Wanda Sue Larson, a Union Co Department of Social Services child-protection investigations supervisor, and Dorian Lee Harper, an emergency room nurse, had 4 adopted children and a foster child living at their North Carolina home:
[Union Co] Sheriff Cathey said all five children in the home slept on the floor in a single bedroom, where the foster child was regularly handcuffed to a piece of railroad to keep him from running away.
But the foster child, a boy, escaped in December 2012 and ran to a neighbor’s home, begging for food and claiming he did not know where he lived. The neighbor called 911 and the deputy responding to the call filed a complaint with DSS:
Less than a week later, the deputy received a letter from DSS investigator Lisa Kawyn, saying that the deputy’s complaint “does not meet statutory definition of abuse, neglect or dependency,” and the matter was closed, the sheriff said.
In mid-November 2013, a neighbor called animal control, run by the Union Co sheriff’s office, regarding a missing pig being sought by one of the children at the home. When the deputy arrived, he found the shivering 11 year old foster child handcuffed to the front porch rail by the ankle with a dead chicken tied around his neck with twine. Authorities removed all 5 children from the home as well as 103 animals, who were described as living in deplorable conditions:
Here’s the breakdown: 56 chickens and turkeys, 10 ducks, 10 dogs, eight geese, four donkeys, three horses, three guinea hens, two llamas, two cats, two finches, one cockatiel, one peacock and a pot-bellied pig named “Wilbur.”
Rescue groups, neighbors and area farmers took in the livestock. Nine dogs were taken to the Union Co pound where workers quickly stuffed five of them into the gas chamber. Three were gassed because they were old and two because they were aggressive.
Age is not an excuse to kill a pet and there is no possible way any gas chamber enthusiasts could determine a dog was so dangerous he required killing within a matter of days. But then, this is what Union Co does. Despite operating expenses of more than $1.2 million in 2012, Union Co killed more than 75% of the dogs and cats in its care.
But you know, they’re not monsters.
[Lt. Michelle Starnes, who oversees pound operations for the Union Co sheriff's office] said the smallest dog, a terrier mix named “Max,” was returned to the children who lived at the Austin Road home because he was their favorite.
Union County, you blew it when you let one of your own child-protection investigations supervisors abuse children at her home. She was clearly not held to the same standards and protocols as other parents who adopt and foster kids in your county. You bombed again in December 2012 when you failed to investigate in any way the matter of a starving, abused child who escaped his captors and cried out to you for help. When this month’s incident forced you to stop looking the other way, you sick degenerates pulled old and malnourished dogs from the home and tortured them to death in your barbaric gas chamber. And finally, you twisted smackoffs forced a Sophie’s Choice upon the child victims you failed in this case by having them pick a “favorite” dog to save from your pet killing facility.
Mercifully, Larson and Harper have finally been “charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and animal cruelty, because of the conditions of animals found at the home.” No word on charges against any of the good ol’ boys in the Union Co sheriff’s office or DSS, nor do I expect any. Inflicting misery on sentient beings seems to be the job description for Union Co officials – and they’re very good at what they do. We should probably bring them cupcakes.
(Thanks Lisa for sending me this story.)