Zuni couple faces animal cruelty charges

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ZUNI—The owners of a farm near Zuni will soon be facing numerous charges of cruelty to animals after authorities last month found many horses and dogs in poor condition there.

Isle of Wight County Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps said authorities were in the process of obtaining warrants against Jeffrey and Diana Hansford, who own the Pine Meadows Quarter Horse Farm on Sand Pit Road.

On Jan. 21, authorities removed at least 23 horses and 31 golden retrievers from the farm after receiving calls from concerned neighbors that the animals were living in squalid conditions and a dead horse was seen on the property. Some of the animals were discovered to be in such bad condition that they had to be euthanized.

Phelps said the Hansfords would each face 14 charges over the condition of the horses and an additional six charges over the condition of the golden retrievers.

The warrants would be finalized today and more than likely served on Thursday, the sheriff said Tuesday afternoon.

The specific charges were not released.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office has been working closely with the county Animal Control Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office on the case, Phelps said.