New charges have been brought against two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals employees arrested for allegedly dumping dead dogs and cats in an Ahoskie, N.C., shopping center garbage dumpster.
On Oct. 14, Andrew B. Cook of Virginia Beach, Va., and Adria J. Hinkle of Norfolk, Va., were each charged with 22 felony counts of animal cruelty and three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense, according to published reports.
Cook and Hinkle were charged in June with 31 counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals. The felony charges were dismissed and new charges filed after an investigation led to new information, however. The misdemeanor charges still stand.
Pentobarbital was reportedly used to euthanatize the dogs and cats. Additionally, the PETA employees promised an Ahoskie veterinarian they would find new homes for three cats, but they euthanatized them instead.
Ahoskie Police began an investigation this summer when dog and cat bodies in plastic bags were found in a garbage bin every Wednesday for four consecutive weeks (see JAVMA, Aug. 15, 2005). The bodies of at least 80 animals were reportedly found.
Police staking out the dumpster arrested Cook and Hinkle when 18 animals were found in the dumpster along with 13 more in their van, which was registered to PETA.
The dogs and cats were from animal shelters in two nearby counties. Cook and Hinkle had reportedly been picking up animals in northeastern North Carolina since 2001 to be euthanatized at the Norfolk headquarters of the animal rights organization.
Cook and Hinkle had each posted $35,000 bail. PETA, which is reportedly paying their legal fees, suspended Hinkle but did not discipline Cook.