Saturday, October 31, 2015

Seizure hearing Nov. 18 in Somerset animal cruelty case (Anne Shumate)

VIRGINIA -- Anne Shumate Williams, a.k.a., Anne Goland, 57, remains in jail without bond following a brief court appearance Wednesday in general district court to face 24 charges of animal cruelty in the ongoing investigation centered at Peaceable Farm, her animal rescue nonprofit in Somerset.


Orange-based defense attorney Thomas Purcell declined comment on his client's behalf.

 Since Oct. 19, more than 100 animals in poor condition have been removed from the property, including 10 horses that were near death and legally seized. In court Wednesday, Judge Edward Carpenter moved a civil hearing on the seizure to Nov. 18, at which time a date will be set in the criminal matter.

 At the seizure hearing, prosecutors will put on evidence showing the horses had be removed or they were in imminent danger of losing their life, said Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler at a news conference Monday. Both she and Orange County Sheriff Mark Amos said that animals had to be near death before state statute would allow their legal seizure.

  Del. Ed Scott, R-Madison, declined Wednesday to comment on that state statute that many in the equestrian community feel needs to be changed.

  On Oct. 3, a concerned citizen contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Office about the poor physical condition of several horses seen from the road at Peaceable Farm, according to court documents.

 On Oct. 11, Williams purchased and picked up another horse, according to Wheeler.

 On Oct. 13, Cindy Smith with Central Virginia Horse Rescue sent pictures to the sheriff's office of emaciated horses living at Peaceable Farm.

 On Oct. 17 the local agency received more calls about the welfare of the horses as well as complaints about the lack of grass in the pasture and no hay in the fields, according to court documents.

  On Oct. 19, the sheriff's office executed its first search warrant at the property at 9306 Liberty Mills Road where they observed "an overwhelming amount" of dead and starving horses, dogs, cats and poultry in the two-story house, curtilage, barns and fields, according to the warrant, along with numerous records related to the "care of animals," expenses and bank statements.


 Officials noted "a unique smell" on the property "consistent with the decay of carcasses." Orange County Building Official G.W. Gray, based on the conditions, posted the house as uninhabitable.

 On Oct. 23, a second search warrant issued at the house resulted in the seizure of 10 dead cats and two dead dogs, according to court documents. Authorities were also authorized to search cell phones and communication devices and take feed and hay samples.

Photo: Hope Legacy Equine Rescue

On the same day, the sheriff's office got a search warrant for more than a dozen storage units in Charlottesville in use by Williams after the owner of the self-storage business advised authorities the units "had a unique smell emitting from them," according to court documents. The warrant authorized a search in the storage units for dead animals and documents related to Peaceable Farm; results of the search had not yet been submitted Wednesday.

(Daily Progress - Oct 28, 2015)

No comments:

Post a Comment