Six of the 42 horses seized June 8 from a rescue shelter in Aylett were originally taken from Peaceable Farm in an October seizure of almost 120 animals.
The horses were seized from New Beginnings Horse Rescue, in King William County, “due to poor condition and lack of care,” according to a press release signed by the Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana O’Connell, County Attorney Thomas Lacheney and Sheriff Mark Amos.
“It is deeply discouraging that these horses have suffered abuse and lack of care again,” the release states, adding that Orange County does not have jurisdiction over these animals because they were placed in a private facility in a different county. “We understand and share the deep concern and frustration of all those who are outraged at the suffering these horses have endured.”
Animal rescue facilities in the state are not bound by government oversight, inspection and regulation, authorities say.
“During the Orange County seizure in October of 2015, our animal control office faced a crisis situation involving more than one hundred horses, and we were led to believe New Beginnings was a legitimate rescue organization,” the three said in the release. At the time, Anne Williams, the owner of Peaceable Farm, was charged with 27 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and an embezzlement investigation was initiated.
Cassy Newell-Reed, the owner of New Beginnings, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. In October, she told the Washington Post she was given 10.5 (because one mare was pregnant) of Williams’ horses.
“I’m glad the Sheriff’s Office did what they did and removed the animals,” the Post quoted her saying then. “What she did was wrong—the dead animals and the starving of the animals is wrong—but someone needs to look deeper. There’s more than just her to blame.”
Correction: The original post said Cassy Newell-Reed spoke to the Washington Post in September.