Veterinarian fined $500 for cruelty

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 with up to $1,000 in fines on each count of cruelty to his two cows that, District Judge Louis Becker decided May 18, were 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 added that 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 from Circuit Judge James Dudley after pleading guilty to a trespassing charge over an altercation at the Howard County Police Department on May 27, 1992.

If Burroughs completes one year of unsupervised probation, the conviction will be removed from his record.

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

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

Burroughs could have been sentenced to a maximum six months in jail and fined up to $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, an attorney for Burroughs.

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