County drops animal cruelty charges

Jean Donhauser

The Louisa County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office dropped five counts of animal cruelty against a Mineral woman, nearly a year after she was charged.

Jean Donhauser, 57, said she was relieved the case was over, but upset at the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office animal control unit and prosecutors for charging her with mistreating horses she did not own.

The May 13 hearing in Louisa Circuit Court was an appeal of Donhauser’s conviction in lower court on Feb. 5. The hearing ended almost as quickly as it began, she said, after prosecutors moved to drop the charges.

“They admitted they didn’t have a case against me,” Donhauser said. “They wanted me to plea bargain, but I told them I was not going to do that. My reputation and integrity were on the line.”

The five horses belonged to Donhauser’s daughter, Samantha, who was convicted of animal cruelty in Louisa General District Court on Aug. 9, 2018. Her horses have since been adopted by new owners.

Sheriff’s deputy Jay Hensley charged Jean Donhauser in May 2018 with neglecting the horses because they were living on her Indian Creek Road property. Donhauser told authorities she couldn’t afford to care for her daughter’s horses and asked for their help.

Edwin Consolvo, Louisa County assistant commonwealth’s attorney, could not be reached for immediate comment.

(Article by David Holtzman)