A Greenbrier County judge issued an order Tuesday morning that placed some 180 animals found in poor condition on farms owned by Grady Whitlock into the temporary custody of the county’s humane officer.
The order was issued as a result of a civil action filed by Greenbrier Prosecutor Patrick I. Via seeking the seizure of the animals to allow humane officer Cpl. Todd Williams of the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department to “properly provide care and maintenance” to them.
The complaint notes Williams investigated reports of dead horses on Whitlock’s farm near Crawley Feb. 9. There, the officer discovered 32 deceased horses and approximately 80 other horses in poor condition “resulting from deprivation of necessary sustenance and/or proper medical treatment.”
Three days later, on Feb. 12, Williams found four dead horses and two dead cows on another Whitlock-owned farm located in or near Lewisburg, according to the complaint. At that site, more than 100 head of horses and cattle were judged by a veterinarian to be in a condition similar to that of the horses at the farm near Crawley (Shawver’s Crossing).
In the temporary order issued Tuesday, Chief Circuit Judge Joseph C. Pomponio Jr. directed, “The Greenbrier County humane officer may keep the subject animals on the real estate of the defendant where they are currently situated, and may, together with others at his direction and control, enter onto the subject real estate to attend to the care and maintenance of the animals.”
The order further provides that the animals may be moved at the discretion of the humane officer, although none of the animals may be moved upon the direction of Whitlock without Williams’ express authorization.
The temporary order will remain in effect until the court rules further in the case.