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Tenney facing animal cruelty charges in wake of new property search



Wendy Tenney makes her case at a county planning commission hearing on whether or not to extend her commercial breeding kennel permit. Her arguments may become more pressing if new criminal charges are filed. Royal Examiner File Photos

The woman who has filed a legal challenge of the Warren County Board of Supervisors authority to revoke her permit to operate a commercial dog breeding kennel had multiple animals seized from her property on Wednesday, September 12.

Wendy Tenney, who had her dog-breeding kennel permit revoked by the county supervisors on April 17 in the wake of a March 2017 kennel fire in which 16 dogs died, is now facing criminal charges related to animal cruelty and inadequate care.

According to a press release issued early Thursday afternoon from the Office of Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, a total of 30 dogs and cats were seized after an animal control deputy visited Tenney Wednesday, September 12, regarding some goats loose in the road in the vicinity of her 3-1/2 acre home property where her kennel had been located.

From the sheriff’s release on the matter: “The Warren County Sheriff’s Office reports on September 12, 2018 at approximately 10:30 a.m., Animal Control Deputy Gomez while on patrol observed several goats in the roadway at Limeton Church Rd. in Warren County. Deputy Gomez made contact with the owners, Brian and Wendy Tenney, at their residence located at 63 Limeton Church Rd.

“While speaking with Mrs. Tenney, Deputy Gomez heard multiple dogs barking from a locked garage on the property. Based on prior incidents related to the welfare of animals at this residence, Deputy Gomez asked to check the welfare of the animals located inside the garage. While checking the welfare of the animals, unclean and unsafe conditions were observed. Deputies responded to secure the garage and residence on the property while Deputy Gomez obtained a search warrant for the property.

“During the execution of the search warrant, 13 dogs were seized from the garage. One dog and eights cats were also seized from the residence and eight additional cats were seized that were running loose on the property. Based on the conditions, all of the animals were seized and are currently being evaluated, treated and cared for by the Humane Society of Warren County.”

According to the sheriff’s office, the goats remain in Tenney’s custody.

The sheriff’s office acknowledged the assistance of several agencies in the September 12 search and seizure of animals from the Tenney property, including: the Warren County Department of Social Services, Warren County Fire and Rescue, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for hazmat concerns, and especially the assistance provided by the staff from the Humane Society of Warren County.

The sheriff’s release notes that the case regarding pending charges of “Animal Cruelty” and “Inadequate Care” remains under investigation and asks “anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Deputy L Gomez at 540-635-4128 or by email at”

Perhaps ironically, Deputy Laura Gomez was in the middle of the county planning staff’s investigation and recommendation of revocation of Tenney’s commercial breeding kennel permit after the March 6, 2017 fire that killed 16 dogs in Tenney’s kennel on her 3-1/2 acre Gethsemane Ranch property. Gomez had been to the property a number of times regarding the kennel’s operation prior to the fatal fire. She was the officer who warned Tenney not to use space heaters as a means of permit compliance in a dog kennel due to documented dangers of dogs chewing on the wiring – something Tenney herself was reported acknowledging signs of to Gomez during one inspection of the kennel three months prior to the fatal fire.

Of the county kennel fire investigation, Royal Examiner reported, “The County fire investigation indicated the cause of the fire to be a space heater run from an electrical box investigators were told was wired without a county inspection or permit.”

Despite this evidence among other issues regarding cleanliness, noise and cancelled inspections described by county staff at the kennel prior to the fire, as also previously reported here, “In a series of letters Tenney aggressively shifted blame for the fire on county officials and codes.
“And again, for the record, the night of the fire I was in complete compliance according to Warren County Code. And, my dogs were up as it was after 10 p.m., according to code; and they had heat, according to code. They couldn’t escape and it Killed Them. They died adhering to Warren County Code,” Tenney wrote County Planning Director Taryn Logan on October 20, 2017.

As Lorraine Smelser listens, County Planner Taryn Logan explains that Ms. Tenney has received no scrutiny any business requiring a conditional use permit would receive – especially in the wake of a fatal fire.

