Four Louisa County residents were arrested on charges of cruelty to animals.
Jean Donhauser, 56, and her daughter Samantha, 28, face five counts of cruelty after the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office seized four horses and one donkey from the family’s Indian Creek Road farm.
The sheriff’s office filed five charges against Nancy Pauley, 47, and four against her husband, Scott Pauley, 48. In both cases, the horses were seized and taken to a nearby rescue sanctuary.
Sheriff’s Deputies James Hensley and William Hiter made an initial visit to the Donhausers’ property on May 2 after receiving a report of horses not being fed.
“There was no food in the field and dirty water in the troughs,” Hensley wrote in a criminal complaint. “We assessed the horse at a body score of one and called the vet out.”
The body scoring system, used by many police departments to assess animal health, ranks horses from 1 to 9. A rank of one indicates poor condition, and two means very thin.
After the vet evaluated the horses, the officers removed one horse. They returned on May 21 for a welfare check and found three horses and a donkey with a body score of two. The horses had no food, clean water or shelter, Hensley said.
Jean Donhauser was arrested on May 25 and held at Central Virginia Regional Jail for six hours until she posted a $1,000 bond. Samantha Donhauser was arrested on June 5 and later released on personal recognizance.
Hensley’s complaint indicates Samantha Donhauser owns the animals, but that they were in her mother’s care.
On Tuesday, Jean Donhauser said the situation developed after her husband, Dale Donhauser, allegedly assaulted her on Feb. 7. He was indicted by a Louisa County grand jury last month on one count of assault.
“I did everything I could to get help for those horses,” she said. Donhauser said her husband and daughter prevented her from caring for them, but she has continued to take care of other horses she owns.
The case involving Nancy and Jean Pauley began on April 29 at a Plantation Drive farm. Hensley responded on May 23 to a report of malnourished horses and found four with a body score of two. He wrote in his complaint that there was no food or water and the horses were unable to access a shelter. Both Pauleys were released on personal recognizance after their arrests.
A charge of inadequate care of animals against Nancy Pauley was filed in Louisa General District Court in 2016, but later dismissed.
The seizure hearings in both cases are scheduled for June 19 in district court. Jean Donhauser’s next court hearing will be Oct. 4. Scott Pauley is due in court on June 12, and Nancy Pauley on Aug. 23.