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Md. Man Gets 20 Days In Jail For Livestock Abuse

OAKLAND, Md. (AP) -- An Oakland man is spending the next 10 weekends in jail for animal cruelty after authorities removed 26 starving horses from his rural property in western Maryland.

Richard R. Friend, 54, and his wife Carol, 43, each pleaded guilty Tuesday in Garrett County District Court to seven misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. He got 20 days in jail, with 70 more suspended.

Each was given a suspended, $7,000 fine and they were ordered to jointly make restitution of nearly $150,000 to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon, which received the seized horses.

Carol Friend must perform 80 hours of community service at the county animal shelter, and each is barred from owning horses during three years of supervised probation.

They were charged with 26 counts of animal cruelty after the horses, along with 18 cows and six goats, were removed from their property near Gorman in May. One horse had to be euthanized.

Investigators said they also found the remains of at least 17 animals, including 10 horses, on the Friends' farm.

Defense attorney Robin Ficker said Wednesday his clients are remorseful. He said they like animals and even took in others' horses, but that caring for them became too much amid circumstances including last year's harsh winter.

"I think that due to some family problems they were having with sick relatives and the extreme weather conditions, that they unfortunately neglected some responsibilities that they hadn't before," Ficker said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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