Woman who owns seized horses was previously convicted of animal cruelty

KING WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. -- Nestled just off Route 30 in King William is New Beginnings Horse Rescue, which recently housed 33 horses.

But all of the horses were taken into custody Thursday by law enforcement agents working with the Attorney General's Animal Law Unit.

A spokesperson for the AG's office told CBS 6 that the search was part of an investigation into suspected animal cruelty.

"Show me the abuse. Where is the abuse? Who is claiming there is abuse?" the owners' attorney Andrew Bodoh told CBS 6 Thursday.

Bodoh said the raid came as a complete surprise and alleged it may be in retaliation for several civil lawsuits his clients filed involving a previous search in 2016 where animals were confiscated but then returned.

Andrew Bodoh

"When they did something similar, came out to the property, went beyond the scope of the search warrant, seized animals," Bodoh said.

CBS 6 did some digging and found out a jury found one of the owners, Cassy Newell-Reed, guilty of animal cruelty back in 2017 for cruelly treating her horse Ernie.

She received a $250 fine.

CBS 6 also found out that during the 2016 raid, King William seized 42 horses from the property after animal control officers found several severely underweight horses.

But the horses were ultimately returned.

"On the basis that there was not a legal grounds to force her to surrender the animals because they were not being maltreated," Bodoh said.

In the court filings, Cassy Newell-Reed told the court her horse rescue accepted injured and sickly horses and she worked to rehabilitate them.

Therefore, it wasn't her that caused any injury or maltreatment.

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