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Woman charged with animal cruelty
Orange County woman faces animal cruelty charges after 20 dead horses found on farm

Date published: 8/18/2009

BY ROBIN KNEPPER

An Orange County farm owner who had been operating a rescue facility for polo ponies has been charged with animal cruelty and failure to properly dispose of dead animals.

Nancy Sorrel Mackall, 55, is scheduled to be in court Friday to face criminal misdemeanor charges, which include 10 counts of animal cruelty and 20 counts of failure to bury or cremate dead animals.

Ten horses and three dogs were removed from Mackall's Langley Farm in Mine Run Aug. 6 and placed in foster care. One horse is being cared for at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

"It was really nasty out there," said Sheriff's Chief Deputy Tim Murphy. "The animals definitely looked sick."

Neighbor Joanie Millward said she found the animals after receiving a call from Mackall asking her to check in on them.

"She told me she was in the hospital, so my husband and I went over there," Millward said. "I hadn't seen or heard from her for over a year. She used to run the Polo Pony Retirement Foundation and would occasionally call us to water her horses."

Millward said she found horses and dogs without food or water. Two horses in the barn were emaciated, the horses outside had nothing to eat and there was a stallion being kept in a horse trailer, she said.

One dog was in the house and two were kept in an outside building, Millward added.

The Millwards left food and water and called Animal Control the next morning.

Cruelty to horses in Virginia is a misdemeanor because they are considered livestock, not companion animals. Millward, who is caring for one of Mackall's dogs, said she hopes criminal charges are brought over the treatment of the dogs.

Mackall was in General District Court last week for a seizure hearing. The civil process brought by Orange County Animal Control resulted in prohibition against Mackall having horses for the next two years, her paying medical and boarding costs for the seized animals and paying the cost of someone caring for the animals remaining on her farm.

Robin Knepper: 540/972-5701
Email: rknepper@earthlink.net