Prince George's County's chief health officer was charged yesterday with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and neglect, after his two miniature horses and six dogs were found last month in "severe" states of neglect at his rural Harwood property, Anne Arundel authorities said.
Frederick J. Corder turned himself in to Anne Arundel County police yesterday and was held in lieu of $100,000 bail. He was expected to post a property bond last night.
Corder has been placed on administrative leave, said James P. Keary, a spokesman for Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D).
The charges include two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty in the treatment of the horses, which were found with hooves grown to 14 inches, curling upward and causing them severe pain, according to Tahira Shane Thomas, Anne Arundel's animal control administrator.
Veterinarians say hooves of miniature horses, typically about three inches long, grow about three inches a year unless trimmed. One of the horses was later euthanized after being impounded by authorities.
The two felony counts, which require proof that the defendant intended to harm or torture the animals, carry a maximum of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Corder also was charged with six misdemeanor counts of neglect for the two horses and a Shar-Pei dog found with a severe skin condition and for failing to provide care, the charging documents say. All six Shar-Peis were found in stalls layered in excrement, Thomas said.
The misdemeanor counts are punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Corder, a pediatrician who has headed the Prince George's Health Department since December 2003, appeared briefly before a District Court commissioner yesterday. He declined to comment as he was escorted away by a police officer.
Corder has disputed the allegations. He said he hired someone to care for the horses' hooves and believed they were being treated.