30 animals stolen from Ashland petting farm

Published: Nov. 12, 2013 at 4:27 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2013 at 9:21 PM EST
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ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - At least 30 animals from an Ashland petting farm have vanished- apparently stolen. A coop at the Hanover Vegetable Farm, full of chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, and even a peacock, is now empty. Sunday morning, the owners were stunned to discover the animals were gone.

The Hanover Vegetable Farm not only sells fresh produce, but provides an opportunity for visitors to meet friendly farm animals like horses, pigs, goats, and all the characters in the chicken coop.

"We had 25 chickens, ten rabbits, three turkeys and a peacock," said Hunter Sears. His father Jeff reminded him of the ducks, also part of the gang which is regularly fed by visitors.

Jeff Sears says the heist is certainly puzzling, as well as disturbing.

"Who would come take all of them? What would they do with them all?" questioned Jeff Sears.

Whoever stole the animals had to maneuver through a relatively small gate, hop a chicken wire fence, and crouch underneath a net, which spans the coop. Next, the thieves would have had to chase down and catch all thirty animals, securing them in some sort of cage.

"You'd have to have a truck and probably two to three people to catch them… It would have been a lot of noise...a lot of commotion," theorized Jeff Sears.

"I know it wasn't an easy thing to do, trying to catch a peacock normally doesn't go over too well," added Hunter.

Now, thousands of visitors will miss out on meeting the farm's animals.

"Over the past month, there have probably been about 9,000 different people here, with different schools and organizations coming out for field trips," explained Hunter.

It is uncertain where these animals are, what condition they're in, and if they'll ever return home. The Hanover Sheriff's Office is investigating. Anyone who may know anything about this crime is asked to call the Hanover Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

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