Tenney has filed an appeal of county revocation of her permit on the grounds the county board of supervisors does not have the authority to revoke her permit, only their appointed zoning administrator, with any appeals being heard by the also-appointed Board of Zoning Appeals. Neither Tenney nor her attorney at the time, Jay Neal, expressed any opposition to the review process through the county planning commission and elected board during a process that ran from January through April 17 of this year.

Tenney has retained the services of new counsel, Michael Sharpe, in pursuing her permit revocation appeal. A hearing date of January 3, 2019 has been set in Warren County Circuit Court on Tenney’s appeal.


The MORE Program presents a video in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.



Photo and video by MORE students and Jennifer Avery, Jenspirations. Behind the scenes as the MORE Program students gather to film the next portion of their MLK video.

On Wednesdays, the MORE Program students work on their video and photography skills. Some students have shown natural talent in the director position, some as a manager organizing behind the scenes. There are students who love to ask interview questions and prompt thoughts, and others who love to be on camera.

Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC helps students edit video footage on Movie Maker to prepare for the final product.

This week our project was to organize and present a video on Martin Luther King, Jr. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy this 6 minute presentation on MLK. The students organized, directed, and filmed it all!

Some famous MLK quotes the students included:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


The MORE Program provides afternoon care to middle school students in Warren County. We provide healthy snacks, reinforce skills required for academic success, and provide hands-on enrichment activities that teach important lessons about future employment, health, and wellness. We provide all of this at no cost to parents, thanks to state and federal grants, the Warren Coalition, and Warren County Public Schools.

Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC
540-683-0790 |
1. Behind the scenes as the MORE Program students gather to film the next portion of their MLK video.
2. Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC helps students edit video footage on Movie Maker to prepare for the final product.

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Local News

Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team is taking on another Action Project



Conservation Greetings!

We are learning to be compassionate, global-minded, Earth stewards in Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team at Skyline High School. That means, taking what we learn about in class and using it to better the world. One of our Action Projects is to help clean up our waterways… from narrow streams that flow into the Shenandoah River, to the Potomac River, to the Chesapeake Bay, and on into the Atlantic Ocean. We have been horrified to see pictures of aquatic organisms suffering and dying after consuming and becoming entangled in plastics. How sad it is to learn that soon our oceans will have more plastic particles in them than fish!

Please help us change this! We want to raise awareness in a meaningful and ethical way through a “Buy One, Give One” fundraiser. We are selling cotton, organic, fair trade, reusable grocery bags along with an autographed copy of one of Ellie Jackson’s storybooks, “Duffy’s Lucky Escape!,” “Nelson’s Dangerous Dive,” or “Marli’s Tangled Tale.” Each story is based on the true story of a sea animal who has suffered because of human waste. Our goal is to not only bring awareness through the selling of the products, but also to educate our Warren County Kindergartners (almost 400) by “giving” one bag/book combo to each of them at an educational assembly that SHS students will present. We want to educate the children about the benefits to people and the Earth of using “organic,” “fair trade,” and “reusable” products. We hope the gifts and education will help motivate them and their families to carry it forward.

“Buy One, Give One”
Pick 1 Bag & Pick 1 Book = $35.00

CLICK HERE to download and fill out the order form. Drop off or mail the form to Kara Lewallen at Skyline High School. You can also contact Kara with any questions you may have by emailing or calling (540) 631-0366.

If you do not feel you can buy a bag and book, there are other ways to help…

  1. Reduce your plastic use.
  2. Recycle the recyclable plastics.
  3. Vote at the grocery store by choosing biodegradable packaging when possible.
  4. Educate others for the good of our Earth.

A tremendous THANK YOU to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative ($500), Walmart ($1,000), Gallant International, and Ellie Jackson for helping us make a positive difference!

