A good resolution

Published 2:09 am Saturday, April 4, 2009

The two owners of a farm near Zuni facing cruelty to animal charges each pleaded guilty to two of those counts in Isle of Wight County General District Court on Thursday. They also agreed to pay fines and restitution and agreed to never own more than five horses and five dogs at one time.

In return, prosecutors dropped 34 additional misdemeanor charges against Jeffrey and Diana Hansford.

We are happy to see a quick resolution to an unusual, and, yet at the same time, very serious and sad case of animal neglect.

We applaud the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Department for its thorough investigation and the county’s animal control officers who helped get the horses and dogs routed to places where they could get the care they needed. We also applaud the animal rescue groups that took in 23 horses and 70 golden retrievers, and we hope for the animals’ full recovery.

Newly elected Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer also deserves praise. He took a hard look at the evidence and determined that charges against the Hansfords fell into the category of failing to provide care, rather than malicious abuse.

And finally, we hope the Hansfords will be able to move on with their lives as well.