The court system in North Carolina is making a mockery of felony animal cruelty cases

This is an update on two animal cruelty cases taking place in North Carolina. The court system is making a mockery of animal cruelty cases. Barbara Hart and Michelle Antionette Raymond were both charged earlier this year with animal cruelty. Neither woman has been convicted because the cases keep dragging on and on and on…

Barbara Hart (left) & Michelle Raymond (right)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Barbara Hart’s case has been postponed for the fifth (or is it the sixth or seventh?)time. Hart’s last court appearance was November 13 in Salisbury (Rowan County). After breaking for lunch, the district attorney announced all of the witnesses weren’t present and would need to be subpoenaed. She was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. I’m not sure whether these have been upgraded to felony animal cruelty. It should be since animals died because they were abandoned.

Michelle Antionette Raymond appeared in court November 30. Her case has also been postponed and being transferred to felony court. Animal advocate Laura Morrison posted the following on her Facebook page. Please take the time to read her update, as it gives more insight into how it’s nearly impossible for an animal to get justice in North Carolina.

“SAMSON’S CASE BOUND OVER FOR SUPERIOR/ FELONY COURT. FORMER “ OWNER” APPEALING /REJECTED PLEA BARGAIN. (Some interesting facts about North Carolina’s animal abuse laws)

After leaving the courtroom today, we finally got a real inside look at what happens when someone is charged with animal cruelty in North Carolina. And it’s not what you think. In most animal cruelty cases, unless an animal has been found dead or someone is guilty of causing the death of an animal, more than likely an individual will be charged with only a misdemeanor. And that’s only if those charges get to court, most often charges are brought by Animal Control and those result in monetary fines depending on the county.

No one ever goes to jail and the defendant can walk out that day and adopt again. We have no registry and no tracking systems.
An individual can travel from county to county adopting from shelters or taking from craigslist and there’s no real resolve. We were told today that if someone takes a 2 x 4 and cracks the skull of a cat or dog, as long as the animal is still alive and breathing, there will be no felony charges, it will be a simple misdemeanor which means it’s highly unlikely the individual will be charged or given any punishment except for possible probation. 

Sampson’s former owner has decided to fight the charges and is appealing /negating her guilt in any way. The district attorney told us today She was also saying Samson was not really her cat. The cat belonged to her son who was in the hospital and she felt her son was priority. 

She does not feel she has done anything wrong, her response through her attorney pretty much indicates that she feels no guilt or remorse and intends on pleading not guilty due to her son being ill. Just like we thought, Samson never mattered to her at all, he was nothing more than a common object in her home. The day she drove away and left him at hot temperatures she forgot all about it. 

The District Attorney is doing her best to make the felony charges stick. She says Samson’s previous owner plans to explain to the judge she did nothing wrong and hopes to have all charges dismissed. In a sense, she’s saying it’s not that big of a deal. We were told today that unless there is a metaphorical blood trail, most animal abuse cases are dismissed or plea bargained. An animal would have to be killed and someone would have to actually witness it in order for someone to be prosecuted on a felony note, and even then that person‘s rights still have to be protected by the Constitution(not the animals).

What a lesson. Guess we have a long way to go. Please continue to sign the petition for Sampson, and if you can email the district attorney your personal thoughts on this matter, I believe this is going to help her as well.”


NC needs to toughen up, or more animals will die because the abusers know they won’t be punished. Whether charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, NC, as well as all states, need to toughen up on their laws and enforce the laws already on the books.

Cat advocates are taking time out of their day to attend each court date, only to learn they need to return again and again. Hopefully, 2018 will be a better year for the animals of North Carolina. I seriously doubt it, but we can hope.

I find it disturbing that the charges are so different when the abuse in both cases occurred in NC. If I’m not mistaken, Barbara is charged with a misdemeanor and she had dead animals while Michelle is being transferred to felony court and Samson is alive. There’s something seriously wrong with how animal cruelty cases are handled.

Samson/Michelle Antionette Raymond

Medical 911: Monroe cat running out of time after being abandoned for urinating on the floor

Monroe woman charged with animal cruelty and abandonment after dumping medical needs cat

Samson: Cat dumped in NC with little food and no water now safe in foster care

Barbara Hart

Five dogs seized and four dead cats removed from home of NC animal advocate

Salisbury, NC cat advocate charged with 9 counts of animal cruelty

Update on 2 North Carolina court cases shows cats just can’t find justice

The reality of how animal cruelty cases are handled

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “The court system in North Carolina is making a mockery of felony animal cruelty cases”

  1. Veterinarians who murder pets get a slap on the wrist. People who have pets that die from outright neglect or abuse seldom see more than a plea bargain if it even gets that far. Often the only witness to the actual crime is the pet owner being charged.
    And yes they adopt again and again and again and no one tracks where these animals go or what happens to them.
    My in-laws back yard is a boneyard of shame. I hate to keep harping on them but the truth is they are the epitome of what is wrong with animal cruelty laws in the United States. They change pets more often than I get a new pair of shoes and the refusal to S/N means they have an in house supply of victims.

  2. Elisa Black-Taylor

    The good news is Samson’s case is being held over for felony court. The bad news is his former owner is most likely looking at a small fine. I wonder how many postponements it will go through?

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