ASPCA asks for reimbursement from Hoke County couple facing animal abuse charges

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Joseph Spear, 67, and Linden Spear, 59 (WTVD)

Stephen Joseph Spear, 67, and Linden Spear, 59, were back in court Tuesday after the ASCPA requested reimbursement for animals they took care of.

More than 600 animals are being removed from a private, no-kill shelter in Hoke County.

The couple operated The Haven-Friends for Life, an unlicensed shelter in Hoke County. They face charges on 13 counts of animal cruelty.

Related: Owners of a Hoke County animal rescue facing cruelty charges

Nearly 700 animals were rescued from their facility in January by the ASPCA. In March, the organization held a huge adoption event where all of the available animals were taken in.

The ASCPA is asking for thousands of dollars in reimbursements for over two dozen animals originally not surrendered which the couple claimed were private pets.

The Spears' attorney argued the ASPCA used the January raid and advertisements to raise over $400,000. The attorney also noted the couple has not been convicted of any crimes.

The ASPCA attorney argued that state law sets down specific guidelines for allowing the group to recoup money spent of animals that are the victim of cruelty and neglect.

The judge indicated she will make a decision by Friday afternoon.

No word yet from the Hoke County District Attorney on when the criminal trial for the couple will begin.
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