‘Particularly disturbing’ case leads to animal cruelty charges for 3 Loudoun County residents

A picture from Loudoun County Animal Services shows the animals crated up in one of the residences. (Courtesy Loudoun County Animal Rescue)
This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Three people have been charged with animal cruelty crimes following a months-long investigation into an animal rescue organization, Luck of the Irish Animal Rescue, in western Loudoun County.

The investigation began in February following an unrelated call for service to a home in Round Hill, according to a Friday news release. While responding, law enforcement reportedly observed a large number of animals living in deplorable conditions and alerted Loudoun County Animal Services, according to a news release. Upon inspection of the conditions inside the home, humane law enforcement officers allegedly found 42 animals on the property that were housed in a manner that threatened their health and safety. Over the course of the investigation, 102 dogs, cats, rabbits and other domestic animals were transferred to the county animal services, authorities said. Nearly all the animals have since been placed, the release states.

Nicole Metz, 50, who served as executive director of Luck of the Irish – formerly known as Paw & Hoof Animal Rescue – is charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, two counts of failure to acquire certificate of veterinary inspection, one count of allowing an animal with a contagious disease to roam and one count of obstructing justice.

Kimberly Hall, 51, who served as the organization’s director of operations, is charged with eight counts of animal cruelty and two counts of failure to acquire a certificate of veterinary inspection.

Alex Hall, 22, formerly the rescue’s director of marketing, is charged with eight counts of animal cruelty.

The Loudoun County news release states a search of the Halls’ home, which appeared to be one of the sites from which the animal rescue was being operated, found the home’s floors covered with feces and urine. Officers also found most of the animals were confined to crates, some of which were stacked on top of each other, and many of the animals needed veterinary care, authorities said.

The officers’ investigation expanded to Metz home, which is located next door. Conditions in both locations were found to be unsanitary, hazardous and consistent with hoarding, according to the release.

An initial civil hearing on April 7 resulted in the Luck of the Irish Animal Rescue being dissolved and Metz being prohibited from serving as staff or a volunteer for any animal-related business or nonprofit for a period of one year.

In addition to charges of animal cruelty, Kimberly Hall and Metz are alleged to have brought animals into Virginia without the required documentation for the importation of the animals. The Loudoun County Animal Services’ Human Law Enforcement officers’ investigation revealed text messages that indicated Hall, Metz and their associates brought a number of animals from out of state to shelters in Northern Virginia, including cats with contagious diseases and dogs that had attacked or killed other dogs, inaccurately claiming them to be strays found in the local community, according to the release.

The communications have prompted a search for the whereabouts of approximately 100 animals that were received by the rescue from various sources and are presently unknown. Some are presumed to be buried in the suspects’ yards based on their communications and the execution of additional search warrants by officers that substantiated this finding.

Hall and Metz are currently scheduled to face the charges in General District Court on July 12 at 10 a.m. The charges against the suspects include both class 1 and 3 misdemeanors in Virginia. A class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of up to a $2,500 fine per count and one year in jail, while a class 3 misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of up to $500 per count.

“This case is particularly disturbing because the individuals involved are the very people who were entrusted by overwhelmed pet owners and rural shelters to look out for the welfare of animals,” Chris Brosan, chief of Loudoun County Animal Services’ Humane Law Enforcement, said in the release. “Our investigation shows that they knowingly kept the animals in filthy conditions and allowed their health to suffer, while continuing to acquire more animals.”

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.


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