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Man gets 30 days in animal cruelty case

June 11, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man on Wednesday was handed a 30-day sentence, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and is not allowed to own any dogs or cats for two years after four emaciated dogs were found on his property in August 2008, according to Washington County District Court records.

Sonny Guy Norman Bowers, 44, of 1273 Fairchild Ave., also was ordered by Judge Ralph H. France II to pay $1,692 restitution to the Humane Society of Washington County, according to court records.

Bowers was authorized to have home detention for his 30-day sentence, Assistant State's Attorney Leon Debes said.

Bowers pleaded guilty to four animal cruelty charges, and eight other animal cruelty charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, Debes said.

Bowers was sentenced to a maximum of 360 days incarceration for the four animal cruelty charges to which he pleaded guilty, Debes said.

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But all but 30 days of the sentence were suspended, Debes said. Bowers also was placed on two years probation and ordered to pay $57.50 in fines and costs, according to court records.

Humane Society of Washington County officials were called last August for a report of dogs barking on property at 11035 Hickory School Road, where the dogs were kept.

Humane Society officials found multiple outbuildings and junk vehicles on the property. A dog started barking at the officials from inside one of the sheds, a Humane Society investigator wrote in charging documents.

Tenants living in a house on the property said three or four dogs lived there, and the owner came to bring them food about every two weeks.

Inside one of the sheds on the property, a yellow lab mix was secured to the ceiling of the shed by a large chain, investigators alleged. There were two metals bowls inside the shed, but both were empty. The floor was covered with feces and hair, and the dog looked thin, according to court documents.

Another dog, which appeared to be a shepherd, was chained with a heavy chain inside a kennel and it appeared thin, investigators wrote.

Authorities said they removed two Rottweiler mixes from a shed on the property and the dogs appeared to be underweight. The shed was filthy, with feces and thick cobwebs throughout the building, and there was no food or water in the shed, investigators said.

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