The Central Virginian

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Louisa woman appeals cruelty conviction

Posted on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 5:00 am

A Louisa woman appealed her conviction on five counts of cruelty to animals, including four horses and a donkey.

Louisa General District Court Judge Claiborne Stokes found Jean Donhauser guilty Feb. 5 of neglecting the animals while they were on her Indian Creek Road property, and issued a 30-day suspended sentence. The appeal will be heard in Louisa Circuit Court.

Donhauser said the horses belonged to her daughter, Samantha, who had a contract with her father, Dale Donhauser, to keep them there. Samantha Donhauser was found guilty of cruelty to the same animals in August 2018 and received a 60-day suspended sentence.

Stokes said he was conflicted about whether Jean Donhauser was legally responsible for the animals, since, in his words, she was essentially a “babysitter” for the horses.

“This case comes down to, what is her duty?” he said. “The burden was on her to take care of those animals.”

Donhauser said after she and Dale Donhauser separated, she had little money to pay for her daughter’s horses in addition to her own. Two women, one of whom lived with Jean Donhauser, helped feed Samantha’s horses for several months before the cruelty charges were filed in May 2018.

But the two women testified in court that they had limited resources and bought cheap hay. Edwin Consolvo, Louisa County assistant commonwealth’s attorney, suggested that some of the hay was moldy. The women also relied on a friend of Samantha’s to help pay for food, but the friend eventually cut off communication.

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Feb. 7, 2019 issue.

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