Virginia Couple Indicted on Cruelty Charges

A grand jury in King and Queen County, Va., has indicted Robert H. Amos and Elizabeth B. Newsome-Amos on 20 counts each of animal cruelty, according to King and Queen County Circuit Court Clerk, Deborah F. Longest. The indictments stem from the removal of 33 horses from the couple's Bruington farm last year.

King and Queen County Sheriff's deputies discovered the animals June 28, 2010, after a tipster complained that the animals were residing in unsanitary conditions and lacked food and water.

The following day, acting on a warrant, law enforcement authorities and personnel from the United States Equine Rescue League (USERL) removed 33 allegedly maltreated horses from the property. Another 20 horses also residing on the property were not removed. The removed horses were placed in rehabilitative care, said Susan White, Richmond Region director of the USERL.

On July 8, 2010, the animals' owners, Elizabeth Newsome-Amos and Robert Amos, surrendered the removed horses to the USERL and agreed to pay the agency $15,000 for the animals' care. The couple also agreed to sell the 20 horses remaining on the property to new owners approved by the King and Queen County Sheriff's Department.

On April 12, 2011, a King and Queen County Grand jury handed down the indictments. Neither Robert nor Elizabeth were available for comment.

The couple will appear in court for the case on April 20, Longest said. No trial date has been set.

Since the seizure one horse has died, White said. The rest remain under USERL's care. "We believe some will have permanent lameness issues due to neglect of their feet, but the rest are doing well," White said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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