Two-Year Probation, No More Animals in Cruelty-to-Animals Case

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Elderly, Immobile Dog Wasting Away, Covered With Maggots and Her Own Excrement Found in Backyard

For Immediate Release:

August 13, 2014


David Perle 202-483-7382

Roanoke Rapids, N.C. – Roanoke Rapids resident Melissa Hope Yandle yesterday reached a plea agreement in a cruelty-to-animals case that involved the abuse of her elderly, paralyzed dog, Ginger. In March, volunteers with PETA’s Community Animal Project Winter Relief found that, by Yandle’s own account, the senior dog had been left outdoors 24/7 through the frigid winter weather and had not moved in at least two months. The stench of the animal waste that was matted to Ginger’s fur overpowered volunteers, who discovered hundreds of maggots crawling on her legs, stomach, and genital area, eating her alive.

Ginger was immediately euthanized to end her suffering. Because of her horrific condition, PETA—whose motto says, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—had her body examined by a veterinarian, who opined that Ginger had suffered immensely before her death. She was thin, with prominent bones and atrophied muscles; she was infested with fleas; one of her legs was swollen; she had apparently sustained an untreated pelvic injury in the past, leading to her paralysis; she had “deeply inflamed sores” on her legs; and she had sustained fecal and urine scalding. The veterinarian concluded, “This animal was certainly in pain and suffering.”

“This dog’s sad case shows us all what we should not do. When our animal companions are suffering, it’s on us to get them veterinary care immediately and never leave them to waste away until it’s too late,” says PETA Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges everyone to treat their dogs and cats like members of the family, and that means keeping them safely indoors, making sure they’re healthy, and showering them with affection.”

Yandle was given a deferred judgment plea, which includes a two-year probation period, during which time she cannot acquire any animals, as well as 20 hours of community service. PETA will monitor for compliance.

Photos of Ginger as well as her necropsy report are available. For more information, please visit

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