Two charged with animal cruelty

Two Timberville residents are facing charges of animal cruelty and inadequate care of agriculture animals after Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office deputies found 65 to 70 goats in poor condition without an adequate water supply on their property.

The Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant Sunday after receiving photographs taken Sept. 16 of a dead goat and a dead calf in a hay pile at 776 S. Middle Road. According to the warrant, the goat had been sick for a week, and its owner, Debra Ann Bracelin, 55, did not seek veterinary care for the goat.

The warrant also states that the owner of the calf, Dean Henry Romeo, 60, left it lying for more than a week without seeking veterinary care before shooting it.

Following the search, Bracelin was charged with five counts of inadequate care for an animal, and one count of animal cruelty. Romeo was charged with one count of each. The two live at the Middle Road residence.

Capt. Wes Dellinger of the Sheriff’s Office said officers began working on the warrant following a tip from a citizen.

“During the search, we found inadequate conditions from some of the animals there,” he said. “They didn’t have an adequate water supply, some of the animals were disease infected, and some also had some hooving problems.”

The warrant states there are between 65 and 70 goats at the farm harboring medical conditions. Some are limping, have “snotty noses,” or respiratory infections. Some cannot stand to nurse their babies.

During the search, deputies seized one Stevens Model 305 .22 caliber rifle. Dellinger said they also organized for eight animals to be moved from the residence to receive veterinary care and adequate housing elsewhere in the county, while Romeo and Bracelin tend to the rest.

Dellinger said one of the eight animals was later euthanized. “… it was just in such bad condition that it couldn’t recover from that,” he said.

The warrant also states there was a dog at the property missing a “significant” amount of hair, and two underweight calves.

This case comes in the wake of a similar animal abuse case settled in Shenandoah County General District Court last week. In that case, a couple pleaded guilty to a combined 12 counts of animal cruelty and were ordered to pay almost $4,000 in restitution.

Bracelin and Romeo were released on a $1,000 unsecured bond, and are set to report to Shenandoah County General District Court at 2 p.m. Oct. 28.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or

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