Prosecutors drop criminal charge against Maryland farmer brought by Norge animal sanctuary

Staff writer

Almost two months after James City County and Maryland police searched a Norge animal sanctuary to recover an allegedly stolen cow, James City County’s top prosecutor has dropped a charge brought by the animal sanctuary against the owner of the farm the cow was allegedly stolen from.

Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth's Attorney Nate Green declined to extradite and prosecute Maryland farmer Scott Braglio, according to James City County Police Department spokeswoman Stephanie Williams.

Green has since moved to quash the case, Williams said.

Braglio was charged with one misdemeanor count of using profane or threatening language over the public airways in a citizen complaint brought by Ryan Phillips, according to James City County Police Department Deputy Chief Steve Rubino.

“We have been cleared from any wrongdoing from every [agency],” Braglio said. “We’ve been totally vindicated. I’m tired of having our name smeared all over the place.”

Phillips operates Life with Pigs animal sanctuary in Norge. In the almost two months since Phillips’ sanctuary was searched and the calf taken, Braglio’s businesses have faced a pressure campaign by animal rights activists and Phillips.

“I’m tired of it,” Braglio said. “(Phillips) is still attacking our businesses.”

In one protest, an activist dumped fake blood on himself in front of one of Braglio’s businesses, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Maryland investigators found no evidence of abuse at Braglio’s farms. Two women were charged with the theft of the calf.

Phillips has been notified of Green’s decision, Williams said.

Phillips did not immediately return a phone call or email for comment.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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