Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18880
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull), horse
More cases in Nelson County, VA
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Drugs or alcohol involved
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Anthony Martin
Defense(s): Frank Mika,Samantha Freed
Judge(s): Steve Helvin


For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Monday, Nov 21, 2011

County: Nelson

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony Non-CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Tracey Davis
» Joyce Davis

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

A couple from Nelson County Virginia is facing after dozens of federal agents descended on their home Monday.

Authorities said they found several abused animals. The search isn't over.

At least 20 malnourished dogs, two horses and dozens of birds rescued were rescued from the home.

Federal agents swarmed the property on Rooster Ridge Road in Beech Grove just off of Route 664, not far from Wintergreen Resort. Investigators with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Alcohol Beverage Control were there to serve the warrant at the home of Tracey Davis.

The property in the small Nelson County community of Beech Grove belongs to 71-year-old Tracy Davis and his wife, Joyce.

Tracy Davis is being held without bond at the Albemarle County Regional Jail. He is facing 15 felony counts of possession of a dangerous weapon while illegally manufacturing unlawful alcohol, 28 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and one count of transporting illegally acquired alcohol. Joyce Davis, 61, posted a $5,000 bond. She is facing 28 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

A 25-member rescue team with the humane society was on hand to help with the animals.

The animal rescue team is bringing all of the animals here about a quarter of a mile from Davis' house. Each animal is getting checked out in the mobile vet clinic and loaded up into that rig where they're being taken to a shelter for safe keeping.

How long the abuse and neglect has been going on depends on who you talk to.

The President of the Nelson County Humane Society, Betty Grahame, says her office has fielded numerous calls over the years about alleged animal abuse on the Davis property, and as recently as a few months ago reported it to Nelson County Animal Control.

"Animal control told us they were familiar with the situation and they had been up there. They felt his animals were being cared for, so they didn't feel there was any need for people to be concerned. We let it go at that point," Grahame said

Officials with animal control told CBS19 they made several visits to the Davis property in the past year and never found signs of neglect or abuse. However, the 25 members of the Humane Society who were at the residence Monday paint a very different picture, reporting the animals were in "very poor condition".

Neighbors say Davis was known to hunt black bears and officials close to the investigation say there are reports that Davis was selling bear gallbladders on the black market.

"Known him for a long time. He's lived here at least as long as I have--known to have a lot of animals. Done a lot of hunting, but I don't think this is the first time he's been in trouble," says neighbor Brian Roberts.

Neighbors say Davis is also known in the area for making moonshine, and they say this bust was a long time coming.

The couple is now facing 56 charges.


Case Updates

A Roseland couple was convicted of more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty, which resulted from a search of their residence last November.

Tracy Davis, 71, was convicted of 14 counts and his wife, Joyce Davis, 62, was convicted of 15 counts on Monday in the county's General District Court. All but one of the convictions involved the treatment of dogs. The other conviction concerned a pig.

Tracy Davis was also charged with 15 counts of felony possession of a dangerous weapon while illegally manufacturing, selling or transporting unlawful alcohol. Eleven of these charges were certified in General District Court in March. That case was to be heard in Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon, after the deadline for this week's paper.

Judge Steve Helvin, a retired judge from Charlottesville, sentenced the couple to 60 days in jail for each animal cruelty conviction with the entire sentence suspended. The couple is also not allowed to own any animals for two years.

After two years, they can own animals but will have to undergo monthly inspections from Virginia's animal control office. The cost of these inspections and any veterinarian inspections the animal control office deems necessary will be paid for by the Davises. If this is violated, they will go to jail for 60 days.

"It's not always a clear case, but it was clear to me that this was neglect," Helvin said.

Helvin said one of the biggest factors in his decision to not give jail time and acquit the couple on some charges " they originally faced 28 " was testimony from one of the county's animal control officers, who said she saw the animals fed during her several visits and deemed the animals' shelters to be adequate. He also said he felt cruelty should be more than minimal veterinarian care, which is what some of the animals required.

Joyce Davis' attorney, Frank Mika, said he was surprised his client had been convicted of more cases than her husband because she did not hunt with the dogs and, aside from purchasing food occasionally, was not very involved in the animals' treatment. He referenced earlier testimony which showed the couple spent hundreds of dollars on food for the animals.

He said one of the Pomeranians she owned was old and sick. He said she hadn't put it to sleep yet because it was a hard decision.

"We're selfish and when you love something you want to keep it around as long as possible," he said.

The commonwealth's attorney, Anthony Martin, asked the couple not be allowed to have animals for two years and that they serve a jail sentence. He referenced previous testimony, which said Tracy Davis talked about how the dogs should not be fed much since they are hunting dogs, and how one witness said he saw Tracy Davis kick a dog. Martin also mentioned some of the animals' infections and the photographs submitted to the court as evidence in a previous hearing.

"There's no excuse for these animals to have softball-sized tumors or infections running out of their noses," Martin said.

Tracy Davis' defense attorney, Samantha Freed, said she found it curious that the officers who testified had been around the animals for a while and had not reported it until later on in the case.

She also said the Davises had provided food, water and shelter for the animals but this might have been a case of too many animals at the residence for the Davises to take care of.

Helvin said the animal cruelty statute includes neglect and intentional harm.

"The animal doesn't distinguish what is intentional and what is neglect," he said. "However, the law does and this is more of a neglect case."

Both defense attorneys urged the judge not to give jail time because taking the animals from the Davises was enough of a punishment.

Joyce Davis' attorney also asked the judge to allow the couple to keep the farm animals because they lived on a farm and used the animals as part of their livelihood.

The judge said, "It was very difficult."
Source: News Advance
Update posted on May 11, 2012 - 4:04PM 
A man and his wife are due back in court after an unusual raid at their home in Nelson County.

Tracy and Joyce Davis both face 28 counts of animal cruelty after Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents raided their home and seized animals in November. Deputies seized a number of malnourished hunting dogs, chickens and horses, along with an illegal distillery and guns from the couple's home.

Their court date has been postponed to March 19 because attorneys feel an entire day should be dedicated to the case.

Tracy Davis also faces charges of selling and transporting unlawful alcohol and possessing various firearms.
Source: nbc29.com - Feb 9, 2012
Update posted on Feb 9, 2012 - 11:26PM 

References

« VA State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Nelson County, VA

Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.

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