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Farm owner, children hit with 132 indictments in animal cruelty case

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 18:19:39-04

NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. – A Nottoway woman and two of her children have been hit with 132 indictments by a Nottoway County Grand Jury in the animal cruelty case involving 40 horses being seized from their farm on February.

The indictment came down against Robin Vince, her daughter, Rhiannan Vitiello, and her son Edward Peterson, Jr. on Tuesday, July 5.

The horses were seized from Vince’s farm on February 26.

Thursday Vince and Vitiello were each indicted on 40 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the 40 seized horses, and 4 counts of felony animal cruelty for 4 dead horses found on the property.

According to Nottoway County Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry J. Royall, the charges against Vince and Vitiello for the dead horses are felonies because each of them has been convicted of animal cruelty within the past five years.

Vince was convicted of animal cruelty in Nottoway in 2014.

In addition, Peterson, Jr., was indicted on 44 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the 40 seized horses and the 4 dead horses.

Vitiello and her sister, Allura Peterson, as well as Peterson’s father, Edward Peterson, Sr., are also facing animal cruelty charges in Charles City County which resulted from a seizure of 20 horses there approximately one week prior to the Nottoway County seizure.

Officials said it was the seizure of horses at the Charles City home of Vince’s daughter that led them to the Nottoway property.

The 40 horses seized from Vince’s Nottoway farm have been forfeited to the county following a three day civil hearing where the seizure was upheld.

The county has now signed the horses over to several Virginia horses rescue organizations, who are in the process of placing the horses with suitable adopters.