Burke County staff seeking help to rehabilitate neglected animals

After a total 88 horses and chickens were seized, donations are needed to help restore them back to health.
The agency first seized 32 miniature horses and 39 chickens from two properties on Jan. 18. Both properties were owned by the same person, according to official
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:44 AM EST
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MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) -Burke County Animal Services is asking for donations and volunteers to help after the organization took in nearly 90 animals that were involved in a neglect and cruelty case.

Kaitlin Settlemyre, the director of Burke County Animal Services, said the former owner of the animals, 54-year-old Julie Sherrill, has been on the non-profit’s radar for more than a year.

“We would get complaints that people aren’t seeing food out there, these guys are kept on dirt lots so not a lot of grass or anything out there. We actually found a deceased horse out there. We took the horse from the property, the owner signed it over and we took it for a necropsy, and it actually died of starvation,” Settlemyre said.

With so many animals now in need of veterinarian care and food, the Burke County Animal Shelter estimates just one month of care for the animals will reach over $20,000.

“So the grand total came to about $21,000 is what we estimated and that covers the cost of their food, bedding, and accessories. Veterinary care has been a big one. Our vet bill is already about $5,000 and we’re not even a week into this,” said Settlemyre.

Kay Draughn, the president of the Animal Services Foundation, said her non-profit supports the Burke County Animal Shelter. Draughn says there are many ways people can help aid the miniature horses and chickens back to health.

People can donate securely via PayPal on the foundation’s website, or by a check payable to ASFI, mailed to P.O. Box 52, Morganton, NC 28680.

Monetary donations can also be dropped off at the Burke County Animal Shelter at 425 Kirksey Drive in Morganton. Those donations can be made Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Draughn said forms were created by Burke County’s IT department to help animal services manage the outpouring of people’s interest in adopting or fostering miniature horses or the chickens.

Those who are interested in fostering should complete one or both of these forms:

Draughn said it is important to note that these animals cannot be purchased.

When it comes to donating supplies to Burke County Animal Shelter, Settlemyre said they are actively accepting those as well.

“We will always accept donations of hay. We are feeding most of our horses senior feed, and our chickens are on laying pellets so any sort of bedding or food that anybody has. We are also looking for some grooming supplies and halters,” said Settlemyre.

As for the future of the animals, Settlemyre said everything will be based on the ruling of the court trial.