Suspects have initial court appearance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2005

WINTON – Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook, the two PETA employees charged with animal cruelty, made their first appearance in Hertford County District Court Friday.

Judge Rob Lewis presided and set the next court date of July 19. Judge Lewis also informed the pair that the maximum sentence for each of the 31 felony counts of animal cruelty is 15 months in jail while the eight cases of misdemeanor counts of illegal dumping of animal carries a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail.

Additionally, the Ahoskie Police Department lodged misdemeanor trespassing charges against Hinkle and Cook. Those charges stemmed from their alleged dumping of 18 dogs on Wednesday afternoon into a private commercial dumpster located behind Piggy Wiggly in Ahoskie’s Newmarket Shopping Center.

Ahoskie attorney Larry Overton represented Hinkle and Cook at the initial hearing.

However, that relationship will likely end as Overton also serves as the attorney for the Town of Ahoskie.

&uot;I may not be able to work through the entire trial because of other conflicts with the town,&uot; said Overton.

Several Ahoskie police officers will be involved in the trial and Overton consults with and advises the police department in his role of town attorney.

&uot;I was contacted late Thursday afternoon by the PETA people and they asked me to represent their employees at this hearing.&uot; Overton added.

Overton also said that Hinkle was &uot;devastated about the way the situation has been handled.&uot;

The Ahoskie attorney added that &uot;explanations will come to light that will mitigate what the facts seem to be in this case.&uot;