For the second time in less than a year, a Caldwell County woman has been charged with animal cruelty, and this time she is accused of neglecting 52 dogs, two goats, a pig and an iguana — an accusation she adamantly denies.
Lisa Marie Hendren Meatyard, 36, who has previously used the last names Lewis and Hendren, is accused of depriving a menagerie of animals of “necessary sustenance” and medical attention and of allowing them to live in “crowded and unsanitary conditions,” according to court documents.
Meatyard is charged with felony cruelty to animals and allowing animals to live in crowded or unsanitary conditions, a misdemeanor.
Meatyard was arrested Thursday after a former resident at a property on Sheriffs Road reported to Caldwell County Animal Control that the animals there were not being properly cared for and that Meatyard was breeding them to sell them. Meatyard told Animal Control that she signed the ownership of the animals over to someone else, according to a search warrant document filed at the Caldwell County Courthouse.
In an interview with the News-Topic, Meatyard said that she doesn’t live at the property on Sheriffs Road and that the animals are in the care of her brother. However, while Meatyard said she doesn’t officially live at the property, she admitted she does sleep on the property, although she says she has no access to her brother’s house.
She denied the allegation of cruelty and said that Animal Control is targeting her “because my name has been everywhere,” referring to the fact that she has been charged before in relation to her care of animals.
“People see my name, and they want the donations. The amount of donations that they get is ridiculous,” she said. “I’ve had issues since day one.”
Animal Control officials declined to answer questions about the case.
Meatyard was charged last year with five misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. She was accused then of failing to feed a 6-month-old Holstein cow named Betty, a mixed-breed dog named Patch, a Husky named Mya, a pitbull named Chloe and a 4-month-old Jersey cow named Oscar, according to court records.
She was convicted on those charges after a trial before a judge in October, but she has appealed the conviction. She said Friday that her then-attorney mishandled the case and that the judge didn’t want to hear her side of things. She said she doesn’t understand why she has been charged again.
“I don’t understand, especially this time, because I don’t live there,” she said.
“If they were tortured, why did they (Animal Control) leave them behind?” she asked. “Not one animal out there was mistreated.”
Meatyard also previously was convicted twice of obtaining property by false pretenses, a felony. The earliest charge appears to stem from an incident on Jan. 29, 2011, in which she falsely represented herself as the head of a nonprofit organization, Liz and Lizards, in order to obtain nine dogs. A story from Jan. 31, 2011, by WSOC-TV states that the organization that Meatyard claimed to be a part of supposedly cared for unwanted animals.
Meatyard also is charged in an unrelated case with indecent liberties with a child, a statutory sex offense with a child, and disseminating obscene materials to a minor under the age of 16. She is awaiting trial on those charges.
Reporter Kara Fohner can be reached at 828-610-8721.