Charles City County farm owner indicted on animal cruelty charges

Taking Action

A Charles City County woman stripped of her farm animals is now facing criminal charges. A grand jury has indicted Theresia Connell, better known as ‘Resi,’ on 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Those charges include depriving animals of food.

Connell owns the Independence Funie Farm in Charles City County, which she also uses to operate a farming high school. In June, the Sheriff’s Office raided the property and removed from her care more than two dozen animals including horses, ponies, goats and sheep.

Investigators claimed there was little food, hay or water on the property for the animals and a neighbor described the horses as just skin and bones.

“They remind me of Holocaust victims, I am sorry to say,” said George Cooke.

A veterinarian testified during the initial court case that the animals were emaciated and that their hooves and teeth were in bad shape. However, in a recent interview with 8News, Connell denied allegations of abuse or neglect. She showed 8News tanks where she claims she kept food and water. She admitted some of the animals were thin but told us they had gotten sick from a bad batch of hay.

“The horses we’ve had some issues, they came off the winter a little bit thin,” she said. “I have one that had cancer that is pretty sick. We had a load of hay that was delivered that was loaded with I think it’s called ‘foxtail.’

Connell added, “the first sign we noticed was their mouths, they were just bleeding so they had ulcers and cuts. It keeps them from taking up nutrients they need. So, they lost weight pretty quickly.”

In that interview, Connell vowed to get more farm animals. If convicted, she could be banned from owning animals. She could also face jail time and fines.

8News reached out to Connell regarding the indictment and she told us she didn’t know about it. Connell’s due back in court next month.

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