4 Preston County Residents Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

4 Preston County Residents Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges

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Tonya Moats and Richard Moats Tonya Moats and Richard Moats
Terry Bennett and George Moats Terry Bennett and George Moats
Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S. Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S.
Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S. Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S.
Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S. Courtesy: Humane Society of the U.S.

The Preston County Sheriff's Office has arrested four Rowlesburg residents on animal cruelty charges after authorities seized more than 70 malnourished animals Friday.

Sheriff's deputies, along with the Preston County Animal Shelter, the W.Va. State Humane Society and a veterinarian responded to a residence after a complaint, where they located 29 emaciated dogs, 14 cats, five guinea pigs, two pot belly pigs, 20 chickens, and a goat.

The sheriff's department arrested George Moats Jr., 44, Terry Bennett, 66, Richard Moats, 59, and Tonya Moats, 31.

All animals were examined and found to be underfed, with no food or water near them. Most suffered from worms, feline disease, no hoof care, and were living on top of feces and garbage, according to the sheriff's department.

The accused people told authorities that two of the animals died from fighting each other. Two dead chickens were found inside a chicken coop. Authorities were unable to find grain or food on the entire property for the chickens, goat, or pigs.

All animals were seized from the property. The dogs and cats are being cared for at the Preston County Animal Shelter and will be available for adoption at an appropriate time, considering their health and veterinary needs.

Donations for the care of the seized animals can be made to Cheat Lake Animal Hospital – Preston Co Animal Shelter fund by calling 304-594-1124. Supplies can also be donated to the shelter at 278 Poor Farm Rd, Kingwood, WV by calling 304-329-3461.

All four people are being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.