Dead And Suffering Horses, 80 Dogs, Found On Farm

Investigators in Virginia looking into the death of two horses say they uncovered a massive case of animal neglect this week.

It happened in the Isle of Wight County, which is just west of Norfolk and Newport News.

State and local veterinarians, the United States Equine Rescue League and Isle of Wight Sheriff's deputies removed malnourished horses from a farm owned by Jeff and Diana Hansford.

Lawmen say it was so bad, two horses were dead when they arrived, and two were euthanized. A total of 40 horses were on the farm.

Investigators say they also found 80 dogs on the property, but unlike the horses, they were in good health. Rescuers did remove 32 dogs.

A neighbor said of the farm owners: "They had good intentions at first to raise the horses and to raise the dogs, but I think everything just got too much, too fast for them."


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  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Jan 27, 2009 at 07:20 AM
    Hey Alison of Bath, I agree with the face that 40 horses with one family is outrageous, and I am sure that either the man or woman got laid off from a very high paying job and could not afford to take care of them anymore, but they should of donee as Bob said, call the ASPCA and ask for some help. It is good to have a passion for a certain animal or types of animals, but that passion does not need to get over the top of someones head, because it will come back too haunt them like it did these people. They apparently have learned two lessons here I would hope.
  • by Bob Location: Belhaven on Jan 26, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    Donna explained by feelings on this to a tee. I would add that all they had to do if it was getting out of control (which should have been obvious even to them), was to call the ASPCA and asked for help. I have found the local Beaufort Co. ASPCA to be very helpful and caring when it comes to animals. I am sure a Va. agency would be the same way. Neglicting or mistreating an animal is just not an option!
  • by Jennie Location: Bath on Jan 26, 2009 at 03:46 AM
    I too hate to hear stories like this. I have horses and dogs, but I have enough brains not to own more than I can feed and take care of. It just sickens me. These people had to have had some idea of what they were doing. It takes a long time for a horse to become so bad they die. BTW... the video here doesn't match the article! The article is about Virgina and the video is from Texas?? am I wrong?
  • by Donna Location: washington on Jan 25, 2009 at 03:12 PM
    that's really cruel if u don't want them why make them suffer, they could of been other options for them,maybe adoptions or free giveaway to loving people somewhere.I'm sure they would have survived by others with a helping hand.my motto is don't take on more than you can handle.God is watching us in alway's and aspects to cruelty those will be punished by him as well as hurting god's children as well.shame on you remember god's watching us.................
  • by SGB Location: Eastern NC on Jan 25, 2009 at 02:16 PM
    Just like human, two-legged children, if you don't plan for raising four-legged children, it can be overwhelming. It's sad that this happened.
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Jan 25, 2009 at 11:37 AM
    Blog Refuter; I will have to agree with you on this one. (scary, I know). I can't imagine what it costs to feed forty horses but if you have ever checked in to boarding just one, the cost of 40 would be unreal for anyone that isn't extremely wealthy. 80 dogs? Jeesh! Another mammoth monthly bill and that doesn't even begin to address veterinary costs. I would agree with the retired investigator as well. Until further investigation is done, I will assume that these people had good intentions of running some sort of rescue operation but lacked enough donations to adequately supply the size of the operation. Some common sense should have been exercised and not accepted more than they had the funding to handle. Without doing any research I would think that it would easily cost 15-20K per month to handle all of these animals. If I am wrong, I am sure someone will point it out.
  • by Tracy Location: NB on Jan 25, 2009 at 11:11 AM
    I completely agree with PAW&HOOFLOVER. I do not hestitate for one second to call the proper authorities if I see a case that is concerning to me when it come to animal welfare.If you do not see a change, then call back again and again until you do. The animals cannot speak for themselves and tell people that they have no food or water or proper shelter. We have to speak up for them.
  • by Blog Refuter Location: NC on Jan 25, 2009 at 10:24 AM
    They may need to undergo a psychological evaluation. I believe the neighbor is right when he/she says the couple had good intentions at first. I think they wanted to save and raise all of the animals without caring owners. This may have been a great passion for them. However, with the rising costs of horse feed/dog food and the demanding labor involved, things got out of hand. Some type of psychological block hindered them from realizing that they couldn't save the world of animals by themselves. There has to be a cooperative effort.
  • by PAW&HOOFLOVER Location: ENC on Jan 25, 2009 at 09:49 AM
    I BEG EVERYONE WHO VISITS HERE. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING DON'T HESITATE TO REPORT IT. DON'T LET IT GO TO THE POINT THAT ANIMALS LINGER AND SUFFER AND DIE. DON'T TURN A BLIND EYE TO IT! THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS WHATSOEVER!
  • by Alison Location: Bath on Jan 25, 2009 at 08:35 AM
    How sad to read about the animals being neglected, especially the horses. It breaks my heart to hear of any animals being negected. I own a horse myself and I am aware of his health at all times. The owners may have had "good intentions" but why would 40 horses be necessary for one family? Even if the remaining horses recover physically they may have emotional scarring and find it hard to trust humans again. Hopefully good homes will be found for some of the horses, a place where they will get the love and attention the need and deserve.
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