A little over a year after one of the nation’s largest “puppy mill” bust in Hillsville, 63 dogs were seized from another Hillsville man on Thursday.
According to Virginia State Police Spokesman and Sgt. Michael Conroy, 63 dogs were removed from Coulson Church Road in Hillsville. The dogs were owned by David Winesett, Conroy said. He said Special Agent Brad Burnette obtained a search warrant for the residence after the state police investigated a complaint of possible animal neglect.
“After we served the search warrant, we then contacted state veterinarian Dr. Dana Miller,” Conroy said. “This is an ongoing investigation so we can’t comment on specifics and the condition of the dogs, but based on consulting with Dr. Miller, all 63 dogs were removed from the property.”
Angels of Assisi, an animal rescue group out of Roanoke, picked up most of the dogs in conjunction with Dr. Miller and offered assistance in taking care of the animals, Conroy said. The majority of the dogs were terriers and small toy breeds, he said.
Conroy said no charges have been placed against Winesett as of yet.
“Our first priority was to make sure to take care of the immediate needs of the canines and that was done through the state, the state veterinarian’s office as well as Angels of Assisi,” Conroy said. “We will take our findings along with the state vet’s findings and they will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for his decision.”
Conroy said a civil hearing will occur in Carroll County General District Court within 10 business days in regard to the placement of the dogs.
According to county officials, Winesett was an animal control officer in Carroll County from 1979-1989.
More than 880 animals were rescued from Horton’s Pups in Hillsville beginning on Nov. 1, 2007 after owner Junior Horton agreed to surrender the dogs after a five-month investigation by the Humane Society of the United States. That particular rescue operation has been called the largest of its kind in the United States, which led to legislation regarding the puppy mill industry.