(WBAL TV, 8/28/2012)
DELMAR, Md. — The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office said a 21-year-old man has been charged in connection with the deaths of nearly 70,000 chickens.
Authorities said Joshua Shelton has been charged with burglary, malicious destruction of property and trespassing.
The Sheriff’s Office said the owner of a farm on East Line Road in Delmar told a deputy early Saturday that the power had been turned off in three poultry houses, which deprived the chickens of food, water and cooling fans. As a result, almost the entire flock had died.
Shelton was found lying in the power control shed. Authorities said he was wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts and smelled of alcohol.
The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy determined that Shelton had turned off the circuit breakers that controlled electricity to the poultry houses.
Shelton told police the last thing he remembered was being on the property after a nearby concert. He said he didn’t know how he ended up in the shed.
It’s believed that the chickens that died were worth about $20,000, officials said. The chickens were to be sent to a local processing plant the next day.
Shelton is currently being detained with bail set at $75,000.