Washington County Couple To Be Tried on 15 Counts of Cruelty

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 7.59.10 AMOn October 28, Christine and Robert Baugher will be tried in Washington County on 15 counts, each, of animal cruelty, including three felony counts each.

The charges were filed after the Boonsboro couple voluntarily surrendered three horses to the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC), which investigates animal-related complaints for the county. In this case, Field Officer (F.O.) Samantha Elliott was investigating a complaint regarding neglected pigeons when she stumbled across the three neglected horses. Known in official documents as Prime Star (Arabian-cross stallion), Autumn (a feral pony mare) and Sonny (a pony stallion), the three horses were found apparently confined to the same stalls since about 2003. The stalls, according to Mrs. Baugher, had not been cleaned out since the tractor broke down 15 years ago and was never repaired. F. O. Elliott described the muck as ranging from three feet high in some places to as high as seven and eight feet in other places. The three confined horses were unable to walk in their stalls, not only because of the lack of headroom due to the height of the manure coating the floor, but because their hooves were overgrown by as much as two feet. It is believed, by Mrs. Baugher’s description, that the horses had not been trimmed since 2003 or 2004. They were last seen by a vet sometime around 2000.

When pressed for an explanation, Mrs. Baugher explained that
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No Booby Traps Found on Equestrian Trails

Rumors of booby traps being laid on trails in Frederick and Montgomery Counties have trail riders on edge.

Trail riders have been sharing a link to the website for Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), which posted on its blog that it had “unconfirmed reports that suggest someone has booby-trapped logs at Schaffer Farms and possibly the Seneca Ridge Trail with barbed wire.”

The Equiery followed up with Captain Dave Powell, who is the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Manager for the Patuxent Parks. According to Captain Powell,
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“Absurd”…to require farmers…”to maintain records of random defecation by livestock”

Chesapeake Bay Foundation loses attempt in Virginia to ban livestock from stream

Court determines that pasture droppings do not qualify as “Applied Nutrients”

By Ashley Newhall; Reprinted from the Maryland Risk Management Education Blog

A Richmond Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Foundation) and other environmental groups against the Commonwealth of Virginia  (Commonwealth) after the Virginia State Water Control Board amended the Virginia Pollution Abatement General Permit for Animal Feeding Operations on March 28, 2014.

The Foundation argued that the amendment failed to align with Commonwealth’s duties under the Constitution of Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Daily Load, and the Virginia Watershed Implementation Plan by failing to impose mandatory livestock exclusion.  Basically, the Foundation wanted the amendment to keep livestock out of streams.

One of the main topics the court addressed was the definition of the term “applied” as it appears in the amendment.  The amendment reads:

E. The criteria for the design and operation of a confined animal feeding operation shall be as follows:
3. Adequate buffer zones, where waste shall not be applied, shall be maintained between areas where waste may be applied and (i) water supply wells or springs, (ii) surface water courses, (iii) rock outcroppings, (iv) sinkholes, and (v) occupied dwellings unless a waiver is signed by the occupants of the dwellings;

The Foundation argued that livestock dropping waste in waterways have “applied” the waste.  The court found that “applied” as it appears in the amendment was ambiguous but that it “means the intentional application of manure into fields or other usage areas.”  The court reasoned that “the legislative history of the statute, as well as the potentially absurd result of requiring operators to maintain records of random defecation by livestock” supported its finding.  In short, the court found that “applied,” although ambiguous, surely referred to farmers spreading manure and not livestock relieving themselves.

The Equiery applauds the Richmond Court for its sensible ruling!

Livestock manure and energy: what do you think?

Each year, the Maryland Farm Bureau Government Relations staff review the legislative session and determine if there are issues that need to be addressed by our organization. Up for discussion this year is the issue of livestock manure and Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard.

Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 20 percent of Maryland’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources by 2022, including 2 percent from solar energy. In 2010, SB 277 increased the percentage requirements of the RPS that must be purchased from Tier 1 solar energy sources each year between 2011 and 2017. This will result in more residential and commercial solar installations in those years.
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Another stab at a Maryland Horse Park?

