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49 horses, 39 chickens recovered in animal cruelty investigation

Among the recovered horses are nine animals that were being cared for by a good Samaritan who had not heard from the owner, according to officials.

MORGANTON, N.C. — A North Carolina woman is facing 23 counts of animal cruelty after dozens of neglected or abandoned animals were recovered across multiple properties this month, Burke County Animal Services Center announced Monday.

A total of 49 miniature horses and 39 chickens are now in the hands of the county's Animal Services Center. Officials estimate it will cost $21,000 in just the first month to nurse these animals back to health.

Since Jan. 18, officials have recovered the animals from multiple properties in Burke County. They have charged Julie Ann Sherrill with 23 counts of animal cruelty.

Some of the horses were suffering from cockleburs, according to officials. 

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Among the recovered horses are nine animals that were being cared for by a good Samaritan, who had been "paying out of pocket to care for the animals" after not hearing from Sherrill since November, according to officials. 

“Whatever the animals, staff or volunteers need, it will be provided," Burke County Commission Chair Scott Mulwee said in a statement. 

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Donations for the animals’ medical care and feed are being accepted by the Animal Services Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit that supports the Burke County Animal Shelter. Donations can be made via PayPal on the Foundation’s website or by a check payable to ASFI. The check can be mailed to P.O. Box 52, Morganton, NC 28680. Checks can also be dropped off at the Burke County Animal Shelter, which is located at 425 Kirksey Drive in Morganton, between Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Those interested in fostering or adopting an animal are encouraged to complete a form on the county's website

Volunteer opportunities are also available by emailing Animal Services at animalservices@burkenc.org.


The animal cruelty investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Burke County Animal Services at 828-764-9572.


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