State briefs: Two arrested after 10 dead dogs found in truck

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 10, 2022

Associated Press

CARTHAGE — A man and a woman from Texas have been charged with animal cruelty after deputies in North Carolina found 10 dead dogs in the back of their rented box truck, authorities said Thursday.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said Scott Thomas McCaffrey, 48, and Tambra Lynn Clift, 50, of Weslaco, Texas, each were charged with 10 felony counts of cruelty to animals, news outlets reported. The two are being held at the Moore County jail under a $30,000 bond.

Attorneys were appointed for McCaffrey and Clift, but neither was immediately available for comment on Thursday.

The sheriff’s office said deputies were notified on Tuesday that there were multiple dead dogs in the back of the truck in the Seven Lakes area of West End. McCaffrey and Clift were identified as the operators of the truck and the 10 dogs died because of negligence, investigators said.

Two of the dogs have been sent to a lab at North Carolina State University to determine the cause of death.

Tougher penalties for fire-related crimes head to Cooper’s desk

RALEIGH — Legislation headed for Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk creates new crimes for arson and stiffer punishments for such fire-related violations already in state law.

The measure received final General Assembly approval on Thursday when the House voted 89-6 for the changes that the Senate completed on the bill earlier in the week. The House had voted for an earlier version last year.

The bill creates new felony crimes for setting fire to a prison, an occupied commercial structure, and an unoccupied commercial structure. Someone who commits arson also would face a felony if a first responder suffers a “serious injury” because of it.

The measure also requires applicants for paid or volunteer fire department jobs to submit to criminal background checks. Any applicant found to have been convicted of arson or a similar felony conviction related to burning or setting a fire couldn’t be hired.

Omitted from the final version was a House provision that would have given the state fire marshal’s office more formal authority to investigate fires alongside the State Bureau of Investigation and local agencies.

Rodanthe bridge opening delayed  markings issue

RODANTHE — The opening of a bridge on the North Carolina coast that would allow locals and tourists to avoid a constantly washed-out route has been delayed because of a problem with pavement markings, state officials said.

Pavement markings installed earlier this week on the Rodanthe “Jug Handle” Bridge in Dare County do not meet N.C. Department of Transportation specifications for quality or reflectivity, the agency said in a news release.

Flatiron, the prime contractor, said it would seek a new subcontractor to replace the substandard markings and restripe the bridge and the intersections. Once a new subcontractor is in place, a better timeline on a traffic shift to the new bridge can be established.

Pavement markings are the last step in completion of the 2.4-mile  bridge. The $154 million bridge will take N.C. Highway 12 over Pamlico Sound, bypassing the south end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and part of the road that’s often washed over by the Atlantic Ocean during storms. Construction on the project started in 2018.

Blue Ridge Parkway section closed to replace bridge

A 10-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the North Carolina mountains will be shut down for almost two years to allow workers to complete a bridge replacement project, the National Park Service says.

Work has begun on the $29 million project to replace the Laurel Fork Bridge in Ashe County, according to a park service news release. A full park closure to all users in the immediate vicinity of the bridge is expected to be in place this week.

The project is scheduled for completion in November 2024.

Full closure to all users including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will be in place between milepost 248.1 and 249.3, the park service said. A signed detour will direct travelers around the closure via N.C. 18, N.C. 88, N.C. 16 and Trading Post Road at Glendale Springs.

The bridge was constructed in 1939. It’s 546 feet (166 meters) long and 28 feet (8 meters) wide. It is a five-span bridge with a steel girder and concrete floor beam structure supported by concrete and stone masonry abutments which are set in the steep slope of a ravine, and concrete piers which are cast onto a wide concrete footing.