A man accused of turning off power to a chicken house and causing the death of some 33,700 birds has been ordered to spend 60 days in jail, authorities said.
Joshua Shelton, 21, was convicted Thursday of fourth-degree burglary in a circuit court but found not guilty of animal cruelty, The Daily Times of Salisbury reported. Shelton was ordered to serve three years of probation upon release.
Shelton was found smelling of alcohol and lying in the power control shed at a Delmar farm last August but told an investigator he didn't remember entering the shed, according to charging documents.
Loss of power deprived the chickens of food, water and cooling fans, though more than 21,000 chickens survived, the court heard.
Shelton apologized in court.