Animal Rescuers, Volunteer Hold Memorial for Peaceable Farm Horses

Posted: Updated: Oct 31, 2016 05:56 PM
People taking part in a memorial for the animals that didn't survive Peaceable Farm People taking part in a memorial for the animals that didn't survive Peaceable Farm
Anne Goland Anne Goland

A raid on an Orange County farm one year ago is leading to changes for how rescuers respond to animal cruelty investigations.

Rescuers and volunteers who took in animals from Peaceable Farm gathered Wednesday, October 19, to remember the ones that didn't survive.

It was on this date in 2015 that deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office led a raid at Peaceable Farm. Over a hundred horses and many cats and dogs were discovered on the Somerset property. Owner Anne Goland (aka Anne Shumate Williams) surrendered over 80 horses, 28 cats, and 7 dogs over the course of a few days. More cats were later found inside a neglected house on the farm’s property.

Some of the animals taken from that farm had to be put down.

Many of the animal rescuers and volunteers who helped nurse the horses back to health gathered for a memorial vigil across from the Orange County Courthouse. It is the same courthouse where Goland faces 27 animal cruelty charges and 13 embezzlement charges.

Virginians for Change to Animal Legislation organized the afternoon's memorial and march through the downtown area. The group is lobbying state lawmakers to require veterinarians to report animal cruelty and neglect to law enforcement. They're also calling for more oversight of animal rescue groups.

“This case in Virginia, which I think has allowed us to sort of gather people from all across the state to come together and monitor other cases, and use this really as a case study as to all the problems that led up to the culmination of this prosecution,” said Anna Russau with Virginians for Change to Animal Legislation.

“These horses don't ever get forgotten by those of us who work with them and help them,” said Maya Proulx with Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue.

Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue in Afton took in 29 horses and a donkey from Peaceable Farm. Eight did not survive, but 11 horses found new homes.

Proulx says she is making progress with the ten horses left in her care.

“We're looking at purchasing a permanent home for the rescue which will give us a better safety net for all of these horses and also make it easier in the future to be able to respond to these cases,” she said.

Goland is due back in court on Friday, October 28.