Butterball workers arrested on animal cruelty charge
Posted February 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Hoke County deputies have arrested two men sought on animal cruelty charges at a Butterball turkey farm.
Billy Thomas McBryde, 52, of 22-A West Gate Terrace in Red Springs, surrendered late last week, and Brian Gerrard Douglas, 35, of 7140 Laurinburg Road in Raeford, was arrested Thursday.
Garner-based Butterball said five current and former workers at the Shannon farm were charged with animal cruelty last week. Three of the workers were fired in January, and the other two were suspended last week, the company said.
The other three men, Ruben Mendoza and Terry Johnson, no ages or addresses available, and Ronnie Jacobs, 57, of 4475 Rockfish Road, Lot 22 in Raeford, were arrested last week.
The charges stem from a Dec. 29 raid by Hoke County deputies at a Butterball farm in Shannon. Animal-rights group Mercy for Animals made a hidden-camera video that showed farm workers beating and stomping on turkeys.
Investigators found some turkeys at the farm were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized.
Dr. Sarah Mason, director of animal health programs in the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Poultry Division, called a veterinarian for Butterball six days before the raid to inform him that Hoke County prosecutors were reviewing the undercover video.
Mason pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and resisting, delaying or obstructing officers. She was placed on probation for a year.
The agriculture department suspended Mason for two weeks without pay following an internal investigation of the incident.