Nichole Reinke of Sykesville was charged with 64 counts of animal cruelty on October 12 in connection with the mistreatment of 19 horses at Misty Manor Riding Riding Stable, according to Carroll County Circuit Court documents. Charging documents allege that 11 of the 19 horses were intentionally tortured. Torture charges are felonies in the state of Maryland and punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 for each charge.
Reinke was also charged with depriving nearly all the horses of necessary sustenance, failing to provide sufficient quantity of nutritious food, and failing to provide veterinary care. Each misdemeanor charge carries a maximum jail term of 90 days or a fine of up to $1000.
An arrest warrant was issued on October 12 and court records show that Reinke posted bail and was released. December 22 is the next court date for this case.
Misty Manor has operated as a hack stable, lesson facility, and sales barn for approximately 20 years. It was originally founded and run by the late Judith Reinke, Nicole Reinke’s mother. In 2016, the farm was transferred to Nichole Reinke and is currently operated by her and her wife, Gina Piellusch.
G. Michael Keiner, senior animal control officer for Carroll County Humane Society, told the Baltimore Sun that they had responded to numerous calls related to cruelty and neglect allegations over the last 19 years. In 2020, Animal Control visited Misty Manor several times and reported that there were anywhere from 75 to 128 horses on the 64 acre property. Judith Reinke was directed by Animal Control to reduce the horse numbers and provide proper shelter in November 2020. In December, 19 horses were seized by the county after Keiner and veternarians from Windsor Veterinarian Services inspected them on December 8 and December 9. At that time, Judith Reinke signed those 19 horses over to the county.
Mechanicsville Animal Cruelty Case Update (first published in the November 2021 Equiery)
On September 14, Jennifer Katherine Hurry of Mechanicsville was charged with one felony animal cruelty charge and 16 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. The initial hearing on the case was scheduled for October 8.
According to court documents, the St. Mary’s County Animal Control supervisor first contacted the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on January 5 with concerns about the neglect and maltreatment of several animals on a secluded property in Leonardtown. Hurry, who is 53, confirmed that the animals on the property belonged to her. A drone was used by the Sheriff’s Office to observe the area before a search warrant was obtained and executed on January 21.
After two veterinarians inspected the animals, 19 horses, three cows, two goats and several fowl were removed from the property. Two dead horses that were not buried properly were also discovered. Necropsy revealed that one of the horses died of starvation when bone marrow examination showed the horse had 2.8% body fat at the time of its death. Healthy horses typically have 81.7% body fat.
These cases are ongoing. We will print updates in future print issues as well as on equiery.com.