Virginia AG secures convictions in animal cruelty case

by Erica Shaffer
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Seven individuals were sentenced in a case involving Tyson Foods breeder chickens.
 
RICHMOND, Va. – The Animal Law Unit of the Virginia attorney general’s office announced seven additional convictions in animal cruelty cases that occurred at poultry breeder farms in Mecklenburg and Buckingham counties.

In August, Compassion Over Killing, an animal welfare advocacy organization, released an undercover video showing mistreatment of chickens at a Tyson poultry facility in Virginia. The video was taken in May and June at four facilities.

Following the release of the video, the Animal Law Unit secured convictions in animal cruelty cases in Mecklenburg, Buckingham and Lunenburg counties.

“These convictions send a clear, strong signal across the Commonwealth that my team and I take these crimes seriously, and that those who commit cruelty to animals will be held accountable for their actions,” Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement. “Mistreatment of animals is both inhumane and illegal, and I’m glad to see the perpetrators of these crimes brought to justice.”

Samuel Downs of Crewe, Virginia, pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court to animal cruelty. He also pled no contest to animal cruelty in Buckingham Circuit Court. He received suspended sentences in both cases on the condition that he cannot work with animals for one year.

Tyrone Delaney, Amelia, Virginia, pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court to two counts of animal cruelty and received 12 months in jail with all 12 months suspended on the condition that he does not work with animals for one year. Delaney also pled no contest to two counts of animal cruelty in Buckingham Circuit Court, where he received a sentence of 12 months in jail suspended on the condition that he does not work with animals for one year.

Robin Bowen, also of Crewe pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court and no contest to animal cruelty in Buckingham Circuit Court. He received 12 months in jail suspended on the condition that he does not work with animals for one year.

Jacob Sorrell of Redford, New York, pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court to two counts of animal cruelty and received 12 months in jail suspended on the condition that he cannot work with animals for five years.

William Atkins, Rice, Virginia, pled no contest to animal cruelty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court and received 30 days in jail suspended, on the condition that he cannot work with animals for one year. Atkins also pled no contest to animal cruelty in Buckingham Circuit Court, and received 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended on the condition that he cannot work with animals for one year.

Judy Atkins, also of Rice, pled “facts sufficient to convict” in Buckingham Circuit Court, and had her case taken under advisement for one year on the condition that she not work with animals for one year.

Trent Johnson of Drakes Branch, Virginia, pled no contest to animal cruelty in Buckingham Circuit Court and received a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail suspended for two years on the condition that he not supervise any crew working with animals for two years.

Johnson also was found guilty in Lunenburg Circuit Court of two counts of cruelty to animals. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended for two years. He is not allowed to supervise any chicken production crew for a period of two years.

Also sentenced in June in connection with the incidents were Jimmie Lawson of Blackstone, Virginia, who was found guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court of three counts of cruelty to animals for mistreatment of chickens by cruelly killing. Lawson also pled guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals in Lunenburg Circuit Court; and Harold Parent, from Plattsburgh, New York, pled guilty in Mecklenburg Circuit Court to mistreatment of chickens at a Tyson breeder farm. He received a suspended sentenced of 12 months in jail on the condition that he not work with animals for five years.

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