More than 300 animals rescued in suspected Loudoun County hoarding case

A Loudoun County, Virginia, woman faces 118 misdemeanor charges after authorities say they found hundreds of animals, including rabbits, ducks and sheep, in squalid, dangerous conditions at her home.

Loudoun County Animal Services Humane Rescue law enforcement officers said they were investigating Cynthia L. Peer, 39, of Aldie, for suspected animal hoarding at her home when they discovered 367 animals living in “squalid, unlawful” conditions, according to a Loudoun County news release posted Tuesday.

A Loudoun County, Virginia, woman faces 118 misdemeanor charges after authorities say they found hundreds of animals, including rabbits, ducks and sheep, in squalid, dangerous conditions at her home.(Courtesy Loudoun County Animal Services)

Authorities said Peer surrendered the 367 animals to animal services on June 10, and the agency is now providing medical care for them and preparing to find adoptive homes.

Authorities said the animals were primarily rabbits, quail and pheasants, but also included chinchillas, ducks, chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, peafowl and sheep.

The animals were found in confined spaces and covered in feces, authorities said.

“The situation at the residence was very troubling,” said Chief of Humane Law Enforcement Chris Brosan in a statement. “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.”

The temperature in one enclosure was more than 116 degrees, and many of the animals were deprived of food and water and had untreated injuries, according to the news release.

“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 in the statement.

Here is one of the animals seized in Aldie. (Courtesy Loudoun County Animal Services)

Peer was charged with 51 Class 1 misdemeanors and 67 Class 4 misdemeanors. Each Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. Each Class 4 misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $250 fine. If convicted, Peer could also be prohibited by a judge from owning animals in the future.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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