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Kyprianides admits guilt in animal cruelty case

WINDSOR – The trial of a Lewiston-Woodville man, accused of animal cruelty, was over before reaching a jury.

Stephen Kyprianides pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty last week in Bertie County Superior Court. He was originally charged with 39 separate counts upon his arrest on May 7, 2009.

The jury was selected and seated on Monday. Prior to the start of court on Tuesday, Kyprianides entered a “no contest” plea on two counts of animal cruelty and the jury was dismissed.

According to Nick Matkins, Assistant District 6B Attorney who represented the state in the case, all of the charges were the same – Class 1 misdemeanors.

“This was not a case of punishment, but rather getting Mr. Kyprianides some help based on his irrational beliefs that he was helping the animals,” Matkins said. “The living conditions of Mr. Kyprianides’ home were unhealthy as well as the home being a nuisance to the community.”

Tips were reportedly received by the Lewiston-Woodville Police Department that a large number of animals were being kept in the home, prompting Bertie County law enforcement officers to serve a search warrant at Kyprianides’ Hancock Street home. Once there they found levels of ammonia so high they couldn’t enter the dwelling. A member of the Lewiston Woodville Fire Department, using a protective face mask, entered and opened doors to ventilate the dwelling.

Officers found 49 animals, including 46 dogs and three cats in the home. They were all removed from the home and checked by a veterinarian from North Carolina State University.

Answering last week to the animal cruelty charges, Kyprianides stated he felt he did no wrong…taking the animals into his home and giving them food and shelter.

Superior Court Judge Alma Hinton handed down the following sentence:

Charge #1: class 1, level 2 misdemeanor:

45 days in Bertie County jail, suspended 24 months; supervised probation, first 6 months are to be intensive; pay costs; must obtain a mental health assessment and comply with treatment; can not own, possess, store, keep, have on premises any animal of any kind during probation; and submit to warrantless search for controlled substances and animals. Upon a first violation, it is to be reported immediately by his probation officer and Kyprianides will be held in lieu of a $5,000 cash only bond.

Charge #2, class 1, level 2 misdemeanor:

45 days in Bertie County jail to run concurrent with the first sentence and all stipulations thereof.

Kyprianides was represented by attorney Perry Martin of Ahoskie

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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