PETA littering convictions overturned in N.C.
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2008:
RALEIGH–The North Carolina Court of Appeals on April 15,
2008 overturned the February 2007 littering convictions of former
PETA employees Adria J. Hinkle and Andrew B. Cook.
Hinkle and Cook, who then worked for PETA, were arrested in
June 2005, after a police stakeout in Ahoskie, North Carolina,
caught them in the act of disposing of dog and cat carcasses in a
Judge Rick Elmore wrote for the three-judge appellate panel
that while the defendants’ actions leading to the conviction were
undisputed, the prosecution failed to prove that the supermarket
dumpster where Hinkle and Cook left the remains was an illegal place
to dispose of them.
Trial testimony established that PETA has for approximately
seven years collected and killed animals from North Carolina shelters
and animal control agencies. Usually the animals’ remains are taken
to the PETA headquarters and cremated, but Hinkle acknowledged that
on several occasions she disposed of animal remains in the
supermarket dumpster where she and Cook were arrested.
“They had faced 21 charges of felony animal cruelty, seven
counts of littering, and three counts of obtaining property by false
pretenses,” summarized Lauren King of the Virginian-Pilot.
“Superior Court Judge Cy Grant reduced the charges to eight
misdemeanors before the jury began to deliberate. He said the state
failed to prove malice and any specific motive, necessary elements
for the felony charges. He also dropped the three charges of
obtaining property by false pretenses against Cook.”
Hinkle and Cook were acquitted of misdemeanor animal cruelty.