On Monday, June 6, John Nelson Price (of Westover, Maryland) was found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty (felony), misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment for shooting and killing his miniature horse on May 4, 2015 (see equiery.com “Strawberry-munching Mini Shot & Killed by Owner”).
According to Delmarvanow, Somerset County District Court Judge R. Patrick Hayman didn’t buy the defense’s argument that shooting one’s own horse on one’s own property is legal under the ag laws (humane euthanasia of livestock by bullet or retractable bolt is a legal and useful tool for all livestock owners who do not want livestock to suffer). The judge also rejected the defendant’s reasoning for killing the mini (according to Delmarvanow, Price shot the mini so as to prevent a potential traffic hazard). The judge has sentenced Price to one month of active jail time, followed by three years of unsupervised probation. The judge did not assign any significant fees, nor did he expressly prohibit him from owning other animals.
The one month of jail time might offer a bit of respite for neighbor and witness Bill Kennedy, who has brought multiple complaints against Price. In addition to being charged with animal cruelty and reckless endangerment charges for the mini, Price faces charges filed in June for second degree assault, trespassing and failure to comply with a peace order. Similar charges were brought against Price in April, also by the same neighbor; those court documents were closed. The trial for the current charges is scheduled for August 8.
Meanwhile, attorneys for Price have filed an appeal on the guilty charges for the mini. No date for the appeal has been posted as of press.