HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hanover County Animal Control seized over 80 animals from a property in Mechanicsville after a search warrant was executed on Tuesday and over 20 livestock animals were found dead.

According to authorities, 85 animals in total were rescued — including pigs, goats, sheep, horses, a mule, cows and chickens — while 23 livestock animals were found dead in a barn.

This wasn’t the first time Animal Control had been called to the property on Mattawan Trail, according to officers, they have been called to the property 160 times since 2019.

“There were a large number of calls for service, investigations and welfare checks,” a Hanover County spokesperson told 8News. “Hanover County Animal Control has confirmed that many were unfounded or did not rise to the level of county action by the laws of Virginia. Initially, there were instances where Hanover Animal Control used the opportunity during these calls for education and guidance for the animal owner, as is a best practice. As the situation progressed, county animal control took action and some of these instances are now working through the courts.”

8News spoke with Henry Miller, one of the property’s neighbors, who said seeing animal control and other agencies at the house yesterday was a long time coming.

“It just didn’t make sense,” Miller said. “You don’t raise all those different types of animals in the same pasture.”

Miller said he and his wife had called a number of times complaining of issues they saw at the property, including the abuse of animals.

“We saw them kill ducks, geese, baby goats,” he said. “I’m not sure he knew what he was doing.”

Neighbors told 8News that multiple animals would escape from the barn onto their property. One neighbor even told 8News that eight hogs were behind their house.

In addition to the animals seized,  officers made the grueling discovery of 23 dead livestock animals and chickens on the property. surrounding agencies also stepped in to help remove the animals.

“All the neighbors down the street were clapping and cheering. It’s about time,” said Miller.

As for the rescued animals, they are being housed at numerous facilities to receive care. The 23 deceased animals are being examined to determine their cause of death.