Barks found not guilty on animal abuse charge

Saturday, August 11, 2012 ~ Updated 1:47 PM

After a trial that went well into the evening hours, it took a jury just 15 minutes to return a verdict of not guilty for Kelley Barks, a former deputy with the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department who was charged with animal abuse.

The trial lasted more than 12 hours and the case was turned over to a Cape Girardeau County jury about 9:30 p.m. Friday. The case had been moved to Cape Girardeau County after a change of venue request.

Barks, 36, of Marble Hill, shot a small dog during a domestic dispute call she responded to in February 2011 and left the sheriff's department soon after. She maintains she put the dog down after it attacked her only because she was instructed to do so by the Bollinger County veterinarian.

Barks has a separate civil suit pending against the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department alleging employment discrimination, retaliation and Sunshine Law violations. She filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, after she says she was forced to resign. She was granted the right to sue her employer Feb. 16.

Just a few days later, Feb. 24, Barks was charged by Bollinger County Prosecutor Stephen Gray with animal abuse just before the one-year statute of limitations expired.

Depositions are scheduled in the civil case later this month.

Look for more on this story later today on semissourian.com and in Sunday's Southeast Missourian.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Marble Hill, Mo.

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