When the story broke on October 20th this year, no one could ever imagine the horrific conditions they would find on this farm ironically named Peaceable Farm. Created as a non-profit animal rescue in 2011, the story does not begin in Orange County but a small community in Montgomery, Maryland.
According to news source NBC 29, troubles started back in January 2015 for this farm and its owners, Henry and Anne Goland. Matt Talhelm of NBC29 reported problems were called in by neighbors and people passing by the farm. Concerns for the animals were the main complaints to Animal Services in Montgomery County. The officers made numerous visits to the farm to check on the animals. After several warnings, the department issued a notification of Improper Drink charge, 5-201 (A)(10) meaning there wasn’t enough clean drinking water for the amount of animals on the property. Several of the officers stated the conditions were very unsanitary after their visits to the farm but never reported the animals themselves were in poor condition.
The couple has since divorced and Ms. Goland was handling farm matters with little or no help. Once she was charged with Improper Drink in Montgomery, MD, she packed up her horses and moved into the Somerset area of Orange County. She kept the name of her non-profit organization, Peaceable Farms. By this time, her farm had grown to include dogs, cats, mules, chickens and donkeys. She also was registered as a horse breeder.
Ms. Goland’s reported income for the year 2013 was $1,127,823.00 from contributions and grants. This had been an increase from $696,582.00 in 2011 and $1,000,826.00 in 2012, in contributions. Yet her farm home was deemed unfit to occupy by the Orange County building inspectors because there wasn’t any running water on the property.
The Animal Services of Orange were appalled by their findings when arriving at the farm. With dead horses, dogs, cats, chickens and mules, officials still transported more than eighty one animals from the farm. More than ten horses had to be euthanized while many more needed urgent medical attention. An Orange County official from the sheriff’s office said it was the most horrendous sight in his entire career.
Unfortunately, the story does not end here. The sheriff’s department has since learned Goland has several storage units from Virginia to Pennsylvania that will be part of this ongoing investigation. Ms. Goland, so far, has been charged with 27 counts of animal cruelty but Orange County Commonwealth Attorney, Dianna Wheeler, anticipates more charges will result as the investigation continues.
Many organizations have stepped up in the area to assist and help care for the remaining animals. As of late, Goland still has possession of seventeen animals and they are being cared for by friends or family members.
Anne Goland remains in jail in Orange County without bond pending her November 18 hearing, at which time she will have her criminal trial date set.