Local News

Wayne Co. woman faces animal cruelty charges

Posted April 10, 2009 2:44 p.m. EDT

— A Mount Olive woman who authorities said ran a puppy mill at her home now faces a dozen misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.

Wayne County animal control officers seized 283 dogs from Virginia Thornton's kennel in February. Many of the animals were emaciated, had untreated cuts and were housed in filthy conditions, authorities said.

Thornton turned herself in this week to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and was later released on $10,000 unsecured bond, her attorney, Billy Strickland, said Friday.

So-called puppy mills are commercial dog-breeding operations that mass-produce puppies in factory-style settings for sale at pet stores and over the Internet.

State law does not govern puppy mills, although some state lawmakers want legislation that would regulate them.