Matoaka man takes plea deal on animal cruelty

Jessica Nuzzo/Bluefield Daily TelegraphAndrew Cottle, 44, told Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills on Monday morning he was guilty of one count of animal cruelty, after three other counts were dropped.

princeton — A Matoaka man has reached a plea agreement in a felony animal cruelty case.

Andrew Cottle, 44, told Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills on Monday morning he was guilty of one count of animal cruelty, after three other counts were dropped.

Wills told Cottle he accepted the plea and that the felony count could bring a sentence of one to five years in jail and a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $5,000.

Cottle admitted he left five dogs locked in a vacant home without food or water for more than 10 consecutive days in 2018. Four of the five dogs died from starvation.

Cottle was indicted in February on four counts of animal cruelty.

He was arrested in October 2018 after Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Detective L.L. Addair investigated a complaint by Animal Control.

In the criminal complaint, Addair said a residence that had been occupied by Cottle had been abandoned with his late wife’s five dogs left behind.

The complaint said the woman’s daughter would have cared for the animals but said she was denied access by Cottle.

After Addair obtained a search warrant, he said he and an Animal Control officer found four of the five dogs “deceased and decomposing … Claw marks and holes from bites were observed to the bottom of the living room door and furniture.”

A sentencing date was set for Nov. 18.

When Cottle was located, he told Addair he was trying to “get rid of the dogs” when he left the residence and had not been back for two weeks, the complaint said.

Wills granted defense attorney Raeann Osborne’s request for a pre-sentence evaluation.

A sentencing date was set for Nov. 18.

Email: cboothe@bdtonline.com

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