Prince William farm operators charged with animal cruelty

The operators of a Prince William County farm were charged Thursday with dozens of counts of animal cruelty for allegedly keeping 17 horses, 19 sheep, four dogs, a cow, a llama, and dozens more animals in filthy conditions.

Larry D. Sams, the proprietor of Cross States Stables in Bristow, wasconvicted last year of misdemeanor charges of inadequate care for agricultural animals. He was charged Thursday with 57 counts of animal cruelty.

Prince William police said that his daughter Carolyn Sams, also an owner of the farm, was charged with animal cruelty.

The Samses did not immediately answer a phone call or email message to the farm, and the gate to the property’s long driveway was locked Thursday afternoon.

In an affidavit for a search warrant, a Prince William County police officer said that a citizen called police in April to alert them of ailing horses and dogs under Sams’ care.


Larry Dale Sams (Prince William County Police)

The officer and a veterinarian who searched the property three days after that call found many animals that were sick and housed in unsanitary conditions.

One horse examined by the veterinarian had an open wound that was green and oozing, and a white rabbit was missing an ear. Many of the 27 rabbits and roughly 50 poultry were housed in cages where they could not access food or water, and almost all cages were covered in feces, according to the affidavit.

A German shepherd named Sam was running in circles and biting himself in a poorly-lit enclosure, and a pitbull named Smiley had a leg so swollen he could hardly stand on it.

The affidavit says that the police officer asked Carolyn Sams about Smiley’s leg. Sams said she thought the dog had jumped from a two-story window the night before.

On its Facebook page and on websites that advertise local farms, Cross States Stables says it offers riding lessons, pony parties, and animal sales.

A sign outside the farm on Nokesville Road advertises “Goats, Lambs, Sheep, Taking Orders for Halal for Eid.” The affidavit says that the farm has a slaughtering area in the rear, where an officer found bags of animal entrails and body parts including feet and hides that had not been disposed of and were covered in maggots.

Police said they seized four dogs, two horses, one cow, and 52 more animals from the property. Police said that they are being kept by animal control. She said there were other horses stabled at Cross States that are not owned by the Samses, and the county is working on removing them.

Larry and Carolyn Sams are scheduled to appear in court on June 3.

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Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
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