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Hedgesville woman arraigned on animal cruelty charges

June 27, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Berkeley County Sheriff W. Randy Smith said Thursday officers are still searching property just west of Martinsburg where a woman is accused of cruelly treating a number of goats, horses and cattle.

Debra H. Snider, 55, of 75 Wolf Hollow Road, Hedgesville, W.Va., was arraigned on four misdemeanor counts and five felony counts of animal cruelty Wednesday afternoon by Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington.

Smith said the sheriff's department's animal control division found two dead horses and five dead goats at the end of Legado Drive, which is accessed by Waverly Court off Delmar Orchard Road, west of Interstate 81.

Four of the eight horses, 15 to 20 goats and two Texas Longhorn steers found alive at the property are being held in custody there, Smith said.

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The other four horses had to be taken off site for veterinary treatment, Smith said.

According to a complaint filed against Snider, the defendant told authorities that the goats, all less than 1 year old, died after she dehorned them. She did not tell officials why she dehorned them.

Photographs that depicted the living animals' open wounds and overall poor health and living conditions were shown to the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday. Photos of goat carcasses, and troughs filled with murky and green water also were shown.

According to the criminal complaint, Snider told police the goats died after she dehorned them.

When the defendant was asked about trimming the horses' hooves, police said Snider responded it wasn't necessary. Trimming cuts down growth and helps correct hoof problems, according to the Web site about.com.

"Mrs. Snider (said) that a farrier would not be out and that their hooves would be fine because the pasture was rock and if they did need to be trimmed she would take care of it herself," Sheriff's Department Deputy J.H. Jenkins said in a complaint against the defendant.

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