Benton man pleads guilty in animal abuse case

Thursday, January 13, 2005

BENTON, Mo. -- Gregory H. McElroy of Benton pleaded guilty in Scott County circuit court Wednesday afternoon to three counts of misdemeanor animal abuse.

The incident sparked the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to contact the county prosecuting attorney to urge penalties and that McElroy undergo a psychological evaluation.

McElroy was given a suspended sentence of 90 days in jail, a year's supervised probation and ordered not to have any animals, at least for the duration of his sentence, said a spokesman for Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd.

Charged Dec. 2, McElroy, 39, was arrested after the Scott County Sheriff's Department, the Sikeston Bootheel Humane Society and the Humane Society of Missouri rescued approximately 40 animals from two acres of land that McElroy owns. At that time, investigators found four dead animals and an assortment of exotic and farm animals in poor physical condition.

On Monday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote to Boyd urging that McElroy be barred from owning or harboring animals in the future and that the animals said to remain in his custody be immediately seized.

PETA also recommended that McElroy be required to undergo a psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at his own expense.

The organization weighed in on another Southeast Missouri case recently when it sent a letter to Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle urging similar restrictions against a Cape Girardeau man who allegedly abused a kitten during a reported incident of domestic violence.

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