More than 60 neglected dogs, along with livestock and other animals, were removed from a property in Lenoir on Wednesday, according to a news release.
Caldwell County Animal Control (CCAC) and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) arranged the removal of the animals. The owner, Lisa Marie Hendren Meatyard, was charged with felony cruelty to animals and allowing animals to live in crowded or unsanitary conditions, a misdemeanor.
On Tuesday, Meatyard agreed to a plea surrendering all her animals and serving 18 months probation, during which time she cannot own, possess or control any animals.
Dogs of varying breeds, sizes and ages, including newborn puppies, were found living in substandard conditions inside a shack with a floor covered in feces, urine and mud, while livestock and poultry were found living among piles of trash, according to the release.
ASPCA personnel were there to provide sheltering, medical and placement support for the dogs, who were temporarily relocated to CCAC to receive immediate care and treatment.
The dogs rescued from this case, along with other dogs previously removed from the property, were relocated to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control to be made available for adoption.
Last year, Meatyard was charged with five misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. She was convicted on those charges in October and appealed the case. As part of her plea agreement on felony charges, she remanded her appeal of the October sentencing, according to the release.
“We have been working closely with the District Attorney’s Office and the ASPCA to bring this case to a close,” said CCAC Manager Pam Culbreth. “While it was difficult to see the conditions these animals have been living in, it feels good to know they are going to places where they will be loved and properly cared for.”
The ASPCA was able to provide a team to assist with the case in part thanks to support from the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust. The ASPCA deploys nationally to assist local authorities in animal cruelty and neglect cases, including animal fighting, hoarding and puppy mills.
“This case required significant collaboration across multiple animal welfare organizations, and we are pleased to be able to support Caldwell County Animal Control with the rescue of these animals and are grateful to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control for giving them a second chance," said Leigh Anne Wilson, director of investigations for the ASPCA.
For more information about how to report an incident and what to look out for when you suspect animal cruelty in Caldwell County, visit www.caldwellcountync.org/animal-control/cruelty-neglect.