Quantcast

Sheriff's Office: More Than 80 Horses Removed from Peaceable Farm

Posted: Updated: Nov 05, 2015 11:38 AM
File Image: Investigators, veterinarians and animal rescuers at Peaceable Farm File Image: Investigators, veterinarians and animal rescuers at Peaceable Farm
File Image: Horses being taken away from Peaceable Farm File Image: Horses being taken away from Peaceable Farm
File Image: Horse taken from Peaceable Farm File Image: Horse taken from Peaceable Farm
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

The sheriff's office is providing additional details about an investigation its conducting at an Orange County farm. 

Deputies with the Orange Co. Sheriff’s Office searched Peaceable Farm on Monday, finding over a hundred horses and many cats and dogs on the property. Veterinarians have been working with deputies to evaluate the health of the animals, some of which are described as being emaciated.

Authorities say the property owner has been working with investigators and surrendered 71 horses, 28 cats and 7 dogs. Five horses had to be put down, and seven horses were found dead.

Wednesday, a veterinarian determined 10 more horses needed immediate care. Deputies say they had to seize these horses from the owner because she refused to surrender them.

No charges have been filed at this time. Authorities say the owner is still in possession of 18 horses, two donkeys, a bull, and several cats.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is also in the middle of an internal investigation. Some people claim authorities didn't act on previous reports about Peaceable Farm. At least one such story circulating on social media has been discredited, because that complaint was made to farm workers, not authorities.

Donations are being collected to help shelters and groups caring for animals taken from Peaceable Farm. Click here to donate to the Orange Co. Shelter's Vet Fund.

Press Release from the Orange County Sheriff's Office:

The Orange County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at Peaceable Farm on Liberty Mills Rd in Orange County. This Office was on the property from Monday morning until Wednesday evening working with veterinarians evaluating every horse that was on the property and many other domesticated animals.

As I have stated before Va. Code section 3.2-6569 says that a law enforcement officer or animal control officer may lawfully seize and impound any animal "that has been abandon, has been cruelly treated or is suffering from an apparent violation of this chapter that has rendered the animal in such condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life safety or health". In practice this means that a veterinarian has to determine that an animal is almost dead...anything less is not seize able.

By working with the property owner she surrendered 71 horses 28 cats and 7 dogs. 5 horses were euthanized and 7 horses were found dead.

As of Tuesday night many of the horses had been removed from the property by 6 different rescue organizations and others that had volunteered to help.

On Monday and Tuesday Veterinarians triaged all horses that were on the property to quickly determine their medical condition. The sickest horses were the first removed along with some surrendered horses.

Yesterday, a vet returned to the farm to conduct a more in-depth medical evaluation of the remaining horses. The vet spent additional time with each horse to determine their body composition. 10 more of the remaining horses were determined to be in need of immediate vet care.

At this point the property owner refused to surrender the horses and the Sheriff's Office seized them from her. All horses that have been surrendered or seized, have been taken off the property and are in the hands of rescue organizations.

The property owner is still in possession of 18 horses, 2 donkeys, 1 bull and several cats.

The internal investigation that we are currently working was initiated after complaints were received over the past weekend in reference to the case that we are currently working.

Social Media has reported that a complaint was given to Animal Control of a dead horse in the field and they did nothing. Upon hearing this for the first time, I started investigating the story. A search of our database found no complaints were reported, I followed up with the contact on social media, she put me in contact with the neighbor who had reportedly made the claim. He reported to me that he saw a 'downed' horse in the field, and notified the farm-workers that were at Peaceable Farm. He did not report it to Animal Control or the Sheriff's Office.

More complaints are being looked into in reference to the internal investigation.

  • Sign Up for Email Alerts

    Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.

    * denotes required fields



    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.