As usual there is no one to speak up for the horses. —Editor
Cross-posted by the Baltimore Sun
By JESSICA ANDERSON
A Baltimore district judge acquitted six arabbers Friday of the most serious charges stemming from an inspection at a Hollins Market horse stable last year.
Judge Nicole Pastore-Klein made the ruling on abuse and neglect charges against the men, but five of them still face other charges after the state concluded its case Friday. The trial is expected to continue next month with defense witness testimony.
Deon Dorsey, 35, a stable hand, was acquitted of 41 offenses. Horse owners Donte Miller, Ernest Ford, Malik Muhammed, Leon Hardy and William Murray Jr., who is the stable’s owner, face charges relating to the condition of the stalls.
Dorsey’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jeffrey Gilleran, said Friday that the remaining charges against the other defendants are “onerous city codes that need to be changed. There are much less draconian ways this could have been addressed.”
He said the defendants “provide a vital service” to the community. “They bring fruits and vegetables in food deserts. The city should be working with them not prosecuting them.”
Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana S. Wen said previously that the city respects the arabbing tradition. “Our mission is to protect the health and safety of our animal residents, just like our human residents,” she said.
An inspection by animal control and health officials on Jan. 13, 2015, resulted in the city seizing 14 horses after finding a strong ammonia smell, feces and a lack of bedding in some of the stalls, according to testimony. The animals were taken to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine.
Pastore-Klein cited testimony from veterinarian Richard J. Forfa as crucial to her decision to drop the abuse and neglect charges.
Forfa has testified that he would not have seized the animals from the stable and did not see the horses in need of immediate veterinary care. He also said the horses were in overall good health, Pastore-Klein said, recalling the earlier testimony.
Baltimore Sun; Photographer Unknown.
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