Louisa woman found guilty of animal cruelty; over 500 animals seized
LOUISA COUNTY, Va. – A Louisa County woman was found guilty of animal cruelty charges for hoarding more than 500 animals on her farm.
One week after being rescued from what were deemed deplorable living conditions, experts said the animals were stronger, and healthier than ever.
“They are resilient, very resilient,” expressed Donnie Embrey, Team Leader of Community Animal Response Team (CART).
Court documents show the farm owner, 77-year-old Clara Mae Collier was charged with five counts of animal cruelty. She could have been sentenced up to 12 months for each charge.
However, on Thursday, the judge sentenced Collier to six months for each charge, totaling 30 months, with all 30 of those months suspended. She won’t serve anymore jail time.
Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire announced the county spent $7,500 to care for the animals and based on Collier’s finances, she will be able to perform 500 hours community service to satisfy the obligation.
In addition, Collier was sentenced to two years’ probation, agreed to no longer possess any animals other than two birds, and allow animal control to check on her to ensure she does not possess more animals and that the birds are being treated properly.
As for what made it possible to rehab, shelter, and feed hundreds of animals instantly, Embrey said, volunteers donated four to five thousand dollars’ worth of goods.
Local business owner Wesley Chiles of Chiles Enterprises Landscape, Tree & Turfcare was part of that movement.
“You’ll see different people coming together and doing their part, whether it’s me bringing a water truck, or someone bringing dinner for the volunteers, or the volunteers themselves, it’s just a lot of different aspects coming together to make it all work which is what Louisa County is all about,” explained Chiles.
Many animals were saved from a situation where they were sick and dying, and rehabilitated for safe and healthy adoptions.
CART volunteers said the animals would start transferring to adoption shelters on Friday.
Family upset with seizure
However, family members of the woman who had been taking care of the animals disputed the decision to seize the menagerie.
“All the goats and all the animals were plenty fat, no ribs were showing on them,” Cecil Colna, whose mother owns the farm, argued. “My mother takes very good care of her animals.”
Colna said his aged mother was doing the best she could to care for the hundreds of animals.
“This is what she lives for. She’s 77 years old and she works two jobs to take care of the animals, I mean this is her life,” Colna said. “I’m afraid she might not make it after this.”