Charges dropped against Hickory man after dead animals found on property

Multiple counts of felony animal cruelty charges filed against a Hickory man were overturned Thursday in Catawba County District Court.

The court ruled during a probable cause hearing that the criminal processes against Daniel Dawarren Pride, 37, were "fatally defective" for the charges of felony animal cruelty.

The ruling noted that the processes did not contain allegations that the acts were done “maliciously,” an element needed to charge felony animal cruelty. Subsequently, the 31 counts of felony animal cruelty against Pride were dismissed.

Related: Man charged with 33 counts of animal cruelty after dead animals found on property

Pride waived probable cause on charges of possession of firearm by a felon and maintain a dwelling/vehicle/place for a controlled substance. A number of items seized at the scene have been submitted to the North Carolina State Crime Lab for scientific examination and testing.

Investigation into the matter continues by Hickory Police Department. When the investigation has been completed, all materials will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, and an appropriate charging decision will be made at that time.