Horton, owner of Horton’s Pups, was found guilty of 14 counts of animal cruelty, 25 counts of neglect and one count of failing to obtain a license tax by Carroll County General District Court Judge Edward M. Turner III on May 15, 2008, stemming from what was described at the time as the largest puppy mill rescue in the nation when Horton released more than 700 dogs to authorities in November of 2007. Horton lost an appeal last August in Carroll County Circuit Court, then was denied again in March by the Virginia Court of Appeals.
Horton still had the option to appeal to a three-judge panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals, but he did not pursue another appeal, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory G. Goad said. Because of a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2009, commercial dog breeders in Virginia were no longer allowed to keep more than 50 dogs over the age of one year. The new law also bans anyone with animal cruelty convictions from breeding again in Virginia, which means Horton can no longer possess to sale any dogs in the state.
Horton will now appear in Carroll County General District Court on May 1 for 15 new charges relating to an unannounced inspection of his operations on Jan. 27. The new charges are 12 counts of animal neglect by a dealer, maintaining more than 50 adult dogs, failing to maintain adequate records on the dogs, and failing to have certificates that the dogs are healthy enough for breeding.