MPD Announces Arrest in Animal Cruelty and Child Neglect Case

  • MPD Announces Arrest in Animal Cruelty and Child Neglect Case

    MPD Announces Arrest in Animal Cruelty and Child Neglect Case

    On March 11, 2016 Patrolman First Class Lehman of the Martinsburg Police Department responded to 330 Auburn St. in Martinsburg in reference to complaints from area residents of an offensive odor coming from the house. The resident, Ms. Goldie Cross advised Pfc. Lehman that there were three dogs and four cats in the house at that time. Pfc. Lehman smelled a strong odor of animal waste coming from the residence while he spoke with Ms. Cross.

    On March 16, 2016, Pfc. Lehman was made aware that Ms. Cross plead guilty to an animal cruelty charge in December of 2015. At the time, a Jefferson County, WV magistrate ordered that Ms. Cross was not to possess any animal for a period of five years. Based on his observations while speaking with Ms. Cross on March 11, Pfc. Lehman believed that Ms. Cross possessed animals and was in violation of West Virginia State Code in doing so. He obtained a search warrant from the Berkeley County Magistrate Court on March 24, 2016.

    On March 25, 2016, Pfc. Lehman executed the search warrant at 330 Auburn St. with the assistance of Berkeley County Animal Control. While searching the residence, a total of 29 animals were located and removed from the residence. The animals included five dogs, sixteen cats, two ferrets, three rabbits, two turtles, and one pot-bellied pig. Animal Control determined that the animals appeared to have respiratory problems, skin lesions, and were malnourished.

    The residence was found to be in deplorable condition with large quantities of animal excrement throughout the house. In his criminal complaint, Pfc. Lehman advised that the overwhelmingly strong odor of excrement in the residence made it difficult for him to breathe and that Animal Control officers had to use respirators while removing the animals. During the search of the residence, Pfc. Lehman also located evidence to indicate that two children lived in the residence with Ms. Cross. Officials from the Martinsburg Planning Department responded to the residence and determined that it was uninhabitable.

    Based on this information, Pfc. Lehman requested warrants for the arrest of Ms. Goldie Ann Cross (DOB: 2/25/1974) of 330 Auburn St. for 29 counts of being a prohibited person in possession of an animal, 29 counts of animal cruelty, and two counts of child neglect creating risk of injury. Ms. Cross turned herself in at the Martinsburg Police Department on Friday, April 1st, 2016. She was subsequently arraigned by a Berkeley County magistrate on the charges.