A trial is scheduled this week in northeastern North Carolina for two animal activists charged with animal cruelty after they were discovered dumping dead animals in a trash bin.

Adria J. Hinkle, of Norfolk, Va., and Andrew B. Cook, of Virginia Beach, are charged with 21 counts each of animal cruelty. They also are charged with littering and obtaining property by false pretenses.

The trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Hertford County and was expected to last the week.

The pair works for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Norfolk. The group had volunteered to take animals from crowded animal shelters in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties.

Their lawyer said the load of animals became too large and the workers began euthanizing the dogs and cats and dumping their bodies in the trash bin at a grocery store.