Former student defends teacher accused of animal cruelty

Former student defends teacher accused of animal cruelty
Beke M. Lindsay (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)
Beke M. Lindsay (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A former student at South Brunswick High School is speaking out – defending her former teacher who was arrested for animal cruelty.

Beke Lindsay is now facing three charges of animal cruelty, but some people believe that she's not at fault.

According to the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Lindsay faces one charge of denying birds necessary food and water. She also faces one charge of depriving medical attention. However, one of her former students spoke to on Tuesday – saying Lindsay should not be held responsible.

According to Brunswick County Animal Protective Services, authorities found nearly thirty birds at the school that were deprived of food and water.

Two birds appeared to be injured and one was already dead.

In a written statement, Lindsay said a stray dog got into the school and injured the birds:

"Thank you all for your support, and I fully understand and respect those of you who feel differently. I feel I need to clear up a few misconceptions. 1) I am on paid leave at this point, but am actually continuing to work on things at home. When this is over, I may or may not have a job in BCS. 2) Please don't blame the caretakers – they were doing an excellent job. 3) I was paying out of pocket for feed, supplies, and caretakers while I was gone to required professional development this summer. 4) Basically this is what happened: On a Saturday, a stray dog got into the area when I was working in my class, and I ran him off, but not before he managed to collapse a cage. Two turkeys were traumatized – not chewed up – one with no marks, but scared and the other with possibly a broken wing. I have seen many birds who are not in the wild and do not need to fly, recover from a broken wing. We are taught in our animal classes to weigh the value of the animal against the cost of treatment. To have taken these two birds to a vet- if I could find a vet who dealt with farm animals, and on a Saturday evening – would have easily been 20 or more times the value of the animal. An agriculturist or farmer would have immediately put them down – mechanized them. However, I could not bear to do that, and wanted to give them a chance to live. So they were isolated in a separate cage with food and water to observe. On Sunday the caretaker reported they looked fine, and I checked Sunday evening and they were fine. Evidently, one died by the time someone else checked on Monday morning. Also, someone moved a waterer from another cage – on that both the caretaker and I witnessed being in place on Sunday. Those are the charges. Whomever reported it, and I respect their concern, but wish they would have come to me personally so we could have walked through this."

The sheriff's office has not confirmed these details, but Courtney Stewart, a former student believes Lindsay is innocent.

"I think Brunswick County was too quick to pass judgment without seeing everything through and generally you're innocent until proven guilty," said Stewart. "I feel like they already went in and found her guilty without all the information."

Lindsay has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. The birds are currently in custody of animal protective services.

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