With love for Earth and Organisms,
SHS Environmental Science, Ecology, & Green Team

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Local News

Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy



Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, USMC, staff photographer for "Leatherneck" magazine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. First Iwo Jima Flag Raising. Small flag carried ashore by the 2d Battalion, 28th Marines is planted atop Mount Suribachi at 1020, 23 February 1945 This picture is usually captioned as: 1st Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier with Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas, Jr. (both seated), PFC James Michels (in foreground with carbine), Sergeant Henry O. Hansen (standing, wearing soft cap), Corporal Charles W. Lindberg (standing, extreme right), on Mount Suribachi at the first flag raising. However, PFC Raymond Jacobs disputed these identifications,[1] and asserted that it should be: PFC James Robeson (lower left corner; not visible in this cropped version of the photo), Lieutenant Harold Schrier (sitting behind his legs), PFC Raymond Jacobs (carrying radio), Sergeant Henry Hansen (cloth cap), unknown (lower hand on pole), Sergeant Ernest Thomas (back to camera), Phm2c John Bradley (helmet above Thomas), PFC James Michels (with carbine), Cpl Charles Lindberg (above Michels).

On Wednesday, January 16th at 2:15 pm, Randolph-Macon Academy hosted a free presentation entitled, “Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy,” presented by Shayne Jarosz.

In addition to serving as the Director of Special Events for the Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc., Jarosz is a Marine Corps veteran and taught history for 28 years in Fairfax County. In his current position, he provides military historical tours to battlefield sites around the world, including Guadalcanal, Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, Korea and Vietnam. Jarosz’s presentation on Iwo Jima took place in Melton Memorial Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.

For more information, visit the Iwo Jima Association of America’s website.

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Local News

Why is my electric bill so high?



Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Front Royal Town Manager Joe Waltz spoke today (January 17th) with Mike McCool, Publisher of the Royal Examiner about the very question.

See related story.


The Department of Energy Services provides electrical services for almost 8,000 customers in the Town of Front Royal and Warren County. The Town has been providing this service for over 123 years while providing the best reliable service in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Town of Front Royal is one of sixteen municipal electric systems in Virginia and is one of over 2,000 municipal-owned systems in the United States. The Energy Resource Department is a self supported enterprise fund, with their total costs for operation derived through the electric rate structure.

The Town is also actively participating in both Federal and State legislation to maintain the safest, most reliable and economical cost available for our customers to keep rates low. They are active members in the following organizations:

Municipal Electric Power Association of Virginia (MEPAV).
American Municipal Power – Ohio (AMP-Ohio).
American Public Power Association (APPA).
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA).

The operation of an electrical system is a twenty-four hour, 365 day a year job. The Town of Front Royal Electric Department strives to keep your lights on and your power outages to a minimum. Even during the worst conditions be assured that your friends and neighbors at the Energy Services Department will be working hard to restore your power.

Their mission is to provide the best quality power and customer service while keeping the price low and service interruptions to a minimum. If you have suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to contact them.

Online contact form.

1101 Manassas Avenue
Front RoyalVA 22630
Phone: 540-635-3027
Fax: 540-631-3620
Monday – Friday
7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
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Local News

Citizens speak out about high electric bills



Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

On January 14, 2019,  Front Royal Town Council held a public hearing to amend Front Royal Municipal Town Code Chapter 70 pertaining to Electricity to bring it up-to-date and consistent with other areas of the Town Code, as presented. Several citizen spoke to the the Council about their utility bills and why their electric bills are so high.

See related story here.

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Local News

Pedestrian struck near Rural King in Front Royal



FRONT ROYAL – A pedestrian was struck by a pickup truck Tuesday afternoon in front of Rural King Front Royal Police say.

According to a press release from the office of Chief Kahle Magalis, a call came in around 3 p.m. regarding a pedestrian struck in front of the retail store, located at 465 South Street in the Royal Plaza Shopping Center.

Responding officers found the pedestrian, Jeffrey Richardson, 40, of Reliance, lying in the parking lot.  The release states that “it was determined that Richardson was struck by a 2011 Ford F-150 operated by Thomas Clark, 83, of Front Royal.”

Clark stated to officers that his foot had slipped off the brake while going over a speed bump and his foot made contact with the accelerator, which caused him to accidentally strike Richardson.

Richardson was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Winchester Medical Centers Trauma Unit for observation.

No charges have been placed against the driver at this time.

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