A lawyer who is facing multiple felony charges said his arrest is because he rescued a sick baby goat from a meat farm in North Carolina.
Wayne Hsiung is a former Northwestern law professor and the co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights network. He was the keynote speaker at Asheville VeganFest but said when he stepped off a plane at Asheville Regional Airport on Thursday, he was immediately arrested.
The Transylvania County Clerk of Court confirmed Hsiung is charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny after break-enter and misdemeanor first-degree trespassing. The Transylvania County Sheriff's Office is the prosecuting agency in the case.
Hsiung appeared in court for an arraignment hearing on Tuesday.
In a phone interview with FOX Carolina's Cody Alcorn, Hsiung said the meat farm has been under investigation for approximately two years. In February 2018, Hsiung said he found a baby goat in very bad shape, suffering from lice and pneumonia, and believed it was an emergency situation.
Hsiung told Alcorn he took the goat from the farm and immediately went to a veterinarian for treatment. The goat survived and is in good condition.
When Hsiung was arrested on Thursday, he said he had no idea active warrants were out for him and was shocked to be taken into custody when he landed in Asheville.
Under the doctrine of legal necessity, Hsiung says he was justified in taking the baby goat due to the condition it was in.
“Goats have the same feelings as a dog and are just as deserving of good care,” Hsiung said. “The law should target animal abusers, not animal rescuers.”
He faces up to 6 years in prison, according to Direct Action Everywhere. He will be returning to North Carolina in July for a probable cause hearing.
“I can’t believe they’ll send us to prison for helping a baby goat," Hsiung said.
The incident report from the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office offers the victim's version of events.
The farmer called deputies after finding a gate left open and a baby goat missing from its pen.
The farmer said the baby was barely a week old and unable to care for itself on its own.
Deputies said they found Hsiung's driver's license at the scene and later discovered a video that had been broadcast on Facebook live that showed Hsiung and two other men with the goat. Deputies said the suspect described how he took the goat in the video.
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