Charles City County farmer found guilty of animal cruelty

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CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A jury in Charles City County found Resi Connell, owner of the Independence Funie Farm, guilty of six animal cruelty charges on Friday after prosecutors argued she subjected her animals to a life of hunger and they were slowly wasting away.

In July, Connell was stripped of more than two dozen animals, including her horses, goats and sheep, after claims that she deprived them of food, water and emergency veterinary care.

In court on Friday, prosecutors presented multiple photos showing thin and bony horses and goats. An animal control officer and veterinarian told the jury they found no hay and very little water on Connell’s property. They also testified to finding the remains of two horses and at least three goats.

Connell took the stand and said her animals had food and water 24/7. She presented purchase orders and receipts for hay and feed. Connell also claimed flooding and a bad batch of hay sickened her animals, which left them thin but she said she was nurturing them back to health.

In the end, the jury didn’t buy Connell’s claims and found her guilty of six out of 10 counts of animal cruelty.

Connell declined to comment after the ruling. She will have to pay $1,200 in fines. She will not spend time behind bars, however.

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