Rexroad Pleads Guilty To Animal Cruelty Charges
Christina K. Rexroad, 31, of Rt. Box 132, New Martinsville, has pleaded guilty by way of a plea agreement to eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in Wetzel County Magistrate Court.
The counts are in connection with the conditions at her farm located approximately four miles from New Martinsville on Whiteman Hill. Six horses and two cows were found on July 23 to have no clean water, food, or shade. Also, the cows were standing in approximately 18 inches of “muck”, according to the complaint.
In April Dr. Shaun Meckley had told Rexroad to separate the two cows so the thinner of the two would get its fair share of food. However, in July the cows were still penned together and the one remained thin.
For each of the eight counts Rexroad was ordered to pay $160.80 costs as well as restitution to the county, to be determined. She was also sentenced to 30 days in the Northern Regional Jail for each count, with a stay of execution for 60 days to petition in circuit court for alternative sentencing. That sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled or held.
However, Prosecutor Tim Haught said the agreement is for her to serve two years probation in lieu of the jail time. If she would violate probation, then she would be facing eight months in jail. Also, she cannot possess any animals other than her household pets for five years. Eight felony counts of cruelty to animals were dismissed.
“I’m happy with the way the case turned out because she’s not going to get to possess any other animals, basically,” said Haught who added that there have been no allegations that her household pets have been abused. “The reason we entered into the plea agreement is if we had taken this case to trial and lost, she would have gotten all eight animals back. We entered into the plea agreement for the protection of the animals.”
The Rexroad farm had been under investigation since December or January. “Deputy Randy Adams, the humane officer, did everything he was supposed to do in this case,” said Haught. He was working with Dr. Meckley, who Haught thanked for all his assistance. A veterinarian is always involved in any possible cases of animal cruelty as they are the only people capable of giving expert opinions and testimony on the matter.
While there have been reports of dead horses at the farm, Haught said he only knows of one horse that died and it had been buried for months by the time authorities received any complaints. Rexroad and her father said it had been shot during deer season. “It was the only horse out there that was suspicious as far as I’m concerned,” said Haught. “The truth is there are no dead horses out there.”
He further tried to quell rumors by saying, “She has never been convicted of cruelty to animals before. She was convicted in Ashtabula County, Ohio, of obstructing. She was sentenced to 90 days, suspended, and placed on one year supervised probation.”
Relatedly, David Rexroad is facing eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Sheriff James Hoskins said further investigation revealed David also lived at the residence and could be culpable for the animals’ conditions. He has pleaded innocent and the case is continuing.