Nov. 18—HENDERSON — A Vance County woman is heading to state prison for six to 17 months after pleading guilty to two counts of animal cruelty, prosecutors and animal-welfare advocates say.
Areecia Haywood, 35, was charged in connection with a 2018 incident that led to Vance County Animal Services taking custody of two dogs and five puppies that were being mistreated. One of the dogs had to be euthanized, Animal Services Director Frankie Nobles said.
He added that he is “tickled to death” that Haywood received prison time.
“We got a call [about] a dog in the backyard that was barely moving and they didn’t think it was going to live,” Nobles said, recounting the tip that started the case.
“We responded and we found one dog barely alive and another with five puppies that was nothing but skin and bones. The one barely alive had flies and maggots on it.”
The mother and her puppies survived, and were eventually placed with rescues, Nobles said.
Nobles said Haywood’s case is the first in his 13 years with the county that has resulted in an active prison sentence for someone accused of animal cruelty.
N.C. Department of Public Safety records indicate that Haywood already had a 2014 conviction on her record for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in connection with an incident that happened in 2011.
She received a suspended sentence and probation for those crimes.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew “Beau” Boyer handled the latest prosecution, and Superior Court Judge Cindy Sturges presided over sentencing.
“This a tragic case involving a severe mistreatment of domesticated animals,” Boyer said. “Our office is extremely grateful for the hard work of the investigating officers in this case, the veterinary personnel involved, and a citizen in our community who decided to speak up when they saw something amiss.”
“We hope that the sentence imposed by the court will serve as an adequate deterrent and prevent something like this from happening again,” he added.
Nobles said Haywood’s prison sentence begins on Dec. 14.
Contact Ray Gronberg at email@example.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.