With a brisk wind blowing under gray skies, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis stood in front of a farm on Cherry Walk Road trying to describe what he had just seen behind the house.
"The siding — aluminum siding — was eaten off the house, and fiberglass insulation had been pulled out," Lewis said, visibly shaken, on Saturday. "Those horses were so hungry, they had broken the glass sliding doors on the back of the house, trying to get in and find something to eat. There's mud and broken glass all around the back of the house."
More than two dozen dead horses in varying degrees of decay had been discovered at the farm and reported to the sheriff's office Friday morning, which is when an investigation at the 2.13-acre property began. The land is owned by Clayton P. and Barbara L. Pilchard, according to Maryland property records.
Marjie Cancil, who lives near the farm, drove past Saturday afternoon and stopped to see what was happening.
Cancil said she never really got to know Barbara Pilchard, even though they were neighbors for at least 25 years. Cancil said she had been unaware of any possible neglect of the horses.
"I knew they had been struggling financially for awhile," she said, "and I guess that's because her husband has been ill for some time now. I knew her horses sometimes got out and raised concerns, but I've never seen an emaciated horse, never saw any indication anything was wrong."