UPDATE: The Cecil Whig weighs in.

Study Identifies Potential Enhancements to Maryland Equestrian Sites, Activities 

Modernizing aging facilities can increase the economic impact of horse-related events for the State

Today, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) has released a study commissioned by MDA and the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) that calls for
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A looming hay crises for Maryland?

Hay 2015: A Dismal Picture

By Lester R. Vough, Forage Crops Extension Specialist Emeritus, University of Maryland

This has been the toughest year for hay making that I have seen in a long time. May was hot and dry–and those hay growers that made a timely first cutting of alfalfa and orchard grass have some really nice hay.  However, the cool, wet spring delayed growth so the May cuttings tended to be below normal yields.

During June and early July there simply wasn’t suitable weather to make hay so any first cutting hay that did get put up during that time period was overmature, rained on, or both.  The first cutting hay made in mid-July or later is so overmature that even without rain during harvest it has low feed value.  For those hay growers who did get a first cutting put up in May, the wet weather in June and early July resulted in the second cutting being overmature with a lot of dead (brown) leaves reducing quality and appearance.

In some areas the weather has gone from one extreme to the other.  Where I live,
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Maryland’s Big Hitch: August 28 – September 7

In November of 2004, Neil Dimmocks set a Guinness World Record when he successfully hitched up and drove 46 Percherons.

That was topped in 2007 with a 48 hitch of Belgians!

Meanwhile, back here in the states, Ross Peddicord, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, has pulled off a similar feat – one certainly for the record books: within just a few months, he has harnessed the entire Maryland horse industry to pull of the first “My Maryland Horse Festival” that the Maryland State Fair, from August 28 through September 7.

The 400,000 visitors to the Maryland state fair will be able to see, touch and ride a variety of horses and horse-related activities.

The State Fair already offered 7 days of Thoroughbred racing and daily horse and breed shows, rodeos and horse pulling contests.

_JHA6594But this year, the Board for the Maryland decided that it was time for the Fair to showcase the entire Maryland horse world – and its 35 sporting disciplines, to make it a central feature of this year’s far.

Board member Don Litz, a longtime Maryland horseman and Thoroughbred breeder, took the reins, and with the help of new Fair general manager Andy Cashman, new assistant general manager, Becky Brashear, they reached out to the state’s major horse organizations and conceived the first “My Maryland Horse Festival.”

The Horse Festival will include the established racing and show ring activities, as well as two new components “Horse Land” and the Racetrack Infield “Horse Fest.” (Click here for a map of the grounds for all the equine-related activities.)

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Up on Capitol Hill: Legislation for trail funding & to curb soring

 Congress on Vacation

Although it is officially on the U.S. Congressional Calendar as “District Work Week” (House) or “State Work Period” (Senate), everyone around the Washington, D.C. Beltway knows that it means Congress is on summer vacation. Washington gets really, really quiet this time of the year…

So what DID our fearless federal leaders accomplish before they left for vacation? The talking head pundits will always say, “very little.” But we in the equestrian community want to specifically know if they did anything that is going to affect our horse world. Well, according to the American Horse Council, they did do a few things – one regarding trail funding and the other regarding the intentional soring of horses. Read on!
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The King is in The Hall!

WEB_leatherbury_king_080715_101ALeatherbury inducted into National Racing Hall of Fame

The powers-that-be at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame have finally recognized what Marylanders have known for a long time: King T. Leatherbury is nothing short of a true Hall of Famer.

On August 7, the 82-year-old flat track trainer, with his to-date 6,000 victories, took the podium at
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First 2015 West Niles confirmation in Maryland

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced today, August 10, the first detection of a West Nile virus (WNV) mosquito pool in Maryland in 2015.  On August 5, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) confirmed the presence of WNV in mosquitoes collected by MDA personnel in the City of Bowie (Prince George’s County). 
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