UPDATED: Latest on Chesterfield Co Shelter Allegations and Action Items

The rescuers held their presser at noon today at the shelter.  County council member Doug Curtis was reportedly in attendance.  Sheriff Sam Parker apparently was not.  There will probably be media reports on it tonight.

The AP has picked up the story which means it’s gone national.  The Chesterfield Co ACOs apparently only do stray pick up and killings.  Rescuers pay for supplies and medications for the dogs and work on getting pets adopted out.  Inmates from an area correctional facility do the actual cleaning and feeding.  According to the AP article, it was an inmate who tipped off a rescuer to the landfill shootings – and it sounds as if this may not be an isolated incident.  So in this case, the allegation is that someone paying his debt TO society blew the whistle on inhumane acts committed by someone being paid a salary BY society to protect pets.

The AP also reports that after finding two of the dogs’ remains at the landfill, rescuers were ordered to leave by ACOs.  Do ACOs have that authority?  Maybe being part of the sheriff’s office, they do.  If that’s the case, all the more reason to have someone else handle the investigation of the sheriff’s office than the sheriff’s office.

Please contact, using polite and respectful language, the following entities to request an immediate and transparent investigation of the case and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law:

Chesterfield County government officials contact info here.

An outside agency to conduct the investigation - South Carolina Law Enforcement Division:

Fax:   (803) 896-7588

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS – KATHRYN RICHARDSON, Coordinator (803) 896-7156

According to SC law, it is the state AG who would “bring an action to enjoin a violation” of the law pertaining to methods of shelter pet killings:

The Honorable Alan Wilson
P.O. Box 11549
Columbia, S.C. 29211

803-734-3970

There is also an online contact form at the above link.

The governor of the state of SC is Nikki Haley:

Governor Nikki Haley
Office of the Governor
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Fax: 803-734-5167

You may also contact the Governor’s Office at 803-734-2100.

There is also an online contact form at the above link.

Lastly, rescuers fear retaliation by the shelter over their exposure of the alleged killings.  They are trying to work quickly to empty the shelter in case they are banned.  Donations to help with emergency transport of pets in the shelter can be made here.

Added:

State Law: Animal Shootings At Landfill May Be Legal

Animal control accused of shooting up to 22 dogs

I’ve posted the evidence photos the rescuers have made public.  They are graphic.  I will add to the page if additional photos are released.

Update, 3-6-11:  A couple of articles with new information:

The Cheraw Chronicle:

[Whitney Knowlton, CEO of of Last Chance Animal Rescue] is concerned that animal control officers have been shooting instead of using lethal injection for euthanasia since the gas chamber was removed in September 2010. Knowlton alleges that only two vials of phenobarbital, a drug used in the euthanasia process, has been purchased by the shelter since September. She stated that two vials could euthanize approximately 14 animals, depending on their size, and that shelter records show more than 80 have been killed during this time.

WCNC, News Channel 36:

Saturday NewsChannel 36 went to the landfill where those dogs were allegedly shot and we uncovered new evidence.

[...]

Saturday bones were visible in the landfill, which suggests that this may have been going on for months.

 

Leave a comment

20 Comments

  1. Nathan Winograd

     /  March 5, 2011

    If the rescuers can find an attorney, perhaps the local legal aid office or ACLU if they cannot afford one or cannot find one to take the case pro bono, it would be a violation of federal law if they were banned for going public. The attorney can not only get attorneys fees paid by the County, but they could sue the Sheriff personally. 42 U.S.Code Sec. 1983.

    See http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/Sec1983_000.pdf

    Reply
  2. I hope they really do get an independent investigation on this and the shooting stop forever.

    Reply
  3. Judith

     /  March 6, 2011

    Unreal – already the Sheriff is trying to spin these murders as legal

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/27093350/detail.html

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 6, 2011

      Kinda figured that would be the case…all the more reason for EVERYONE to speak out and make their calls, send their e-mails, and write letters to ALL those people posted in Shirley’s blog. We need to raise a stink about this so that it is investigated by a legitmate third party!

      I just don’t know how he’s going to try and put that kind of a spin on this when it is VERY clear that the law says:

      “Shooting may be used as a means of euthanasia only in an emergency situation to prevent extreme suffering or in which the safety of people or other animal life is threatened or where it is considered necessary by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to eliminate or control the population of feral animals.”

