Animal complaint leads to recovery of more than $500,000 in stolen property

HOLMES COUNTY – An anonymous report of animal neglect resulted in the rescue of several dogs from deplorable conditions, as well as the recovery of more than half a million dollars in stolen property.

A deputy with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1318 Highway 177-A after a caller reported dogs being locked inside a horse trailer on the property without access to food or water.

Once on scene, the deputy observed six Rottweilers inside two stock trailers. There was no food or water inside the trailers, and the dogs appeared as though they had been enclosed there for an extended period of time.

While on the property, the deputy observed, in plain sight, at least eight utility trailers, boats, two tractors, and other equipment, with a total value exceeding $500,00. A further investigation revealed the property to have been stolen from locations in Holmes and surrounding counties, as well as from far away as Mobile, Alabama and the state of Indiana.

A search warrant was later executed at the property, at which time investigators also located thousands of dollars in more stolen merchandise.

Anthony Rayburn

Investigators are looking for two subjects in connection with the investigation, 57-year-old Anthony D. Rayburn and 57-year-old Carla S. Vance, both last known to be in Tennessee.

Carla Vance

Rayburn is currently charged with felony cruelty to animals, and warrants are being obtained for both Rayburn and Vance for trafficking in stolen property. More charges could be forthcoming.

The dogs from inside the trailer, as well as seven others found on the property, were turned over to the care of Florida Rottweiler Rescue Ranch. For more information on adoption or assisting in their recovery, email FRRR Rescue Coordinator Renee Haden-Knost at:

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Rayburn or Vance is asked to contact HCSO at 850-547-4421, option 1.

Sheriff John Tate would like to thank the agencies who assisted in this investigation: Geneva Police Department, Geneva County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol Criminal Investigations, and Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Tate also extends his sincere appreciation to the public for providing information in this case, as well as and to the HCSO deputies for their exemplary work.