UPDATE: Raymond Merkh had one last animal cruelty charge he was facing in Nottoway Circuit Court. It has been Nolle Prosequi.
NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The man once charged with taking care of animals at the Nottoway County Animal Shelter was just convicted of animal cruelty.
On Monday, a judge found Raymond Merkh guilty of neglecting a seriously injured kitten at the shelter.
That cat was hit by a car last August and needed to see a vet, but the animal control officer left it untreated at the shelter until a rescue volunteer offered to take it for help five days later. The kitten had to be put down.
Merkh originally faced a felony charge for failing to get the kitten treatment but the charge was ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor. He must pay a $250 fine.
The judge acquitted Merkh on charges of animal cruelty involving three abandoned puppies. Two of them died, but the judge conceded Merkh didn’t have enough of an opportunity to save the dogs who were near death when he picked them up.
Even though Merkh will serve no jail time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry Royall calls his conviction a victory. This is the first time a Virginia Animal Control Officer has been successfully prosecuted for not taking care of the animals they are bound to protect.
Merkh no longer works for the animal shelter.
He faces related charges that could be tried this spring.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.