The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

October 7, 2013

Four arrest on animal cruelty charges

TARBORO — Four suspects were taken into custody on Sept. 27 by the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department after the residence they were living in was ruled inhumane.

The residence had 43 unhealthy animals living inside the residence with four adults and two small children 1 and 2-years old.

The sheriff's department and Department of Social Services (DSS) were called to the residence at 1890 O'Neal Road in Whitakers after they received information that home was in such bad shape that it was not inhabitable.

When law enforcement and DSS officials arrived, they observed a pile of trash outside the home and trash piled up inside the residence as well. When officials went inside they discovered the home was infested with insects.

Officials determined that the home was unfit for anyone to live in and took the two children away from the home and placed them in the homes of approved family members.

The animals were also removed from the residence and examined by veterinarians for their health issues. All of the animals, which consisted of dogs, cats and other small animals suffered from various medical conditions ranging from malnourishment, flea infestation and mange. Each of the animals has been temperament tested for adoptability determination.

The animals were placed at the fairgrounds until they could be evaluated by medical staff.

"I want to thank everyone who was involved in this case with their help in assisting the sheriff's department," Sheriff James Knight said. "The deputies and animal control officers did a good job and I want to thank them for their hard work."

Officers charged 37-year-old Cachet Turner, 21-year-old Dustin Joe Turner, 20-year-old Kyla Brelo and 56-year-old Joy Gurganus, each of the residence, with 43 counts of cruelty to animals and one count each of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. They were each given unsecured bonds and released from custody pending their Nov. 7 court dates in Edgecombe County District Court.

Cruelty to animals is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by law according to the North Carolina General Statutes. For each conviction per charge they can be punished and sentenced from 45 days in jail to as much as 120 days.

The Humane Society of the United States, Nash and Edgecombe County Emergency Services, Animal Control Officers from Rocky Mount, Wilson County and Tarboro assisted with the animal rescue and care. Norman Chambliss was contacted and let the sheriff's department use the fairgrounds to house the animals while they were being temperament tested.

Anyone interested in adopting or rescuing any of the animals can contact the Edgecombe County Animal Shelter at 641-4112.

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