Virginia Horse Rescuer Investigated for Animal Abuse after Dead A horse after it was removed from Anne Goland's possession.

Virginia Horse Rescuer Investigated for Animal Abuse after Dead, Emaciated Animals Discovered

The discovery of dead and emaciated animals at a Virginia horse rescue has led to an investigation by authorities. The Orange County Sheriff’s office served a search warrant at Peaceable Farm located in Somerset on Monday.

Deputies found more than 100 horses, miniature donkeys, dogs, and cats on the farm. “The property smells like death,” says local horse owner Raleigh Minor who was helping. She says she counted seven horses that were dead. At least a handful more were euthanized due to their poor condition.

“I think this has been going on a long time. What I witnessed last night is so horrific,” Minor tells us.

Minor went to the farm a week ago and spoke with the farm’s owner Anne Goland, who also goes by the names Anne Shumate and Anne Williams. Minor offered Goland help as horses banged at their water trough. “She was engaged when we spoke. She told me she needed a good hay contact and someone to help her with her fences.”

When Goland went into her truck to get her phone, Minor says she saw a dead grey cat inside the cab.

Officials wearing hazmat suits found a similar scene in Goland’s house. Deceased animals and feces littered the dwelling that a group of cats called home, according to sources.

Goland, who operates the horse rescue Peaceable Farm, Inc. and breeds warmbloods, has relinquished ownership of the majority of the surviving horses. Currently, she is keeping 35 horses. An official says some of the horses are in good condition.

Orange County Chief Deputy Michael LaCasse tells Rate My Horse PRO deputies have been to Goland’s property “several times” since September 2014. On those occasions, LaCasse says the horses could not be seized in accordance with Virginia Code 3.2-6569. The code states authorities may seize and impound any animal:

“that has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or is suffering from an apparent violation of this chapter that has rendered the animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health.” 

The relinquished horses are being relocated to area rescues, while the cats and dogs were transported to the Orange County Animal Shelter. Veterinarians and authorities remain on the property and continue their criminal investigation.

Stay with us for much more from this developing news story.