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Five felony counts of animal cruelty dismissed against Hedgesville woman

July 02, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Five felony counts of animal cruelty were dismissed Tuesday against a woman who is accused of inhumanely treating a number of goats, horses and cattle on property near Martinsburg.

Debra H. Snider of 75 Wolf Hollow Road in Hedgesville, W.Va., still faces prosecution on four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, which also were filed against her last week, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders said.

Saunders said after the hearing Tuesday that the felony counts still could be refiled, pending additional investigation.

Both the felony and misdemeanor charges were outlined in warrants issued June 25 by Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington.

The warrants link the felony counts to the dead goats found at the property by county officials at the end of Legado Drive west of Interstate 81, according to court records.

Berkeley County Sheriff W. Randy Smith said last week that officials also found two dead horses at the Legado Drive property. Another eight horses, along with 15 to 20 goats and two Texas Longhorn steers, were found alive.

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According to a criminal complaint filed by Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy J.H. Jenkins, Snider told police the goats died after she dehorned them.

Photographs taken of the living animals depicted open wounds and overall poor health and living conditions. Photographs of goat carcasses and troughs filled with murky and green water also were released by the sheriff last week.

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