Update on animal cruelty case in Erath County


Flash staff report
March 22, 2024

The original story is posted here.

Approximately three weeks ago deputies from the Erath County Sheriff’s Office were called to 518 CR 712, which is the property of Cheryl Barker, in Erath County in reference to an animal cruelty investigation.

As a result of the investigation over 100 animals were found to be in the possession of Baker at the residence. These animals were seized according to a warrant issued from Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 Judge Jeffrey Alexander. The animals were found to be in extremely poor conditions such as not having adequate food, fresh water, and shelter.

Since the seizure, the animals have been in the custody of the Erath County Sheriff’s Office. The Erath County Sheriff’s Office along with representatives from Animal Investigation and Response have been providing proper care of the animals since that date. The animals have been under constant veterinary care since their seizure.

On Friday, March 22, there was a hearing held in the court of Judge Alexander to determine the final disposition of the animals. The Erath County Sheriff’s Office testified before Judge Alexander on the conditions of the animals at the time of the seizure. Deputy Burke and Deputy Johnson along with Investigator Williams testified that the animals did not have proper food, water, or shelter while in the custody of Barker. After all testimony was complete Judge Alexander ruled that all animals seized on March 18 were to be permanently removed from Barker and awarded to Animal Investigation and Response.

Animal Investigation and Response will now take custody of the animals and will begin matching the animals with permanent homes.

This is an ongoing investigation of which the Erath County Sheriff’s Office is working daily with the Erath County Attorney’s Office. Once the investigation is completed it will be turned over to the Erath County Attorney’s Office for consideration of prosecution.

Two criminal offenses are being considered in this case. They are Texas Penal Code 42.092 Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals a Class A Misdemeanor for any animals that are not livestock of nature such as the dogs, hamsters, birds, and reptiles that were seized. The other is Texas Penal Code 42.09 Cruelty to Livestock Animals a Class A Misdemeanor and applies to the horses, ponies, pigs, and goats that were seized. Sheriff Matt Coates

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