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Two appear in court for animal cruelty

WINTON – A Bertie County woman and a Virginia man made their first appearances in court here Tuesday on multiple charges of animal cruelty.

Serafina Lea Ireland, 29, of Aulander, was arrested on August 26 and charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals.

Phillip Ray Jernigan, 38, of Norfolk Va. was arrested on September 3. He was charged with seven counts of cruelty to animals.

On August 20, Hertford County Animal Control received a call of possible animal cruelty at a vacant lot off US 13 south of Ahoskie.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that eight of the 23 dogs found on the property had allegedly been neglected.

“The dogs were in very poor health, almost like they were starving,” stated Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

Vaughan noted that those eight dogs were seized and taken to the county’s animal shelter.

According to Vaughan, Ireland was charged with an additional count because she was allegedly responsible for caring for Jernigan’s seven dogs in addition to her own.

Both defendants posted bond after their arrests, with Ireland’s being set at $4,000 secured and Jernigan’s at $3,000.

Animal control officers from Bertie, Chowan and Gates counties assisted Hertford County Animal Control in transporting the affected dogs.