The Loudoun County Department of Animal Services last week took custody of 367 animals following an animal hoarding investigation in Aldie.
Cynthia L. Peer, 39, has been arrested on a total of 118 charges after a search of her property revealed hundreds of animals in squalid, unlawful conditions, the county said in a news release.
Loudoun County Animal Services Humane Law Enforcement officers and medical staff determined that the animals were living in conditions that created an immediate threat to their life, health and/or safety, the release said.
On June 10, Peer voluntarily surrendered 367 animals, which included primarily rabbits, quail and pheasants, as well as chinchillas, ducks, chickens, turkeys, guineafowl, peafowl and sheep.
The animals were found living in confined spaces filled with feces, the release said. In one enclosure, temperatures exceeded 116 degrees. Overcrowded, unsanitary enclosures contributed to widespread illness, chronic injury and poor body condition, with a veterinarian determining that many of the birds were at the lowest possible weight to survive, the release said.
“The situation at the residence was very troubling,” said Chief of Humane Law Enforcement Chris Brosan. “These animals appear to have spent much, if not all, of their lives in tiny, filthy enclosures, with only enough algae-filled water to prevent death by dehydration, and tragically, this is all that the law requires for agricultural animals.”
Brosan said it appeared many of the animals were deprived of food or water entirely, confined in dangerous spaces, and left with untreated injures for prolonged periods of time.
"Many of the rabbits had lived so long in small wire cages that they had grown too large to be removed through the door to the cage, requiring the cages to be cut apart to rescue them,” Brosan said.
The agency is providing medical care for the 367 animals in preparation for finding them adoptive homes. Peer is scheduled to face the charges in Loudoun General District Court on July 28.