Man Charged with Slitting Throats of Goats in State Park

A Caroline County, Maryland, man has been arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the mutilation and death of two goats and the maiming of a third at a state park, according to the Maryland Natural Resources police.

Mervyn Jay Downes III, 21, of Ridgely, Maryland turned himself in late Friday night after officers searched his home and found evidence linking him to the two crimes earlier this spring. On April 8, officers were called to the Adkins Arboretum in Tuckahoe State Park after two goats were found dead with their throats slit. On May 2, officers returned to the arboretum after another goat had been attacked but survived the stabbing.

Evidence led investigators to Downes, who lives on a road near the park.

In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Downes also was charged with three counts of malicious destruction of property, two counts of destroying an animal in a state park, two counts of having a weapon in a state park, two counts each of trespassing and being in a state park after hours. Officers also seized several weapons from his home.

Downes was charged last December with multiple counts of illegal deer hunting and pleaded guilty in Queen Anne’s District Court to one charge. The maximum sentence for aggravated cruelty to animals is three years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

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