A kennel owner in Fauquier County was found guilty on 60 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, in a case Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares called “heartbreaking.”
The case dates back to January 2020 when the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office carried out a search of Irina Barrett’s residence after learning of the “gross neglect” of an 8-month-old puppy named Yeva, who had been deprived of food and veterinary treatment, Miyares’ office said.
After searching Barrett’s residence, prosecutors said investigators that they discovered “75 other Dobermans and French Bull dogs living in deplorable conditions, with serious health issues.”
“Our animal cruelty laws exist to protect pets from a life of abuse and neglect. I’m thrilled that this heartbreaking story has a happy ending because of the hard work and dedication of my office,” Miyares said in a statement.
His office called it a case of prosecuting a “puppy mill,” though Barrett has denied running a puppy mill in the past.
The Fauquier County’s SPCA has been caring for the dogs seized from Barrett’s residence since January 2020, Miyares’ office said.
Barrett is set to be sentenced in February, 2024.
She’s was also facing five counts of felony animal cruelty last year, but the case fell apart after a judge ruled the evidence against her gathered during the January 2020 search was inadmissible.
Barrett’s attorney at the time gave a statement at the time saying Barrett was innocent and that authorities’ case against Barrett was “baseless.”