North Carolina A jury cleared two animal rights workers of animal cruelty charges Friday for euthanizing cats and dogs they took from shelters, but both were convicted of littering for dumping the carcasses in a trash bin.
Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were cleared of eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Hinkle also was found not guilty on three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Both received a 10-day suspended jail sentence and a year of supervised probation. Their van will be confiscated by police and each was ordered to pay $4,000 in fines and restitution. They will also each have to serve 50 hours of community service.
The animals were picked up from several shelters in northeast North Carolina.
The pair testified that they euthanized the animals in the back of their van to relieve the animals' suffering.
They said they disposed of the bodies in a garbage bin rather than drive them back to PETA offices in Virginia because the stench from the carcasses was overwhelming.