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SHANNON, NC (AP) — A North Carolina Agriculture Department official says she regrets tipping off employees at a Hoke County turkey processing plant that sheriff’s deputies were investigating the business.

The Fayetteville Observer reported Dr. Sarah Jean Mason with the agriculture department’s poultry division
issued a statement that she regrets her notification of a veterinarian who worked for the plant in Shannon.

A search warrant released last week accused Mason of tipping off Dr. Eric Gonder, who worked for Butterball, the plant operator.

Mason says she tipped off Gonder to try to stop animal abuse immediately.

Sheriff’s deputies searched the plan Dec. 28, finding some turkeys that had to be euthanized. No charges have been filed.

The investigation started after an animal rights activist secretly recorded workers at the plant.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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