veterinary assessments of the horses found at the farm.

Michael said he was not sure when the window would close for the horses' caretaker to regain ownership of them. The humane society was at the farm from Saturday through Tuesday carrying out the warrant.

State tax records show the property is owned by Barb Reinken. It covers a little more than 32 acres.

While Windrinker Farm was being searched, Michael said the humane society treated it as a crime scene. During the execution of a warrant, law enforcement officers determine who is allowed on the property they are searching, he said.

Reinken did not return messages left Wednesday or Thursday for her at the Frederick County, Md., residence where she stayed while the search warrant was being carried out. Efforts Wednesday to reach her in Sharpsburg by phone failed.

A recording Thursday stated that the phone number listed for her at her Sharpsburg home had been changed to an unlisted number.

Cooker said she had no information about the condition of the impounded horses Thursday. Wednesday's press release stated that 22 horses remained at the farm, where the humane society would continue caring for them.

About 25 horses went to Days End Farm Horse Rescue, said Kathleen Schwartz, president of the Lisbon, Md., rehabilitation and adoption facility.

The rest of the horses were in veterinary care, Cooker said Wednesday.

People wishing to donate goods for the horse's care may call the humane society at 301-733-2060. To donate money, send contributions to the Humane Society of Washington County, Attn.: The Sharpsburg Horse Medical and Rehabilitation Fund, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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