Animals seized in hoarding case

Officials released this photo, which they said illustrate the squalid rabbit housing conditions found on an Aldie property.

An Aldie woman received 118 misdemeanor charges on June 10 after surrendering 367 animals which she had allegedly hoarded, according to Loudoun County Animal Services.

Cynthia L. Peer, 39, was charged with 51 Class 1 misdemeanors and 67 Class 4 misdemeanors after a search of her home found the animals in “squalid, unlawful conditions,” officials said.

The animals, which Peer surrendered, reportedly included rabbits, quail, pheasants, chinchillas, ducks, chickens, turkeys, guineafowl, peafowl and sheep.

Officials said the animals had lived in confined, feces-filled spaces and in temperatures exceeding 116 degrees.

The conditions reportedly led to illness, chronic injury and otherwise poor health among the animals.

The 118 misdemeanor charges “were for animals that were either severely emaciated, malnourished, kept in conditions that were contrary to laws,” LCAS Chief of Humane Law Enforcement Chris Brosan told the Times-Mirror on Wednesday.

Because she voluntarily surrendered them, Peer was not charged in connection to animals that were kept in poor conditions but were not in abject health, according to Brosan.

A local veterinarian determined many of the birds in particular “were at the lowest possible weight to survive,” per officials.

Brosan called the situation at Peer’s home “very troubling.”

Many of the rabbits had grown too large to be removed through the door of the cage and required the cages to be cut apart to rescue them, he said.

“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,” Brosan said in a prepared statement.

He told the Times-Mirror, “Agricultural animals are not required to have shelter provided for them; however, if the fact that shelter is not provided causes a medical situation for that animal, then obviously there’s a problem there.”

Currently, LCAS is giving medical care to the surrendered animals to prepare them for adoptive homes.

Peer received a summons to appear in Loudoun General District Court on July 28.

Each Class 1 misdemeanor of which she is convicted could earn her up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Each conviction of a Class 4 misdemeanor is punishable by a $250 fine.

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