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Former Sharpsburg woman sentenced in horse hoarding case moves to N.C.

December 05, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A 62-year-old former Sharpsburg woman who kept malnourished, injured and worm-infested horses on her farm now lives in North Carolina, where she is supervised by that state's Department of Parole and Probation, Washington County Court records show.

Officials seized 75 horses, miniature horses and donkeys from Barbara Perry Reinken's farm in December 2006. Four horses were euthanized and one died in transit, according to court records.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael called Reinken's situation an "animal hoarding" case.

Reinken entered an Alford plea in April to one felony count of animal cruelty and was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. She received additional 90-day consecutive sentences for 10 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

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The prison sentence was suspended and Reinken was placed on five years of probation to be supervised by the Department of Social Services. As part of her probation, Reinken must refrain from the care of animals - excluding dogs and cats - and seek mental health treatment.

Under the April plea agreement, Reinken relinquished the animals to the Humane Society of Washington County.

Reinken was back in court in October to ask Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. to modify her sentence, putting her on unsupervised probation so she could move to North Carolina. North Carolina authorities originally denied a petition asking them to take over Reinken's supervision, citing an instance in which Reinken told a North Carolina probation agent that she was not on supervised probation, her defense attorney Edward Button said in October.

Reinken wanted to move to North Carolina, where she has a home, because she was unable to find employment in the Hagerstown area, Button told Long in October.

"No one will hire her," he said.

Reinken's case incurred far more publicity than most criminal cases in Washington County, and Reinken was recognized in public and ridiculed, he said.

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