Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 19, 2012

4 plead not guilty in Preston animal cruelty case


Associated Press

KINGWOOD — Four Preston County residents have pleaded not guilty to more than 60 animal cruelty charges.

Media outlets report that 44-year-old George Moats Jr., 66-year-old Terry Bennett, 59-year-old Richard Moats and 31-year-old Tonya Moats entered their pleas Tuesday in Preston County Magistrate Court. Each defendant is charged with 68 animal cruelty counts.

Authorities seized more than 70 animals from the defendants’ Rowlesburg home in November. The animals include dogs, cats, guinea pigs, pot belly pigs, chickens and a goat.

Preston County sheriff’s deputies reported that the animals didn’t have food or water and were underfed. Most were living on piles of feces and garbage.