More than 100 animals removed from home in child abuse case

abell@charlotteobserver.comNovember 21, 2013 

— There were 103 animals taken from the 5-acre farm of the family at the center of a child abuse case in Union County, authorities said.

That’s a record for one place, said Lt. Michelle Starnes, who is in charge of county animal services for the sheriff’s office.

Here’s the breakdown: 56 chickens and turkeys, 10 ducks, 10 dogs, eight geese, four donkeys, three horses, three guinea hens, two llamas, two cats, two finches, one cockatiel, one peacock and a pot-bellied pig named “Wilbur.”

“It was Noah’s Ark out there,” Starnes said.

Most of the animals at the Austin Road site have been placed with a rescue group, local farmers or other area residents. The United States Equine Rescue League, a foster network, is caring for the horses, donkeys and llamas, Starnes said.

Nine of the dogs wound up at the county shelter, and five were euthanized Thursday because of aggressiveness or their age, Starnes said. That included a basset hound who was about 10, malnourished, blind and mostly deaf, as well as two other older dogs and two aggressive dogs.

Four Rottweilers might be returned to the original owners, Starnes said.

She said the smallest dog, a terrier mix named “Max,” was returned to the children who lived at the Austin Road home because he was their favorite.

Bell: 704-358-5696; Twitter: @abell

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