Judge places dogs in PETA’s care
Published 4:58 pm Friday, August 19, 2022
WINDSOR – A District Court Judge has granted PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) temporary custody of several dogs that are part of a criminal animal cruelty case against a Windsor woman.
On Monday of this week, Judge W. Turner Stephenson III ruled in favor of the plaintiff (PETA) and ordered that two dogs (Nala and a puppy), currently in possession of the defendants, Cherelle M. Askew and James P. Askew Jr., be turned over to PETA for temporary custody.
Cherelle M. Askew, 58, of Governor’s Road was issued three criminal summons on June 22, charging her with seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Six of the seven counts allege that Askew intentionally deprived necessary sustenance that led to unhealthy conditions to a specific dog. The seventh count reflects the same, only in this case the specific dog, a pit bull by the name of Minnie, died as the result of the alleged failure to provide necessary sustenance.
In his judgment, Stephenson ruled that, “because of the conditions giving rise to the defendants cruel treatment of the dogs known as Nala and the puppy, the Court requires these dogs to be removed from [the] defendants’ possession pending a hearing on the merits and the final ruling of this Court.”
Additionally, Judge Stephenson ordered that four other dogs – Duke, Duchess, Sandy and Zeus, animals that were once located on Askew’s property and are currently held at the Bertie County Animal Shelter – to be placed in PETA’s custody pending a hearing on the merits and the final ruling of the Court.
In his order, Stephenson said the decision to grant PETA temporary custody of those four dogs was due to the, “[Bertie] shelter’s limited capacity and design to be only a temporary safe haven for animals.”
According to the court schedule, Cherelle M. Askew is scheduled to appear in Bertie County Criminal District Court on Aug. 31 to answer the seven misdemeanor charges.
Meanwhile, PETA filed a civil lawsuit against Cherelle Askew. PETA officials provided information and documents to the court, to include a visit made by PETA fieldworkers to Askew’s property on Feb. 15 where they found a dog (Minnie) dead inside a doghouse.
“She was emaciated and still chained to a nearby tree,” stated Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA Senior Vice President and Cruelty Investigations Department. “Neither she nor the five still-living dogs chained up on the property had any food or drinkable water within reach.”
Nachminovitch added that a necropsy found that Minnie had suffered from multiple parasitic infestations and heartworms.
During previous visits to the Askew property, Nachminovitch said PETA fieldworkers provided Askew with free dog food, spay/neuter services, doghouses, flea and flystrike prevention, and cable tie-outs and collars to replace heavy chains and choke collars
The five dogs placed in PETA’s temporary custody on Monday afternoon are being housed in air-conditioned guest rooms with soft bedding and toys, according to Nachminovitch. They are also receiving individual attention and appropriate care for various conditions.
Nachminovitch added that the civil case hearing/trial is scheduled Sept. 12 in Windsor.