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New developments: woman could face additional charges in animal abuse case

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There are new developments on an animal abuse case in McDowell County. WVVA has now learned that the accused, Crystal Copley, 32, could be charged with more felonies in addition to those in connection with puppies thrown in a creek in Anawalt.

A rescue of two dogs found chained, muddy and hungry took an unexpected turn Friday.

"It's just evil, and that's what we're facing, it's the wickedness of the day," said Sheriff Martin B. West, with the McDowell County Sheriff's Office.

"We've both been traumatized by what we've seen with this dog that was buried. We think she was pregnant when she was buried. So we don't know if they can do anything about that because it was in a grave," said Karen Mays, volunteer with Alive Animal Service Group.

It's a grave with a dead pregnant dog that has left rescuers, including a volunteer from Charleston, feeling disgusted.

"It's sad to see, my wife and I do lots of animal rescues as well as the other people that are down here today. It never gets old, you see a lot and it's always pretty disgusting and disturbing what you see," said Shane Snyder, a volunteer from Charleston and an attorney.

This all comes after an eyewitness claims he saw Copley throw puppies, including ones he says were alive, into a creek.

"A lot of people think putting these dogs in these conditions is acceptable but it's no longer acceptable. Not that it ever really was, but some people think it is. we're here to let people know that it won't be tolerated," said Snyder.

According to the McDowell County Sheriff's Office, Copley could be facing additional charges after Friday's discovery.

"She's already been charged with a felony, so the state could after the investigation is done by the deputy and presents it they can be indicted and won't have to go through a warrant, and the grand jury can present it as an indictment against the defendant for how many animals she killed and that can be an offense for each one," said Sheriff Martin.

Copley made bond at the Magistrate Court. When asked her to make a comment, she refused. A preliminary hearing hasn't been scheduled just yet, but WVVA will continue to follow those details as we bring you more on this case.

The two female dogs rescued from Anawalt Friday have been taken to Good Shepherd Veterinary Hospital in Charleston where they will will receive free ultrasounds and a vet check. They will also be placed in a foster home and later put up for adoption. WVVA will continue following this story.

Melinda Zosh

Evening Anchor and Producer

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