SALISBURY — A national animal rights organization has sent a letter asking the Delmar man accused of killing almost 70,000 chickens to become a vegetarian as “penance” for his alleged actions.

The group, Mercy for Animals, also sent a Vegetarian Starter Kit with tips and recipes to Joshua D. Shelton, 21, using the Wicomico County Department of Corrections address. The letter is dated Aug. 30.

Shelton allegedly turned off the power to farmer Mark Shockley’s Delmar chickenhouses, which killed nearly 70,000 chickens that became deprived of food, water and cooling fans, according to charging documents. He faces burglary, malicious destruction of property, trespassing and animal cruelty charges.

Shockley, who estimated his total loss at about $25,000, said he doesn’t feel becoming a vegetarian is the solution for Shelton.

“I think, first of all, he should give his life to God, and I’m not a real religious person, but I do believe in God,” Shockley said.

He also said an incident like this shows how going too far with alcohol affects innocent people.

The boy should pay for this,” Shockley said. “He should have time to sit and think about what he did. And that’s what jail is for.

Mercy for Animals, which is headquartered in California, found out about the incident through the media, according to Matt Rice, its director of investigations.

Rice said the organization had read that Shelton did feel some remorse about the incident.

“This is the perfect opportunity for Mr. Shelton to prove he means what he says,” Rice said.

Much of the letter goes into what the lives of billions of factory-farmed chickens in the U.S. are like.

Mail sent to inmates is normally from family, friends or attorneys, said WCDC Director George Kaloroumakis.

“This is a first that I’m aware of,” Kaloroumakis said. “But I’m sure it’s not the first time someone who’s incarcerated has received a letter from an organization.”

Kaloroumakis described having a news release sent about the letter sent to an inmate as “something out of the norm.

As for the incident itself, Shockley said, “It’s been a very bizarre, hard-to-believe, devastating thing for us.”

News Link:-http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20120917/WIC/309170012

To read the letter sent to Joshua Shelton by Mercy for Animals, visitwww.MercyForAnimals.org/MDChickenLetter.pdf

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