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Raid on Chatham farm leads to animal cruelty charges against mother, daughter

Posted November 9, 2015

Stephane Joostema, left, and Constance Joostema
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— Chatham County authorities have filed animal cruelty charges against an Apex woman and her daughter in connection with a summer raid on a farm northwest of Pittsboro in which about 190 animals were seized.

Stephane Joostema, 53, of 902 Olive St., was charged with 17 counts of felony animal cruelty and 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Constance Joostema, 22, of the same address, was charged with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.

Following the July 15 raid on the farm at 3180 Silk Hope Gum Springs Road, Stephane Joostema told a WRAL News crew that her animals weren't mistreated.

"Cruelty is the most insane word to use for someone like me," she said, noting that the animals were all rescues she had accumulated over the years.

She said in July that she provided a good home for them until she was injured in a car accident and had been making improvements to their conditions at the time of the raid.

Local and national animal protection groups spent months planning the raid, authorities said, after repeated attempts to help Stephane Joostema resolve a hoarding issue failed. Dozens of dogs and cats, as well as some horses and livestock were taken from the farm, and many of the animals were in need of veterinary care. Some had permanent disfigurement.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that its investigators worked with the Humane Society, Chatham County Animal Services, the Chatham County Health Department and other groups to evaluate the extent of abuse inflicted upon the animals.

Stephane Joostems was released on bond Monday evening.

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  • Wayne Douglas III Nov 9, 2015
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    I feel sorry for the guy that this young lady eventually marries. Knowing that in 30 years she will look like sweet old Mommy.

  • Charlotte Baggett Nov 9, 2015
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    hoarders always call themselves rescuers, but they cannot provide real care for the animals who disfigured and diseased.... what are they thinking???