NC woman charged with 24 counts of animal cruelty after 22 horses found dead

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Cary woman was arrested last week when officials said they found 22 dead horses along with a dead dog and a sick dog at a home in Wake County.

Janet Elaine Laven Burleson, 64, was charged with 24 counts of animal cruelty.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office said tips from the public as well as Burleson’s family helped to identify that she was the animals' owner.

Family members said she brought the horses to the property on Fanny Brown Road last summer and stopped caring for them a few months ago.

Sheriffs said two miniature horses and two quarter horses were tested by Wake County Animal Control and found that they died from starvation.

One dog found alive was in bad shape and is currently being treated at the Wake County Animal Shelter.

Officials said the remaining carcasses have been removed from the property.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office said the property, according to tax records, belonged to Amos and Jean Lavender, Burleson’s deceased parents.

Officials said Burleson’s brother urged her to meet with investigators after a report about the dead horses was released

Police said Burleson was taken into custody without incident and was being held under a $250,000 secured bond.