      You can’t tell me that they have 20+ dogs that were feral, posed a threat to public safety, or was extremely suffering – ALL AT THE SAME TIME?!?!? More B.S. from those involved! I was waiting for this to happen – figured he’d be at the press conference to say just that – but interestingly enough he was nowhere to be found during the conference. Interesting….

      At least Paws N Claws is at the shelter right now and trying to remove as many dogs as possible. And, special thanks to Shirley for her pushing the sheriff to say that they would not kill anymore animals until this is resolved! Hopefully they can get all the dogs out and get the right group to investigate this. I also hope that the inmate that tipped the rescuers off doesn’t suffer because of this….

      Reply
  4. Jude

     /  March 6, 2011

    Help, the video from yesterday with the bones uncovered, the bag of puppies and snippet of Whitney from the press conference is not available, the article has a still photo now. Please if you can find that video or determine if this the start of a news coverup I would appreciate it….we need that proof it has been going on for awhile….the jaw bone laying in the dirt is a stark image, we can’t afford not surface.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 6, 2011

      Click on Judith’s link above and there is a video on the side…is this what you are looking for? Also they said in the news clip that there is a link on their website online that will take you to comments and such.

      Reply
      • Judith

         /  March 6, 2011

        Thanks Erica – I found the link, I think the problem was viewing on my IPAD the video looked like a still – knowing what these monsters are capable I jumped to the conclusion they were covering things up. News from the shelter is that dogs are getting placed, community members are stepping up and rescues are in place. Word is that the ACO’s will be on administrative leave but this has not been confirmed. It has also been suggested that these poor souls were new dogs – dogs without photos in the urgent folder, those that weren’t previously on anyone’s radar. We have kept that back in fear that then they will say prove that they existed. But trust me the evidence is clear until these monsters took them out to murder them, they all were thriving creatures in a bad situation at the hands of our broken shelter system.

      • Erica

         /  March 8, 2011

        I know EXACTLY what you are saying…I think we’ve all seen situations where dogs ‘disappear’ and clips from news stories that ‘disappear’ right along with them…hiding the evidence. Given everything that many of us have been dealing with lately it’s understandable to be concerned that there will be a cover up, especially with the sheriff trying to convince everyone that the shootings were legal. Dumb butt doesn’t realize that the law states exactly what is legal – and he’s supposed to know the law. Maybe he’s taken some of the HSUS’ classes? LOL

  5. Mary

     /  March 6, 2011

    Is there a typo in this ?? The article refers to phenobarbital – but the euthanazia drug is pentobarbitol.
    Phenobarb is a different drug, I believe.

    Reply
  6. I received a reply from the AG Office:

    Dear Joni,

    Your email to the Attorney General’s Office has been referred to Constituent Services for response.

    Thank you for contacting our Office; however, this matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s Office. We do not have a general investigation section in which can investigate the complaints of private citizens. The primary purpose of this Office is to represent the State of South Carolina in a legal capacity as chief prosecutor.

    Given the nature of your request, you may wish to contact the SC humane Society. They may be reached at the following;

    SC Humane Society

    121 Humane Lane
    Columbia, SC 29209-4605
    (803) 783-1267

    I hope this information is helpful.

    Sincerely,
    Constituent Services

    >>> “South Carolina Attorney General” 3/4/2011 9:26 PM >>>
    Name * Joni Solis
    Question or Comment *
    Please investigate the shooting of 22 Chesterfield Co shelter dogs at the local landfill. Please don’t let whomever did this get away with it. It is a black mark on your state and who would want to visit there it these kind of things happen there and go unpunished. This shelter needs to be reformed.

    Reply
    • You are not the only one getting the brush off Joni. Thank you for trying and please don’t give up!

      Reply
    • It’s outrageous that the AG would try to push you off on the “SC Humane Society” (which does not exist). The law states plain as day that it’s the AG’s job to “bring an action to enjoin a violation” of the law pertaining to methods of shelter pet killings. And they’ve done it before.
      The state AG office prosecuted 2 ACOs in another county in 2009 who were caught on film, heartsticking dogs straight off the truck.

      Reply
      • Erica

         /  March 7, 2011

        I, too have sent my e-mails…am still awaiting replies…but thanks to the heads up about this…IF I get the brush off like it appreas others are getting I am going to reply with the info you just provided, Shirley.

