Louisa woman convicted of animal cruelty, forfeits 500+ animals

Photo Credit: The Central Virginian

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Louisa woman who had more than 500 animals seized from her property has been convicted of five counts of animal cruelty.

Clara Collier will have to turn over all of the animals found on her property to the county, and she will serve 500 hours of community service. She also will be banned from owning animals, with the exception of her two birds.

Authorities called it one of the most disturbing cases they’ve ever worked.

The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Wednesday, Nov. 29 about goats in the middle of West Old Mountain Road. When deputies returned the goats to the 40-acre farm, they discovered multitudes of animals “in distress or actually deceased already.”

The sheriff’s office told 8News Thursday morning that nine animals were found dead and hundreds were placed in a temporary shelter.

Among the hundreds of animals that were rescued include horses, emus, goats, sheep, guinea pigs, cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys and a peacock.

“Unbelievable,” Major Donnie Lowe with the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said. “I’ve never seen anything this bad in my career.”

Detectives said a mobile home was packed several feet high with chickens, birds and garbage.

Veterinarians on scene determined that three goats and two guinea pigs had to be euthanized because of their conditions. Sgt. Mark Stanton said there was no food in some of the cages.

“It’s not something we like to do, but there was no choice in the matter in this one,” Stanton told The Central Virginian.

“I guess the only thing to do then is hire a lawyer, because Mama’s never abused any kind of anything; any person, any animal,” the property owner’s son, Cecil Colna, told 8News.

Colna said his mother is terrified of losing her animals. He said for years the property has been a dumping ground for unwanted pets. His mother — who Colna admits is a hoarder — was trying to save them all.

“She’s doing poorly,” he said. “I mean, she’s 77 years old and she lives for these animals.”

Volunteers from the Louisa’s Community Animal Response Team (CART) were called out to assist law enforcement and to provide necessary equipment and resources.

The rescued animals will be temporarily housed at the Louisa Fireman’s Fairgrounds. 

Crews say they are in need of volunteers to help assist in the care of the animals. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact the Louisa CART, the animal shelter or the ACO division of the sheriff’s office. 

Mobile users click here to watch Kristin Smith’s Facebook Live from the scene.

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