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Carroll County Woman Accused Of Neglecting Dozens Of Horses, Faces More Than 64 Counts Of Animal Cruelty Charges

MARRIOTTSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) -- A Carroll County woman faces more than 64 counts of animal cruelty charges. Nichole Reinke is accused of neglecting dozens of horses.

County officials believe she "intentionally neglected and abused the equines as described above."

What has been described in the statement of probable cause, paints a picture of an ongoing problem at Misty Manor Farm in Marriottsville. According to the court documents, some animals were in such bad shape, they had to be euthanized.

Court records say some horses had low Body Condition Scores which is often an indication of poor nutrition "that leads to starvation."

Some problems included sores in the mouth of a female horse, another animal had "...a potentially pre-cancerous growth on her right eyelid". The records indicated several animals presented with "rain rot," which is a severe skin infection.

"I was probably 15 or 16 when I really started reporting them," said Donnalyn Stipe who said she started riding at the facility from a young age. Stipe said she started reporting the farm to animal control years ago.

" I noticed there was a lack of veterinary care and lack of proper feed, hay, they didn't have any grass to graze on, the weeds were waist high," said Stipe.

Former workers shared some images with WJZ. They depicted horses with cuts, serious skin problems and animals with rib cages showing.

Katrina Tischer-Brown worked on the farm years ago, she took in one of the horses that were blind.

"As you can see he was not old, which was an excuse that was given for why he was so skinny," says Tischer-Brown. "They said he was old. As you can see, he's now older and he's in my pasture and he's fat and he's happy."

According to court records, Reinke was the beneficiary of a trust. She reportedly took over the farm when her mother died.

WJZ called the farm in an attempt to get a comment from Reinke but received no answer. WJZ also contacted her attorney's office and a member in the office said there will be no comment on the case which is ongoing.

Reinke was charged in early October after an extended investigation that appeared to have begun in 2020. Reinke is expected to have a status hearing in Carroll County Circuit court on Dec. 22.

"I think deep down they did have good intentions to begin with," said Stipe. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody at all. I do this for the animals, this is the only reason I do it because I can't stand by and let horses drop dead."

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