        Thanks for the heads up on those 2 cases and that it is the AG’s job to handle this. I will cite those if/when I hear back from them.

      • Erica

         /  March 7, 2011

        I received a reply from “Betty Lynn Watson” that stated the animal shelter is under the jurisdiction of the COUNTY not the TOWN. She sent me to think link –
        to contact the local humane society – http://www.humanesc.org/ (so is this a ‘real’ hs or not?)

        Also sent me to this link for the county – http://www.chesterfieldcountysc.com/default.aspx

        So who the hell are we supposed to be contacting if the town is separate from the county? I pushed and responded to her to ask EXACTLY where I should go to voice my concerns and she said that SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement) and the County Council would be the best places to contact.

        Hope this helps!

      • Yes Erica, those are the links in my post – Chesterfield COUNTY and SLED. HSPCA is a real place and they have a cruelty investigator. They are however, in Columbia, which is not in Chesterfield Co. And the notion that their cruelty investigator would trump SLED or the state AG or any of the Chesterfield County commissioners is dumb. I think people just see the word “dogs” in the complaint and think “Hey let’s pawn them off on that spay-neuter clinic in Columbia!”

      • Erica

         /  March 8, 2011

        I guess I fell for it! LOL I sent the HS an e-mail asking them to look into it! Maybe they’ll send it where it needs to go? I can only hope. Darn – seems we’re all getting the run around in this letter writing deal…hoping the rescuers are having better luck finding the people to handle this!

  7. Here is another passing the buck reply:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Town Of Chesterfield – Betty Lynn Watson
    Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM
    Subject: RE: Changes need in your animal control

    This is not under the town’s jurisdiction. This is operated by Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department.
    Concerns maybe be addressed to 843-623-2101- Sheriff’s Office or the County Administrator 843-623-2535.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    You say: I can’t manage.
    God says: I will supply all your needs!
    Philippians 4:19

    Betty Lynn Watson
    Municipal Clerk
    Town of Chesterfield
    843-623-9104
    cftmclerk@shtc.net
    chesterfield-sc.com

    —–Original Message—–
    Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 11:37 AM
    To: JDouglasHCC@Hotmail.com
    Cc: cftmclerk@shtc.net
    Subject: Changes need in your animal control

    Mayor John Douglas
    805 West Main Street. Chesterfield, SC 29709

    Dear Mayor John Douglas and Town Council Members,

    Please start over with your animal control. All new people need to run this place. Please that actually like and care about homeless pets. It is NOT right to have people run your animal control that do NOT respect the animals or the laws of your town and nation.

    The majority of people love pets and want to see them re-homed not killed and specially not killed in the ways that this animal control has been doing it in the past — gassing and shooting.

    Ever animal entering your animal control needs to be given an opportunity to leave the place ALIVE. Put in the program that lead to NO-KILL.

    You must have a separate group investigate the allegations of the dog shootings. You must provide a budget for the shelter that is large enough to run it right and humanly. Prisoners should be checked out first before allowing them to work in the shelter and not left unattended with the animals. Weekly routine inspections and reports by an unbiased individual or group should be done.
    A record accounting of how every animal is euthanized and the reason for that euthanization should be keep and made public. No animal should be killed it their is a rescue group willing to take it.

    Please learn more about the no kill movement online.

    — Joni Solis

    Reply
  8. db

     /  March 7, 2011

    Just sent an email to the governor. We’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is really willing to step up and tackle this problem.
    RIP – at least these dogs and puppies will never again know the cruelty of human beings.

    Reply
  9. Daniela

     /  March 8, 2011

    I called the governor – was transferred to another person (never called a political office before so am not sure if that is normal or not) and was told that the investigation is under way. I was asked no questions. The first person seemed slightly exasperated – wonder if she has been fielding a lot of calls like this – but I can’t say I was all that eloquent so that might have had something to do with it.

    I will email the AG tonight – this phone call proved to me that I am much better at typing my thoughts out and thinking about them then trying to speak them on the fly.

    Daniela

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 8, 2011

      When I make the phone calls I always write down the points I have to discuss and then just check them off as we converse…if that helps at all. In fact, when I called the Gov yesterday I basically just read what I put in one of the e-mails I sent – word for word! LOL I, too am better at ‘conversing’ by writing things down – I can spell out EXACTLY what I want to say and edit it so I feel more comfortable with what I’m saying AND making sure I touch on each valid point that I need to make.

      Reply

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