Dispatcher charged with animal cruelty

By Mike Gellatly - MGellatly@CivitasMedia.com

PEMBROKE — A dispatcher with the town of Pembroke has been charged with animal cruelty related to the shooting of K9 Officer Payne.

The canine died later, but it’s unclear if it was from injuries suffered during the shooting or an infection that followed.

Marleta Locklear, 45, of Pembroke, was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals, according to Police Chief Grant Florita. Locklear works as a dispatcher for Pembroke Police Department. The county’s animal control officer brought the charges.

Payne died Nov. 28, 10 days after the Labrador Retriever was shot when partner Jason Hunt stopped on Union Chapel Road for the dog to walk. Florita said it appeared Payne picked up a scent and ran toward Garden Street. Hunt then heard several gunshots before Payne came back limping, with flesh wounds on his left leg and ribs. Payne underwent surgery and returned home but died later, and was buried with full honors Dec. 1.

“The investigators charged Marleta based on the elements of the crime that occurred in the initial incident — the shooting,” Florita said.

Town Manager Tyler Thomas said the case is being reviewed for possible disciplinary action.

“In the short term, this will affect her standing with the department, and as we have been gathering facts over the last few weeks we are determining what disciplinary action we will take,” Thomas said in an email. “We will also await the outcome of the court proceedings as that could have further ramifications on her standing with the department/town should she be convicted of the offense.”

Locklear was scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday, but her attorney made a motion to continue the case.

By Mike Gellatly


Reach Mike Gellatly via Twitter @MikeGellatly

Reach Mike Gellatly via Twitter @MikeGellatly

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