UPDATE: Bodies of Two Decomposing Horses Found on Amherst Co. Property
UPDATE: Amherst Co., VA - According to the Amherst County Sheriff's office, the bodies of two decomposing horses were found on the property of the woman facing multiple charges of animal abuse and neglect.
According to authorities, as part of the effort to correct the violations, the county brought in outside contractors with heavy equipment to remove the refuse and accumulated trash.
The decomposing remains of the horses are being removed and Animal Control Deputies are collecting evidence for additional charges. ------------------------------------
UPDATE: Amherst Co., Va - An Amherst County woman facing animal cruelty charges says she would never harm her animals. Deputies arrested and charged 61-year-old Gerri Butler with 29 counts of animal neglect, plus six more charges involving no rabies vaccines or dog tags.
Gerri Butler says she has devoted her life to animals, which is why she says she's devastated to be accused of hurting them. "I would rather be charged with murder than animal cruelty" said Butler.
Butler says Animal Control came to her house Friday along with a veterinarian. “The dog warden told her she had until Monday to find them homes. Two hours later the Sheriff showed up and told her 'no, you are not going to make your mind up by Monday' you have until tomorrow morning" said Stacy Minor, Butler’s daughter.
Butler signed the animals over to the county rather than fight it in court. Officials removed 12 horses, 1 donkey, 3 cats and 3 dogs from her property.
Butler says of the 12 horses, she only raised one from birth. She says she took in the others, like her blind horse, after they were abandoned in front of her property. "She was a sweetheart, and that's one of the worse ones to put on the trailer because she walked right up on the trailer... and they probably put her down cause he's blind" cried Butler.
She says she tried many times to give them away, but she didn't think it would happen like this.
In the meantime, the Sheriff's Office says it's still investigating numerous other county violations regarding trash and unsanitary conditions. Butler's family and friends have been helping her clear her property before the county comes back for a visit.
Butler says most of the things in and around her front yard are from the two antique stores she used to own that closed this summer.
The county has given her until early tomorrow morning to clear her property. As for the animal neglect charges, she has a trial date set for June 5th.
Amherst Co., VA - Following a lengthy investigation by Animal Control Deputies and an inspection by a large animal veterinarian, several animals have been removed from a property in Amherst County.
According to the Amherst County Sheriff's Office, county officials had been speaking with the animals' owner and unsuccessfully trying to work toward a solution for some time before this event.
A decision was made to remove twelve horses, one donkey, three dogs and three cats. The animals were removed for several reasons. As a result of the investigation, 61 year old Gerri Butler, was charged with 29 counts of Animal Neglect / Cruelty, three counts of not having the dog’s rabies vaccine, and three of no county dog tags.
Ms. Butler has a May 20th advisement date and a trial date of June 5th.
In cases such as this, the owner is offered a choice of signing the animals over to the county, or having a seizure hearing with the courts. Butler elected to sign these animals over to the county.
Of the animals seized, three of the horses had to be euthanized due to extensive medical issues.
Numerous county code violations are still being investigated relating to trash, refuse, and unsanitary conditions.