Sheriff: Pair Dragged Donkeys Behind Trucks

One donkey has died, and her son is recovering after investigators say they were dragged behind two pickups Sunday in Newcastle. Joyce Owen, 63, and Eldon Ray Marsh, 74, have been charged with cruelty to animals.

Humane Society of Young County Executive Director Kim Baxter said the scene was horrible. "The mother was scraped up and very sore and had trouble walking, the baby had some nicks and cuts… They said they were moving them there's a difference between having a donkey trot beside a vehicle and dragging it down the road."

The animals were in a great deal of pain, according to Baxter. She said the alleged actions of Owen and Marsh amount to torture in her mind. "They said they were moving them. There's a difference between having a donkey trot beside a vehicle and dragging it down the road," said Baxter.

Early Tuesday morning, the mother, named Butter, passed away – leaving her one year old son, Peanut, orphaned. "He was very lost without his mother. He was braying a lot, making a lot of noise… just didn't understand what was happening, why she wasn't there," said Baxter.

Since the passing of the mother, efforts have been focused on nursing little Peanut back to health. "His (injuries) were not nearly as severe as his mother, he did have a good chunk missing from his front knee and scrapes on both his front legs and back of his front legs," she said.

The biggest battle has been earning his trust. "We're working with him every day, touching him every day. he hadn't had a lot of good Human contact. So we touch him every day, lead him around. He's going to be going into a foster home hopefully next week… He's learning to trust us, he's a little hard to catch right now, but once we have him he calms down and we can touch him," she said.

Baxter is confident Peanut will make a full recovery. "Animals bounce back from things like this. They forgive, and they move on when they have love and compassion and that's what he'll get from now on," she said.

Baxter is pressing law enforcement to upgrade the charges against the two to State Jail Felony level.

If you would like to help little Peanut's recovery, the HSYC says they can use hay to help feed him. For information on how to donate, contact Kim Baxter at 940-549-1692.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6