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Fremont man faces new animal cruelty charge for dead owls

Lawton McKenzie, 28, of Old Black Creek Road, was arrested Jan. 6 after animal control officers seized dismembered animals from his Fremont home.

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Man accused of animal cruelty denies claims
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — A Fremont man, whom authorities charged earlier this month with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, now faces a fourth charge because four dead owls were found on his property.

Lawton McKenzie, 28, of Old Black Creek Road, was arrested Jan. 6 after animal control officers seized dismembered animals, a machete, knives, bowls of blood and what appeared to be a decapitated puppy’s head in a bag. Investigators also removed 26 living animals from the home.

Owls are protected under state law.

A Wayne County judge ruled Thursday that McKenzie must also pay the county for the upkeep of animals seized from his home last month.

The county filed a civil complaint against him last week and also requested he post sufficient funds with the Wayne County Clerk of Superior Court to ensure the care of the animals for an additional 30 days.

McKenzie has five working days to post the $8,640 necessary for the upkeep of the animals or he automatically forfeits them.

McKenzie has denied the animal cruelty charges, saying he was studying taxidermy and that he began picking up animal carcasses for that purpose.

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