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

On Monday, Bertie County District Court Judge W. Turner Stephenson III gave PETA 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.

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 Monday afternoon 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.”

Nachminovitch said the civil case is expected to go to trial next month, and the next criminal case court date is August 31 at 9 a.m. Askew is also expected to appear in court on September 1 for a show-cause hearing on contempt for refusing to allow PETA representatives to remove dogs from her property on July 28, pursuant to a temporary restraining order also signed by Stephenson.