Woman wanted on Henry County animal cruelty charges turns herself in

Kayla Dalton, 26, charged with two counts of animal cruelty

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Kayla Dalton turned herself in at the Henry County Magistrate’s Office at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday.

She was released on a $3,000 unsecured bond.  

Winnie and Dash, the two extremely emaciated pit bull puppies who were near death when they were brought to the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA last July, are one step closer to getting justice.

On Thursday, the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the SPCA held a joint news conference to announce that Kayla Dalton, 26, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Henry County Sheriff's Office animal control officer deputy Chris Price said that he's only ever seen one other case that compares to this.

"The vet (who treated the dogs after they were brought in) suggested that they were probably kept in a confined location where they couldn't really move around that much. Her words to me were, 'Even starving animals can walk.' These dogs couldn't walk," Price said.

Henry County Sheriff Layne Perry said his office has been trying to find Dalton for about a week.

"We believe she may be working in the Henry County area but possibly living in the Sandy Ridge area just down in North Carolina," Perry explained.

He encouraged Dalton to turn herself in.

"If Kayla sees this (story), we would ask that you come and just turn yourself in to the magistrate's office," Perry said. "We can get this taken care of and the court will take care of that afterwards."

In the roughly seven and a half months since the dogs were brought in, they have undergone intense physical therapy.

SPCA executive director Nicole Harris said hey are recovering well. One has been adopted, the other is still in need of a permanent home.

"We're just very happy that today has come about. In so many cases, we don't get the happy ending," Harris said.

She emphasized that the shelter never gave up on the case.

"The story itself was so impactful. It was such an act of cruelty that it was breathtaking. We see two beautiful dogs at the end, but when we look at the 'before' pictures I think we all still cry," Harris said.

Harris, Perry and Price all thanked the media for coverage of the case early on.

"After the media had released a couple of stories in reference to this, and it was in the paper, several people came forward and contacted (the SPCA) with some information of who the animals possibly belonged to," Price said.

Catherine Gupton, the SPCA's donor relations coordinator, said the first tip that came in was from a person who said they had sold Dash to Dalton.

"The dog was purchased in good faith, with the expectation that it would be well cared for," Gupton said.

According to the seller, Gupton said, Dalton already had Winnie.

Harris said a friend of Dalton's discovered the puppies at Dalton's home and convinced Dalton to bring them to the SPCA.

Dalton's friend, according to Harris, is a Patrick Henry Community College student and knows a professor at the college who teaches a veterinarian technician class.

The friend reached out to the professor to get a contact for someone at the SPCA.

Harris said that Dalton and her friend brought the puppies in together, but Dalton's friend did all of the talking.

The friend told the SPCA staff at the time that the puppies had been found near a dumpster in the county.

"Did they cook up this story on the way here? Absolutely," Harris said. "But, (Dalton's friend) did the best he could to get the animals to us and released to us. I'm grateful for (Dalton's friend) to do that."

Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Dalton is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crime Stoppers at 276-632-7463.

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