Animal-Dumping No-Show

Animal-Dumping No-Show

Suspect who worked for animal shelter and cremation firm skips court.

In May, a West Virginia grand jury indicted the three men authorities believe are responsible for improperly disposing of thousands of pounds of animal remains — a great deal of which came from Chantilly.

BUT WHEN it came time for their arraignment, only two of the men showed up. The third, Ronald Lee Henry Jr. — who'd been entrusted by his employer to arrange for the animals' lawful burial — failed to appear.

It was discovered in late January that more than 4,000 pounds of animal carcasses had been found dumped in a pile in a forested area near Capon Bridge, W. Va.

Until these dead animals were found, Family Pet Cremations had a contract with both Fairfax and Montgomery counties to cremate animals from their shelters. But when animals from both shelters — more than 250 total — were found in West Virginia, the contracts were cancelled.

In February, Family Pet Cremations placed the blame on a "subcontractor" who worked full time for Fairfax County's Animal Shelter and part time for the crematorium. This subcontractor was Henry, 38, of 22309 St. Louis Road in Middleburg.

Attorney Bill Schewe, representing the business, explained that "when the crematorium's incinerator was out of service, it hired a subcontractor to dispose of the animals. They were to be buried on a farm in Winchester properly, and the individual in question was paid [to take care of it]."

But the animals were never buried and, some time during the weekend of Jan. 28-29, they were found by a local resident on private land in Hampshire County, W. Va. The huge pile was discovered in a subdivision with new roads being developed.

Members of the Hampshire County Sheriff's Department, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Section and Fairfax County police all began investigating.

Then on May 8, the Hampshire County grand jury indicted Henry, along with Jason Scott Light, 21, of P.O. Box 262 in Capon Bridge; and Shane Douglas Richmond, 27, of P.O. Box 75 in Capon Bridge. Each is charged with one count of creating an open dump and one count of unlawful disposal of litter.

ALL THREE men were to be arraigned on these offenses May 22, but only Light and Richmond came to court. According to the Hampshire County Circuit Court clerk, Henry failed to appear and hasn't yet been apprehended.

Light and Richmond are next scheduled for Aug. 15 court dates, at which time they'll decide whether to enter pleas or have trials. But before the cases against Henry may proceed further, authorities will have to find him.