Veterinarian fined $500 for mistreating 2 cows

July 25, 1993|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Staff Writer Staff writer Alan Craver contributed to this story.

A veterinarian convicted on two counts of animal cruelty received a sentence of two years' supervised probation and 350 hours of community service, and was fined $500 in Howard County District Court Friday.

Richard John Burroughs, 51, of Mount Airy, faced a maximum sentence of 90 days in prison and $1,000 in fines on each count of cruelty to his two cows. District Judge Louis Becker decided May 18 that the animals had been mistreated.

"I have to hold you to a higher standard than someone who's a farmer or a simple pet owner," Judge Becker said.

Daniel Green, an Eldersburg attorney for Burroughs, said his client will appeal to the District Court.

"We thought the sentence was excessive," Mr. Green said.

He said Burroughs lost his job as a veterinary medical officer with the Food and Drug Administration after the conviction, a decision Mr. Green said his client will also appeal.

Burroughs was charged in January 1992 after a county animal control officer observed the cows -- an 11-year-old Jersey heifer and an 8-year-old Hereford heifer -- at his farm.

The veterinarian was accused of failing to provide the cows with nutritious food, care, water, air, space, shelter and protection from the weather, according to court documents.

Also on Friday, Burroughs received probation before judgment by Circuit Judge James B. Dudley after pleading guilty to a trespassing charge stemming from an altercation at the county Police Department on May 27, 1992.

The sentence means that if Burroughs completes one year of unsupervised probation, the incident will be removed from his record.

Assistant State's Attorney Shirley Ripley said Burroughs became loud and argumentative when a county police officer asked him to sign a criminal court summons issued to the veterinarian for the cruelty case.

Officer Donald Cook asked Burroughs to leave the police station, but the defendant refused, Ms. Ripley said.

Burroughs could have been sentenced to six months in jail and fined $1,000 on the trespassing charge. A related disorderly conduct charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

"This has been a traumatic experience for the entire [Burroughs] family," said Stephen Bourexis, a Westminster attorney for Burroughs. "He would like to put the matter behind him."

Burroughs did not speak at the hearing.

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