A Virginia rescue operator and fledgling warmblood breeder accused of starving horses is facing 27 counts of animal cruelty, authorities say. Anne Shumate Williams, who goes by the name Anne Goland, was arrested Monday and is being held without bond.
Orange County’s Commonwealth Attorney Diana Wheeler says the investigation is a “time consuming process” due to the large number of animals, veterinary records and associated documents. Necropsies were conducted on some of the dead animals. Wheeler says she expects Goland to face additional charges.
The charges may not just be for animal cruelty. Sheriff Mark Amos says the case is “immensely large in scope.” That’s because there are two operations at Peaceable Farm. The rescue farm, with 501(c)(3) status, and the warmblood breeding ‘operation’. Amos confirmed that the IRS has been called in to assist with the investigation.
A civil seizure hearing is scheduled for November 4th to deal with the surviving animals surrendered and seized from Goland’s possession. Included as defendants in the case, in additional to Goland, are the members of the charity’s board. They have been summoned to appear at the 11AM hearing.
Leads are also taking the investigation to Maryland and Pennsylvania, the sheriff says.
The charges come after the deputies obtained a search warrant for Goland’s Peaceable Farm last week. “What we saw was one of the most horrendous sights that I have seen in my 28-years in law enforcement,” Amos says.
Six horses and a donkey were dead when authorities arrived on Goland’s property. Many dead dogs, cats and chickens also cluttered the farm.
Goland surrendered 71 horses. Nine have been euthanized due to their poor condition. Goland also released 28 cats and 7 dogs. An additional 10 horses were seized by deputies.
Eighteen horses, a donkey, a bull, and cats remain at Peaceable Farm. The sheriff says Goland’s family and a friend will care for the animals on the Somerset property.
Goland’s court hearing was continued to Wednesday, October 28.
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