Couple pleads guilty to animal cruelty


BAKERSVILLE – Mitchell County couple John and Ruth Ann Taylor pleaded guilty Friday, Feb. 28, to misdemeanor animal cruelty in the case of the four neglected horses, two dachshunds and nearly 30 cats removed from their home this past October. 

The couple received a 45-day suspended sentence and 60 months of supervised probation. They have to pay $10,025 restitution to Mitchell County Animal Rescue over the 60-month sentence. They are prohibited from owning new animals of any kind. Judge Ted McIntyre presided over the case and made it clear in his statements animal cruelty is a serious offense. 

All of the horses survived and are still recovering. Two of the horses were transferred to Hope for Horses rescue for rehabilitation and training. The other two horses, Moonlight and Black Beauty, are currently in foster homes and are up for adoption. Interested applicants can apply to adopt by visiting MCAR’s website at or in person at MCAR. The two dachshunds were transferred to a rescue for adoption after receiving much-needed dental and tumor removal surgeries. A majority of the cats were adopted into homes by Mitchell County Animal Rescue. 

“We want to thank Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Sheriff Street, Deputy David LaPlante, Det. Ashley Beam, Patricia Beam, Dr. Emily Barton, Dr. Jennie Stewart, Wayne Ledford, Angie Silver, Young’s Fuel Service, Mitchell County Emergency Management, the Bakersville Fire Department, Judge McIntyre, District Attorney Seth Banks and everyone at the district court office for their support and commitment to make Mitchell County a haven for all animals,” said Amber Lowery, Mitchell County Animal Rescue executive director. “And a huge thank you to each of you who support the rescue with donations, kind words, prayers, and by volunteering your time. We couldn’t do this alone. It takes each of us to make a difference for the animals.”