CRIME

Operators of animal shelter arrested on abuse, drug charges

Authorities in North Carolina have arrested the operators of a no-kill animal shelter after at least 600 animals were found in conditions that the sheriff called "awful and very sad."

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said in a statement that Stephen Joseph Spear and Linden Spear are charged with four counts of animal cruelty and one count of drug possession. Peterkin said more charges are expected.

Bond for each was set at $5,000. It's not known if they have attorneys.

Local news organizations report law officers and animal protection officials went Wednesday to The Haven-Friends for Life shelter northwest of Raeford. They seized more than 300 dogs, 250 cats, 40 horses and numerous farm animals.

Capt. John Kivett said some animals appeared malnourished and had open wounds or skin conditions.