Orange County

Orange County files more charges against mother, son for 57 dogs in cruel conditions

Update: The story was updated at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 with information about an additional arrest and charges.

A woman turned herself in Wednesday evening and her son was arrested Thursday on 53 additional animal cruelty charges stemming from an investigation earlier this month north of Chapel Hill.

Cynthia Riggan, 65, and her son Taylor Doar, 33, each were charged with one felony count of of cruelty to animals on Oct. 11, as Orange County Animal Services officials seized 57 dogs and puppies from two Alexander Drive properties.

Riggan turned herself in Wednesday on 15 more felony charges of cruelty to animals and 37 misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Doar on the same charges late Thursday afternoon, the release said.

Both are scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18.

Animal Services officials reported the dogs and puppies were malnourished, with parasitic infestations and living in unsanitary conditions, officials said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office learned about the situation from two independent sources, they said.

Animal Services director Bob Marotto said the new charges are based on what county officials found during veterinary exams at the Orange County Animal Shelter on Eubanks Road. One puppy has died from complications of hookworms and coccidia, he said in the news release. The other animals are doing well and continuing to receive medical care.

The county has asked that Riggan and Doar pay to house and care for the animals, which Marotto has said is about $1,026 a day.

“The realities of caring for a sudden influx of 57 animals, in addition to our regular population at the facility, has put a strain on resources,” said Animal Services spokesperson Tenille Fox. “If anyone would like to help, material and monetary donations are much appreciated.”

The dogs — most of which are French or English bulldogs or mastiffs — will remain at the Eubanks Road shelter until the case is resolved or they become the county’s property, officials said. They have asked the public to delay surrendering other animals at the shelter and have been offering special dog adoption rates.

How to help

Find more information about donating to the animals’ care at Information about the seized dogs, if they become eligible for adoption, will be posted at

Staff writer Trent Brown contributed to this report.

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Tammy Grubb has written about Orange County’s politics, people and government since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.