• 61°

PETA court date postponed

WINTON – Another month; another postponement.

The court case against a pair of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) employees has again been continued.

According to Valerie Asbell, District 6B Attorney, the defense team asked for and was granted a continuance for next week's (Tuesday, Sept. 13) scheduled date. Asbell said the paperwork she received from District Court Judge Rob Lewis indicated a new court date of Oct. 14.

This latest legal maneuver marks the third time the case has been continued. The original date for the probable cause hearing in Hertford County District Court was July 19. On motions filed by the defense and Asbell, that date was moved to Aug. 16. That spot on the court calendar was also postponed due to a motion of continuance filed by Asbell.

The two PETA workers n Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va. and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va. n were arrested late in the afternoon of June 15 after law enforcement officials, on a stake-out, observed a white van in which the two were operating stop in an area located behind Piggly Wiggly in Ahoskie's Newmarket Shopping Center and toss several black bags in a commercial dumpster.

At that time, a traffic stop was initiated on the van – a vehicle registered to PETA.

The bags located in the dumpster contained 18 dead dogs, including one bag containing seven puppies. An additional 13 dead animals, including a mother cat and her two kittens, were found in the van.

Dr. Patrick Proctor, an Ahoskie veterinarian, said PETA had picked up the cat and kittens from his office earlier on June 15. He claimed the cats and kittens were in good health and were adoptable.

Bertie Animal Control Officer Barry Anderson confirmed the remaining animals were picked-up June 15 by Cook and Hinkle from the Bertie Animal Shelter. An autopsy performed later on one of those dogs revealed the animal was in good health prior to its death.

Hinkle and Cook were each charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts each of illegal disposal of dead animals. An additional charge of illegal trespassing was later filed against both individuals.