Animal cruelty case

This Twitter photo shows the duckling before it was tossed off the Bay Bridge out of the window of a moving vehicle.

ANNAPOLIS — Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced Aug. 20 that the office secured a conviction of one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty against Ethan R. Fowler, 21, of Stevensville for tossing a duckling out of a moving vehicle while on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge. Based on the serious nature of the offense, the prosecutor asked the judge to impose an active period of incarceration, along with five years of supervised probation.

“Abusing defenseless animals is an intolerable act,” Leitess said. “I take these crimes seriously and those who commit cruelty to animals, like this defendant, will be held accountable for their actions.”

On April 19, 2020, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police received information regarding an animal cruelty case that occurred at the Bay Bridge. The information they received included a Twitter link to a video of the incident. On the video, the defendant, later identified as Ethan Fowler, was seen holding a duckling in his hand while driving over the bridge. Fowler then, laughing, threw the duckling out of the window of the moving vehicle and over the side of the bridge. During the investigation, police met with Fowler who admitted to his role in the crime.

The State’s Attorney’s Office obtained the services of a local veterinarian, Dr. Benjamin Reichenbach, who would have been offered as an expert in veterinary medicine and veterinary science. Reichenbach said the duckling likely died as a result of being thrown out of the window while traveling in an automobile on the Bay Bridge.

The Honorable Mark Crooks, who presided over the case, sentenced Fowler to one year of incarceration, all of which was suspended, and placed the defendant on five years of probation with other ordered conditions he must complete.

Assistant State’s Attorney Maria Stamidis prosecuted the case.

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