June 5, 2012
December 2, 2011
Regular readers will remember Sheriff Sam Parker in Chesterfield Co, SC on whose watch the ACOs were reportedly shooting dogs to death in the landfill, hitting cats in the head with pipes and using up euthanasia drugs by some means other than pet euthanasia. This week a tip lead the sheriff’s office to investigate a property in the county where 2 dozen dogs were found locked in cages, chained or roaming loose. The dogs were reportedly in rough shape with overgrown toenails, contaminated drinking water and at least one dog was yelping in pain.
“It is disgusting, these dogs are walking around in about 2-3 inches of their own feces and urine,” said [volunteer] Joy Young.
“Their pads have been ripped open from walking on wire for so many years,” said Young.
Animal control personnel from the sheriff’s office went out to inspect.
But inspection was apparently the only thing on the menu that day because the ACOs left the dogs there. The sheriff’s office said it would take days before they might get around to actually helping the dogs. Well, at least it’s not the worst abuse and neglect case they’ve ever seen:
The volunteers say they were told this was the worst case of abuse and neglect ever seen.
D’oh! Temperatures have dipped to around freezing at night in Chesterfield Co. I don’t know that a few inches of feces and urine makes surviving the night any easier. It makes one wonder how long it takes the sheriff’s office to take action regarding pets whose state of neglect is not the worst they’ve ever seen.
August 3, 2011
On the heels of the “budgetary” dismissals of the Chesterfield Co ACOs comes word that the SC Attorney General has signed a settlement with the county regarding the allegations of torture and killings in and outside of the pound. You can read the officially useless document here. Here’s my unofficial summary:
Don’t shoot dogs again. Well, ok you can shoot dogs again but if you do, you’ll need to let us know about it directly. Also, your pound is subject to random inspections by DHEC and the “Humane Society”.
DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) is the SC state agency responsible for regulation of various health related matters (like permits for serving food to the public and such). They don’t regulate animal shelters as far as I know. I can not imagine Chesterfield Co is too worried about any surprise inspections from DHEC.
The “Humane Society” – I don’t even know what entity the name refers to so can’t really comment on the possibility of surprise inspections except to say there is no “Humane Society” I know of that would have any authority to do a damn thing about anything going on in the Chesterfield pound.
All in all, a pretty clear message to animal abusers in SC: Come on down, it’s anything goes here, especially if you get on the county payroll. The worst case scenario if you get caught is 5 months paid vacation, courtesy of taxpayers.
August 3, 2011
The four ACOs from Chesterfield Co, SC who were allegedly shooting dogs to death in a landfill near the pound as a form of “euthanasia” have been fired. They weren’t fired because Sheriff Sam Parker – who oversees the pound – finally put his foot down and announced it was unacceptable to shoot dogs to death, nor were they fired due to discrepancies related to the pound’s “euthanasia” drugs (which were apparently not being used on pets). The four men were fired, after a five month vacation on the taxpayers’ dime, not because they were allegedly beating cats’ heads in with pipes, but according to Fox Charlotte:
Parker says the decision was budgetary.
Sheriff Parker issued a statement regarding the situation which can be read here. It basically says everyone makes mistakes, keep your opinions to yourself, the Attorney General’s office hasn’t made a ruling on the case – oh and “God’s creatures” blah.
So apparently there are some openings in Chesterfield Co for people who like to torture pets. Animal abusers, come on down.
Where SLED may be in this on-again/off-again investigation remains a mystery but thank goodness Fox Charlotte is on the case. They obtained drug records from the shelter for the past year and compared those records to the number of pets killed:
In May, $44 worth of Euthasol, a lethal injection drug was purchased from Webster Vet Supply.
Here is the most detailed purchase order: in September, shelter director and convicted felon Brian Burch got 10 bottles of Ketamine and 1 bottle of Euthasol, or euthanasia solution, for a total of $100.92, which is exact amount of the December order, too.
There are no details provided on the December order but with the invoice total matching the September purchase order to the penny, it’s possible the orders were identical. If that was the case, that would mean there are 10 bottles of Special K unaccounted for, as the shelter only provided records for 10 bottles:
Two bottles were used entirely in one milliliter doses, meaning the 20 dogs euthanized weighed the exact same amount. Two bottles were partially used and six bottles remained unused.
Here’s the math on the Euthasol, courtesy of Fox Charlotte:
Euthasol is sold in 100 milliliter bottles. Dosing guidelines show one milliliter of Euthasol is required for every ten pounds of animal. That means one bottle can euthanize one thousand pounds of animal, and three bottles equals three thousand pounds.
The shelter put down a total of 1,640 dogs and cats. Three thousand divided by 1,640 would means each animal lethally injected by the shelter would have weighed about 1.2 pounds.
Gee, it’s hard to imagine that Chesterfield hasn’t been heavily mined by rescue groups desperate to obtain these 1 pound pocket pets the shelter apparently has in plentiful supply. I’ll take an 18 ounce Beagle please. Actually, make that two. I’m pretty sure I can afford the extra teaspoon of food for the widdle buggers.
Thank you Lisa for sending me the link to this story.
