30 animals seized from the owner of burned-down kennel

Warren County Animal Control seized 30 animals Wednesday from the owner of a kennel that burned down in a March 2017 fire, according to a Warren County Sheriff’s Office news release. 

The fire at Wendy Tenney’s 63 Limeton Church Road kennel resulted in the death of a dozen-plus Australian Shepherds. This led to the Board of Supervisors’ April decision to revoke the kennel’s conditional use permit, citing a history of non-compliance with conditions. 

Animal control officers noted a space heater with frayed wiring as a potential cause of the fire, but Tenney has insisted that not to be the case. 

The release states that Animal Control Deputy Laura Gomez was on patrol around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Limeton Church Road area when she observed goats in the roadway.

The release states that Gomez located the goat owners, Brian and Wendy Tenney, at their home where she “heard multiple dogs barking from a locked garage on the property.”

The release states that “based on prior incidents related to the welfare of animals at the residence,” Gomez asked to check on the animals in the garage. The release states that “unclean and unsafe conditions were observed” during the check.

The release states that deputies responded to the scene and secured the garage and residence while Gomez obtained a search warrant. During execution of the warrant, the release states that 13 dogs were seized from the garage. Additionally, one dog and eight cats were seized from the residence along with eight cats running loose on the property.

Gomez could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The release states that the animals are being “evaluated, treated and cared for” at the Humane Society of Warren County.

Kayla Wines, Warren County Humane Society shelter manager, said over the phone that she could not comment on the animals’ condition due to the matter being under investigation. She said the animals are not up for adoption.

She added that the shelter was full before the Tenney’s animals arrived and the shelter has shut down intake.

Agencies that assisted the Sheriff’s Office included the Warren County Department of Social Services, Warren County Fire and Rescue and Shenandoah County Animal Control. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also responded in relation to a hazmat concern.

The Department of Social Services declined to comment on its involvement in the case.

The Tenneys have challenged the revocation of the conditional use permit, and the matter is set for a 1 p.m. Jan. 3 civil court hearing. 

County Attorney Dan Whitten said over the phone that he would have to “wait and see” if the Tenneys wish to proceed with the civil case.

Whitten added that the Tenneys were not in violation by keeping the animals at the house, which the county agreed to pending the civil case.

The release states that the matter is under investigation and charges are pending for animal cruelty and inadequate care. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Gomez at 540-635-4128.