WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) — The dogs involved in an animal cruelty case in June in Bertie County have been granted full custody to PETA.

On Aug. 15, Bertie County District Court Judge W. Turner Stephenson III gave PETA temporary custody of the five dogs. Cherelle Turner Askew, the owner of the dogs, was arrested in June and is facing seven criminal charges of cruelty to animals, including the death by starvation of Minnie, a young pit bull whose skeletal remains were found by PETA in February.

The five dogs who are still alive include Duke, Duchess, Sandy, Zeus and Billie. A sixth dog named Nala, was also part of Stephenson’s order.

On Sept. 1, as part of a memorandum of judgment/order, the Askews waived all rights of possession to the dogs, meaning PETA now has full custody.

PETA reports that on February 15, fieldworkers found Minnie dead inside a doghouse. She was emaciated and still chained to a nearby tree. Neither she nor the five still-living dogs chained up on the property had any food or drinkable water within reach.

(PETA photo)

A necropsy found that Minnie had suffered from multiple parasitic infestations and heartworms.

“The five dogs were taken in by PETA (Aug. 15) and are being housed in air-conditioned guest rooms with soft bedding and toys,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department. “They are also receiving individual attention and appropriate care for various conditions.”

Askew still has a criminal court case on the animal abuse charges on Oct. 5.