Lancaster County man accused of beating neighbor’s chicken to death with walking stick

REINHOLDS, Lancaster County — A 57-year-old Reinholds man is facing an aggravated animal cruelty charge after police say he beat a neighbor’s chicken to death with a walking stick.

According to a criminal complaint filed on Nov. 20 by East Cocalico Township police, Sidney Lee Sweigart, of the 400 block of Blackhorse Road, performed the alleged act in front of three witnesses, including the chicken’s owner.

The incident happened on Oct. 21 on the 400 block of Holtzman Road, police say.

According to the criminal complaint, the chicken was roaming on Sweigart’s property. The victim and two witnesses told police that Sweigart repeatedly struck the chicken with his walking stick until it was dead. He then allegedly concealed the bird in a trash can.

The victims immediately called police. The responding officer reported observing a swath of feathers, an eviscerated wing and blood on the ground at the scene of the incident, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer spoke to Sweigart, who retrieved the chicken from the trash can where witnesses said he placed it, the criminal complaint says. The chicken displayed signs of blunt force trauma and was missing a wing, according to police.