Hagerstown Man Convicted Of Multiple Counts Of Animal Cruelty

He was charged after mistreating several horses.

Hagerstown, Md (KM) A Hagerstown man was sentenced on Monday after being convicted of 37 counts of animal cruelty. Washington County District Court Judge Mark Thomas gave Joseph Bowers, Jr., a 90-day suspended sentence, placed him on three-years supervised probation and waived all fines.

Bowers was charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty after Humane Society of Washington County Field Service Officers seized two horses in January 22nd, 2016, according to the Society. Officials say Bowers failed to provide food, water and veterinary care to the horses, and caused  unnecessary pain and suffering.

On April 1st, the Society says it received a complaint  about the welfare of additional horses owned by Bowers. Field Service Officers, with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, served a search and seizure warrant April 3rd  at the location of the horses. They seized a total of five horses a two separate locations. Field Services Officer Crystal Mowery says it was the same situation as the site in January, where the horses were not provided with food, water, veterinary care and proper space. “We found horses standing up in over two feet of manure and urine, and urine scalds on their bodies,” she says. The Society says two of the horses were pregnant and due within weeks.

“Some of them came into our care, the Humane Society in Washington County, and some of them went to Days End Farm Rescue. But one horse passed away on its own,” says Mowery.

She says she’s been seeing a lot of animal cruelty in recent years. “Unfortunately, it is on the rise. It seems that each year, we get more and more horses in these conditions,” says Mowery, who says it’s “very discouraging to see.”

If you suspect animal cruelty in your community, Mowery encourages you to contact your local animal control agency. In Frederick County, the number for the local Animal Control agency is 301-600-1544. The emergency after hours number is 301-600-1603.

As part of his sentence, Bowers must forfeit the horses which were seized, and needs to downsize his herd to one horse per two acres of land.  Judge Thomas also ruled that the Humane Society of Washington County is permitted to inspect all properties owned or leased by Bowers, including the inside of the barns.

By Kevin McManus