March 31, 2011
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting deaths of six dogs because South Carolina’s attorney general doesn’t think Chesterfield County’s internal investigation went far enough.
The dogs were found almost a month ago in a landfill where euthanized animals are dumped. They had been shot in the head.
Soooooo, SLED hadn’t already been investigating the case? Geez, this is getting embarrassing (er).
SLED agents must conduct official interviews with four animal control officers, asking if they participated or directed anyone to participate in the unlawful shooting of dogs.
The agents will also look into reports of dog-fighting-related activities at the shelter.
What if the ACOs say they know nothing about shooting dogs or dogfighting? Will that wrap up the case? What about the Schedule III drugs that remain unaccounted for at the shelter (run by a convicted drug felon) – will SLED be asking yay or nay on that?
March 24, 2011
And ain’t none of it good.
- The rescuer who found out about the dogs being shot at the landfill, dug two of them up and alerted the media says SLED never interviewed her for its investigation.
- The former inmate who worked at the shelter and says he saw ACOs shoot dozens of shelter pets and bash cats in the head with pipes also reports SLED did not speak with him.
- Apparently the SC system that licenses ACOs, such as convicted drug felon/shelter director Brian Burch, for the administration of euthanasia drugs is “essentially an honor system” according to Fox Charlotte. Oops.
March 22, 2011
Let’s run through the allegations of criminal activity at the Chesterfield Co shelter in SC:
- Shooting pets to death at a landfill (with no firearms having been issued to the ACOs)
- Bashing cats in the head with pipes
- Failure to account for Schedule III drugs purchased (while a convicted drug felon runs the shelter)
- Pitbulls (and other dogs) being used for dogfighting
With the allegations of shelter dogs of other breeds being used to demonstrate the fighting abilities of the Pitbulls, it makes me wonder about the circumstances under which Bessie was injured and ultimately killed at this shelter.
The SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has now completed their investigation and turned over their findings to the state Attorney General. 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. I look forward to hearing his determinations in the case.
Lastly, an Awareness Day is planned for Thursday, April 21 in Columbia, SC:
WE HOPE THAT A STRONG SHOWING OF SUPPORTERS WILL ENCOURAGE OUR STATE SENATORS AND OUR GOVERNOR TO CONSIDER UPGRADING OUR ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS AND AUTHORIZE THE INSPECTION OF ANIMAL SHELTERS THROUGHOUT THE STATE.
March 16, 2011
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley held a town hall meeting Monday night in York County (which is near Chesterfield Co). Several animal advocates were in attendance and the governor was asked about getting a fair investigation into the alleged shooting of shelter dogs. She seems content to wait for the results of the investigation:
“When we see something that is wrong, we’ll acknowledge it and then move forward and do something about it,” Governor Haley told the audience. That seems to ease the minds of some, while raising concerns with others in attendance.
Put me in that latter group. Remember, no one at the shelter has denied that dogs were shot or that cats were beaten with pipes. I think it’s safe to say something is wrong NOW.
In a more troubling development, rescuers who work with the shelter report that Sheriff Parker has instituted a new pull fee. It will now cost $20 for rescuers to save a dog from being shot in the head by ACOs or a cat from having its head bashed with a pipe. The money will be earmarked for a “shelter maintenance” fund. Maybe they’re running low on lead pipes. I hope the Sheriff reconsiders this new policy which will undoubtedly result in fewer rescued pets and more bodies at the landfill.
FOX Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty asked [former shelter worker Frankie] Bowers, “Did you ever see them, during your time there, ever lethally inject an animal?” Bowers says, “No. Never. Not one time.”
Bowers says he was instructed to feed, water and clean the animals. It was also his job to take a front-end loader over to a dirt area across the street and cover the dead animals with dirt. He found one dog still alive. Bowers says, “The dog was still sitting up on it’s haunches and it was bleeding everywhere and they done (sic) shot him in the head a few times and the dog was still alive and he was in misery and you could tell he was suffering.”
He says the cats didn’t fare any better. “If they (the county employees) couldn’t catch them (the cats), they would hit them over the head to knock them out.” Fogarty asked, “With what?” Bowers reply: “A pipe.”
Mr. Bowers was ordered by the court to work at the shelter in January. He says he witnessed the shootings of dozens of shelter pets.
What’s described here is a long term pattern of extreme cruelty in my opinion. It is not an isolated case of poor judgment. It is not attributable to a lack of funding. Nor can it be excused by claiming a lack of education. These are deliberate, repeated acts of violence against defenseless pets who were completely reliant upon the ACOs for care.
If these horrific acts were the “standard of care” at the Chesterfield Co shelter, it seems incredible to think the Sheriff did not know about it.
A piece in the NYT reminds us:
In addition to a growing sensitivity to the rights of animals, another significant reason for the increased attention to animal cruelty is a mounting body of evidence about the link between such acts and serious crimes of more narrowly human concern, including illegal firearms possession, drug trafficking, gambling, spousal and child abuse, rape and homicide.
I sincerely hope SLED does a thorough job on this investigation. Clearly, the community deserves to know the whole truth.