Local News

Raeford woman charged with neglect of 100 animals found on property

Posted July 21, 2016 2:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2016 5:44 p.m. EDT

— A woman was arrested Thursday after The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on a Raeford home in connection with an animal cruelty case.

Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said a veterinarian told authorities that a horse at 7950 Arabia Road had to be euthanized as a result of malnutrition.

While searching the property, deputies found about 100 animals, including more than 80 dogs as well as horses, cats, goats and birds, that were in poor condition and did not have access to food or water, authorities said.

Many of the dogs were found inside kennels and were surrounded by their own waste.

"The question is, why did they put themselves in that position? The animals were not being fed, they were not getting water. Was it because of funding? We don't know what the motive was, it's just not good," Peterkin said.

Maureen Lee, 43, was charged with felony animal neglect and resisting and obstructing justice. Peterkin said Lee was not cooperating with investigators.

The discovery comes six months after more than 600 animals were seized from The Haven- Friends for Life, which struggled for years to meet state standards for veterinary care before it was shut down by the agriculture department in January.

The owners in that case were charged with neglect.

"I think people get, as they did with The Haven, I would say they really want to help the animals. They end up realizing they're a lot of work, they're a lot of money. They get more animals and they end up turning into hoarders," said Capt. David Newton.

The ASPCA will evaluate the animals, remove them from the property and nurse as many as possible back to health.

Lee was being held in the Hoke County jail under $10,000 secured bond Thursday evening and Peterkin said more arrests and charges are likely in the case.