Veterinarian loses appeal for return of his cows Bovines remain with foster farmer

A Mount Airy veterinarian's two cows remain in protective custody after his administrative appeal was thrown out by the Howard County Board of Appeals before it heard the case.

Dr. Richard John Burroughs, who had hoped to be reunited with Harriet Hereford and Lady Jers, was to have made his case to the board last night, but the board ruled against him Oct. 12, saying he had failed to provide a transcript of his Animal Matters Board hearing and a memorandum detailing a legal basis for the appeal.


"They're trying to use this half-baked technicality that they don't have any grounds for," said Dr. Burroughs upon hearing of the decision.

"It's typical of the way the county has done things: rather than face the issue, to weasel around," he said.


Brenda S. Purvis, county animal control administrator, said she was "very pleased" that her agency would retain custody.

"As far as I know, they're doing very well" under the care of a foster farmer in Montgomery County. "I know they're very happy and well-fed."

Although Dr. Burroughs lost another round in his fight over the two animals' treatment, he vowed to continue to challenge animal control authorities' actions, both in taking the animals and charging him with mistreating them.

Dr. Burroughs was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty in Howard County District Court in May and sentenced to probation, community service and fined $500.

Charging among other things that his cows were not properly examined by veterinarians who testified against him, Dr. Burroughs has appealed the conviction in Howard Circuit Court.

His new trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 30.

Lady Jers is a Jersey cow that Dr. Burroughs gave his wife as an anniversary present in 1983, and Harriet Hereford is one of Lady Jers' cross-bred offspring.

The dispute over their custody began in January 1992 when a county animal control officer observed the cows, then 11 and 8 years old, at Dr. Burroughs' farm.


The warden accused Dr. Burroughs of failing to provide the animals with nutritious food, care, water, air, space, shelter and protection from the weather.