Man charged with animal abuse in Scott Co.

Friday, December 3, 2004

BENTON, Mo. -- Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd filed four misdemeanor animal abuse charges Thursday against Gregory H. McElroy, 39, of Benton in Division 5 of the Circuit Court of Scott County. Three of the charges relate to the deaths of a llama, a deer and a sheep, which were found Nov. 12 on McElroy's property. The fourth charge states that McElroy did not adequately provide care for a dog on his property.

According to a probable cause statement filed by sheriff's deputy Ron Meredith, on Nov. 12 he and Jack Hays of the Sikeston Area Humane Society were referred to McElroy's property on Scott County Road 507 with a report of animal neglect. They found four dead animals, the llama, deer, sheep and a calf, and an assortment of exotic and farm animals on McElroy's two-acre property. The live animals were reported to be in poor physical health.

McElroy voluntarily gave up 40 animals to the Humane Society of Missouri, which was also involved in the investigation. They were taken to Longmeadow Rescue ranch at Union, Mo., where they are being treated and will be made available for adoption.

Debbie Hill, interim director of rescues and investigations for the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis, said the Humane Society is satisfied with this development in the investigation.

"We are pleased the Scott County sheriff and prosecutor have taken the case seriously and decided to prosecute," Hill said. "We are very pleased with their willingness to pursue enforcement of Missouri's animal welfare laws."

Hays, with the Sikeston humane society, agreed, claiming that the case could have been worse had McElroy not cooperated with the agencies.

Hill said the humane society will follow the case as it progresses through the system, and at the proper time will make sentencing recommendations to the court.

If convicted, McElroy could be sentenced to a term of a maximum of a year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for each count.

McElroy has not yet been scheduled for a court appearance.

335-6611, extension 160

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