Three convicted in animal abuse
Published 12:56 pm Friday, June 23, 2017
A 56-year-old Drakes Branch man prosecuted by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office in Lunenburg Circuit Court was convicted recently of two counts of cruelty to animals for mistreatment of chickens at the Tyson breeder farm which he owned.
According to a press release from Attorney General Mark Herring’s Office, Trent Johnson was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended for a period of two years. “He is not allowed to supervise any chicken production crew for a period of two years,” officials said in the press release.
Johnson, according to Herring’s Press Secretary Lara N. Sisselman, “was found guilty of swinging chickens by the wing to herd them from one side of the chicken house to another and throwing chickens into a transport cage instead of correctly loading them.”
“Mistreatment of animals is inhumane and illegal, and I’m glad to see the perpetrators of these crimes brought to justice,” Herring said in the press release. “These convictions send a strong, clear signal across the commonwealth that those who commit cruelty to animals will be held accountable for their actions.”
According to the press release, Herring’s Animal Law Unit secured two other animal cruelty convictions in Mecklenburg County — one of which was also prosecuted in Lunenburg.
According to Sisselman, all three cases are related.
Jimmie Lawson, 62, of Blackstone, was found guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court of three counts of cruelty to animals for mistreatment of chickens at a Tyson breeder farm by cruelly killing them, according to the press release. “He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended for one year, and is barred from working with animals for one year. He also pled guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals in Lunenburg Circuit Court and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended for one year, and ordered to not work with animals for one year.”
Lawson would sit “transport cages on top of chickens so they would be crushed to death. He also would improperly kill chickens by holding them by the wings instead of the feet,” Sisselman said.
According to the release, 28-year-old Harold Parent, of Plattsburgh, New York, pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court to mistreatment of chickens at a Tyson breeder farm. “He was sentenced to 12 months in jail with all 12 months suspended for a period of five years. He may not work with animals for five years.”
Johnson was the supervisor of the crew, Lawson was the forklift driver, and Parent was the blood collector, Sisselman said.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Michelle Welch and Assistant Attorney General Kelci Block of the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted the cases for the commonwealth.