On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the long-awaited trial of Barbara Pilchard of Wicomico County began in Salisbury. In March of 2018, a news helicopter from WBOC Channel 16 flew over Pilchard’s property in Hebron and discovered dozens of dead horses, carcasses in various states of decomposition, as well as approximately 100 more emaciated ones living in deplorable conditions. The surviving horses were removed and placed in various rescues. Some of the surviving horses were euthanized due to poor prognosis for recovery.
Pilchard, who is facing over 60 animal cruelty charges, including 15 felonies, waived her right to a jury trial, choosing a bench trial in which a judge will rule. The first witnesses on the stand were the deputies who described what they observed when they arrived at the Pilchard property on March 16, 2018. Later, veterinarians who evaluated the surviving horses, the living conditions and the carcasses testified for the prosecution.
On Wednesday, Pilchard took the stand in her own defense, claiming the horses had hay in the pastures 365 days a year. According to the Salisbury Daily Times, she said that “Nobody could have done a better job than what I did,” about her care of her horses. She also indicated that the horses were fine until officials terrorized them by coming on the property on a four-wheeler that March of 2018.
Closing arguments and a verdict have been postponed.
For more information on the trial, read below: