In the spring of 2009, Baltimore County animal control was alerted to a situation of a living horse who had been under a tarp for five days (according to reports). Upon investigation, a gray mare named Calypso, at 400–500 pounds, was found to be too deteriorated to be rehabilitated and was euthanized. While there, officials also found two underweight Arabians, so they returned with a warrant from the state and impounded the horses, and the owners, Hilton (an attorney) and Donna Silvers, were prosecuted for cruelty and neglect for all three horses.
Sometime in the course of the negotiations, the neglect charges for the two still living horses were dropped, and, in the summer of 2010 (as we reported then) the Silvers were found guilty of neglecting Calypso and were sentenced to 84 days in jail (with an ample amount of that time suspended). In the process, the court also ordered that the couple pay $16,781 for the care of the two impounded horses.
Well, here is where the technicality apparently comes in, at least according to the Maryland Court of Appeals. On Monday, June 20, 2011, the high court ruled that the state could not order the couple to pay restitution for the care of two neglected horses when the state did not charge the couple with neglect of said horses. Remember, those charges were dropped, and the state pursued only one criminal neglect charge for the horse that had to be euthanized.
The court did, however, affirm the guilty of cruel neglect conviction against the Silvers.
For those legal geeks who may find this interesting, the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center Inc. is protesting the decision of the courts; for more details, check out Steve Lash’s article in The Daily Record.
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