LUMBERTON — A Pembroke man pleaded guilty to 49 counts of animal cruelty Wednesday, charges that followed a grisly discovery of starving animals, including some that had died or had to be euthanized.
According to District Attorney Johnson Britt, Trent Locklear, of 5667 Lonnie Farm Road, was sentenced to 45 days in jail — all of which were suspended for 12 months — and 12 months of unsupervised probation. Britt said Locklear is not allowed to possess animals and livestock on his property.
Britt said Locklear has paid $3,000 in restitution to the county for costs associated with caring for the animals that survived, and $180 in court costs. Locklear still owes the county $8,873 in restitution, Britt said.
Charges were dismissed against Trent’s father, Lonnie Locklear, the owner of the property where the animals were found, and Trent’s wife, Deborah Locklear. Lonnie Locklear had been living in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., for some period of time, and was considered “an absentee landowner,” Britt said.
Trent Locklear was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty on April 23 after investigators from the Sheriff’s Office found starving horses, cows and a pig living on the farm located near Pembroke. Animal carcasses were also found.
They had been called to the scene by a utility worker who had access to the property.
Two horses had to be euthanized; the other animals were placed in foster homes while attempts were made to restore their health, but two horses later died.
According to Dr. Heather Burkhardt, a veterinarian at Bridge Creek Mobile Equine Veterinary Service, the horses that are in foster care have been steadily improving.
“They were doing much better,” said Burkhardt, who last saw the horses about two weeks ago. “They were gaining weight and their hair was much better.”
Britt said there are 27 surviving horses.
Steve Britt, who took 16 horses into care at his farm, said all of them have slowly been regaining their health.
“They’re doing great,” Britt said. “On a scale of 1 to 10, which is how you measure how a horse is doing, they were below a 1, but I’d say they’re at a 4 or 5 now.”