Joshua Shelton charged for death of Wicomico farm chickens

A man found with a "strong odor of alcohol" has been charged with the death of nearly 70,000 chickens Saturday when authorities say he cut the power to three large chicken houses on the Eastern Shore.

Joshua Shelton, a Delmar, Md., was charged for the death of thousands of chickens by the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office, officials said.

Sheriff’s officials received a report Saturday morning about a poultry farm owner who said the electric power had been turned off to his three chicken houses on his property at night, which deprived the chickens of food, water and cooling fans.

As a result, almost the entire flock was found dead.

Shelton was later found passed out on the floor of the power control shed with a strong odor of alcohol, police report.

Shelton told authorities that the last thing he remembered was being on the property after a nearby concert but did not know how he ended up in the shed. A deputy concluded that Shelton had turned off the controls to the electricity to the chicken houses while intoxicated.

It is believed that the chickens in the three houses numbered close to 70,000 and their value was around $20,000.