Local News

Former Butterball worker pleads guilty to animal cruelty charge

Posted August 28, 2012 1:46 p.m. EDT

— A Raeford man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of animal cruelty that stemmed from a December 2011 raid at a Hoke County Butterball turkey farm.

Deputies raided the Shannon farm after animal-rights group Mercy for Animals provided a hidden-camera video that showed farm workers beating and stomping on turkeys.

Brian Gerrard Douglas, 36, of 7140 Laurinburg Road, was among five who worked at the Shannon farm arrested in February. By the time of the arrests, all five had been dismissed from the company. 

Douglas was ordered to pay a fine, fees and will be subject to three years of probation.

The video showed workers stomping and kicking birds. Investigators found some turkeys at the farm were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized.

Cases are still pending against Billy Thomas McBryde, 52, of 22-A West Gate Terrace in Red Springs, Ronnie Jacobs, 57, of 4475 Rockfish Road, Lot 22 in Raeford, and Ruben Mendoza and Terry Johnson, no ages or addresses available.

Dr. Sarah Mason, director of animal health programs in the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Poultry Division, pleaded guilty in February to her role in informing a veterinarian for Butterball that Hoke County prosecutors were reviewing the undercover video. She was placed on probation for a year.