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Dozens of animals — including dogs, tortoise, several birds — seized in cruelty case

<i></i><br/>Multiple agencies showed up in San Diego's Chula Vista area and saved a retired police K-9 after it fell in a 40-foot well on February 8.
Lawrence, Nakia

Multiple agencies showed up in San Diego's Chula Vista area and saved a retired police K-9 after it fell in a 40-foot well on February 8.

By Kelly Doty and Samiar Nefzi

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    BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A Buncombe County woman faces felony animal abuse charges after authorities say 41 dogs and other animals were seized from a home in Leicester, North Carolina.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office says officers with the Animal Services Unit served a search warrant at 138 Tall Tree Lane on the morning of Jan. 31, 2023.

Initially on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said in a press release that more than 25 dogs were rescued from the home, along with other animals “suffering from neglect.”

“We looked out the window and heard some commotion,” neighbor Bill Rogers said.

About a dozen American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals members spent about eight hours removing the animals from the property and transporting them to an undisclosed location.

“The dogs, including nine newborn puppies, as well as a tortoise, a rabbit, a fish, and several birds, were found living in neglectful conditions in an overcrowded mobile home in Leicester,” a news release from ASPCA said.

Lindsey Trevor Rue is charged with felony killing an animal by starvation, felony animal cruelty, child neglect, and resist delay or obstruct.

“The ASPCA has deep roots in Western North Carolina, so when we learned these animals were suffering and in need of immediate intervention, we quickly mobilized to ensure they could be brought to safety and receive the care they deserve,” Teresa Ladner, senior director of Investigations for the ASPCA, said in the release.

“We can barely handle one, let alone 41,” neighbor Baylee Moss said. “It’s too much. “It’s really devastating.”

The computer aided dispatch (CAD) system for Buncombe County — which records fire, EMS, and law enforcement calls for service — shows that since Jan. 5, 2023, there have been 68 calls for service at 138 Tall Tree Drive in Leicester, the sheriff’s office said. The first call for service was animal-related, and 35 animal-related calls for service had been recorded for that address as of Jan. 25, 2023. Complainants ranged from barking/nuisance issues to dogs running at large, chasing livestock and killing chickens to concerns about a lack of shelter and food for dogs and horses.

“We’ve seen so many of these dogs run through our yards,” Moss said. “To hear what’s being going on is really sad.”

The sheriff’s office has not released much about the investigation. More charges are expected to be filed against Rue.

“Animals don’t deserve to be treated like that,” Rogers said.

In a news release, Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller thanked the Animal Services Unit for conducting the “long-term investigation,” as well as staff and volunteers with the ASPCA.

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