Local News

Robeson Woman Sentenced On Animal Cruelty Charges

Posted May 14, 2004

— A breeder accused of neglecting animals and leaving hundreds to rot outside is going to jail.

Authorities charged Mary Meekins with more than 150 counts, including animal cruelty. Investigators videotaped dogs so thin that you could see their bones. They also found a horse with half a hoof, animals missing body parts and hundred of carcasses scattered throughout the yard.

"I have never even seen anything like this in my life," investigator Katherine Floyd said. "Justice had to be brought for these animals and if I have to walk around with a cup in my hand and beg for money to pay these vet bills, I will," investigator Katherine Floyd said.

Meekins pleaded guilty in Robeson County court and asked Judge Greg Bell for probation, but he sentenced her to 90 days in jail and forbid her from ever owning animals.

"I'm just sorry it all happened," she said.

Bell also had some words for Meekins.

"Here's what concerns me when I look at the videotape. Those dogs look like they weren't well-fed, but she looks very well-fed," he said.

Many people in the courtroom shed tears, including some who sold their pets to Meekins.

"[I] just don't believe they got justice today. I really don't," said Ann Adams, Meekins' customer.

Prosecutors said North Carolina's animal cruelty laws are not strict enough. While stealing a dog in a felony, starving a dog to death is just a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for these cases is a $1,500 fine and two years in jail for each charge.

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