DELBARTON – Delena Ray Baisden, 45 from Ragland, was arraigned before Magistrate Brock Mounts Wednesday, Feb. 17 on misdemeanor charges related to alleged animal cruelty.
An arrest warrant was issued for Baisden on Thursday, Feb. 11. According to a criminal complaint, Deputy S. Messer of the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department received an animal cruelty complaint advising him that two dogs were found to be deceased while in separate cages located at a residence in the Toler’s trailer park located near Ragland, W.Va.
The dogs in question appeared to be severely emaciated and each dog was surrounded by and covered in their own feces.
When Deputy S. Messer arrived at the location, he was told that the dogs were no longer at the residence but that they were under the care of Baisden and Bethany Murphy while they were at the residence.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, at approximately 10:30 a.m. Baisden arrived at the West Virginia State Police Williamson Detachment with Phillip Harris, Tara Estepp and Murphy.
At this time, Harris informed officers that he and Estepp were providing dog food for Baisden until the middle of January 2016. Harris also informed officers that Baisden had arrived at his residence located in Stony Mountain Camp in North Matewan on Sunday Feb. 7, 2016 and did not return to her residence in Ragland until Wednesday, Feb. 10. Upon returning to the residence where the dogs were being housed, he and Baisden observed the animals to be deceased in their respective cages located outside of the residence on the front porch.
Harris also stated that he and Baisden placed the bodies of the deceased dogs into trash bags and threw them over Mystery Mountain located in Ragland, W. Va. on Thursday, Feb. 11.
The officers then spoke with Baisden who corroborated the statement of Harris and further stated that she had been struggling to provide for the dogs for several weeks and had resorted to feeding them various canned vegetables.
The bodies of the dogs were recovered and taken to the Williamson Animal Hospital where a necropsy was conducted by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine L. S. Knowles who determined the cause of death to be caused by hypothermia, secondary to starvation.
Animal cruelty is defined as any person that cruelly mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including: food, water, shelter or medical treatment necessary for normal health.
(Information in this article was obtained by use of a criminal complaint which is public record. A criminal complaint is merely an accusation and those named should be considered innocent until proven guilty.)