Updated: Chesterfield Co Developments for March 7

This is the latest on developments surrounding the alleged shooting of shelter dogs in Chesterfield Co, SC.  It will be updated if new information emerges today.

It seems as if what we’ve heard from the Sheriff so far indicates a position of shooting-shelter-pets-is-legal-so-yay.  Let’s go over the applicable state law with a flea comb.

SC law states that shelter pets may be killed via injection, gas or:

(3) Shooting:

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.

(B) In any of the previously listed methods, an animal may not be left unattended between the time euthanasia procedures have commenced and the time death occurs, and the animal’s body may not be disposed of until death is confirmed by a certified euthanasia technician.

Shooting may be used as a means of euthanasia only in an emergency situation - Only in an emergency – and not just any old situation that an ACO deems an emergency.  The situation must meet certain criteria.

to prevent extreme suffering - For example, an ACO comes across a mangled cat lying in the road at midnight.  The cat appears to be medically hopeless and suffering.  Although the ACO is a certified euthanasia tech, he doesn’t have any Fatal Plus on him and is unable to reach any ACOs or vets who can get there in less than an hour.  The ACO deems that it would be cruel to allow the cat to suffer for another hour and decides to shoot the cat as an emergency means of preventing extreme suffering.

or in which the safety of people or other animal life is threatened - Cujo is running down Main St, biting people or stalking the perimeter of Farmer Dan’s field where his sheep are grazing.

or where it is considered necessary by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to eliminate or control the population of feral animals – The SC Dept. of Natural Resources is unlikely to be involved with making emergency decisions on the disposition of shelter dogs and if it was, the dogs would have to be feral in order to qualify under the law as candidates for emergency shooting.

As I interpret the law, if shelter dogs are shot to death under circumstances which fail to meet any of the above criteria, the killings can not be considered lawful.  I am not an attorney but the law does seem pretty clear.  Furthermore:

(B) In any of the previously listed methods, an animal may not be left unattended between the time euthanasia procedures have commenced and the time death occurs, and the animal’s body may not be disposed of until death is confirmed by a certified euthanasia technician. – If an ACO deems any particular situation to qualify for emergency shooting as provided within the law, he must stay with the animal he’s shot until he has confirmed death – assuming the ACO is a certified euthanasia tech.  If the ACO performing the emergency shooting is not a certified euthanasia tech, he still must stay with the animal until he verifies death and then either call a tech out to the scene for verification before disposal or bring the remains back to the shelter where a tech can verify death before disposal.

If the Sheriff’s office investigation results in a finding of no wrongdoing because shooting is a legal method of killing shelter pets, I sincerely hope they plan to back up that claim with details of exactly how this situation qualified as an emergency, which emergency criteria it met, and who the certified euthanasia technician was on hand to confirm death before disposal.

In addition, people who have contacted the various authorities are reporting back that everyone is trying to pass the buck.  Do not be deterred. Continue to reach out via letters, faxes, phone calls and e-mails.  If they fail to silence us with their “not my problem” responses, they will be forced to come up with an alternative action.  Maybe even doing their jobs.

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.

Added:  I called Gov. Haley’s office and expressed my concerns, specifically about the need for an independent investigation, the “not my problem” syndrome that seems to be going around certain government authorities, and the fact that shooting shelter dogs is NOT a lawful means of “euthanasia” except in certain emergency cases – of which this does not appear to qualify.  I was advised the Governor is very aware of the situation in Chesterfield and a statement will be issued (unknown when but it’s being worked on this afternoon).  The Governor’s office is taking down names and phone numbers of people who call about the alleged killings and that list is “very long”.  Call and add your name!

Added #2:  New information from tonight’s news coverage:

On Sunday night, Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker shut down the county animal shelter and put all four animal control officers on leave.

Deputies and volunteers are stopping by throughout the day to care for the animals, but the gate is closed and all animal complaints are now being handled by sheriff’s deputies.
[...]

On Monday, Eyewitness News learned that sheriff’s investigators found the remains of six dogs that had been shot. Three of them have been sent to Columbia for autopsies. Parker said he hopes the autopsy will determine how they died, if they had been sick and, if the bullets can be recovered, who shot them.

Because that’s all a huge mystery right now.  A real headscratcher, that one.

Parker said if the investigation turns up evidence that shooting the dogs was a criminal act, his office will not investigate any further because of a conflict of interest.

But if they clear themselves of any criminal wrongdoing – well of course THAT’S not a conflict of interest.  That’s just solid police work.  [fistbump]

Parker said if worse comes to worse; the shelter could close down for good. Ongoing funding woes and controversy could leave the county without a shelter or animal control officers.

“The citizens of Chesterfield County will once again have animals running wild. It’s an option we have to look at, that this shelter may go away,” he said.

*sniff*

Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home! [/Eric Cartman voice]

Oh, also:  Animals running wild!  ZOMG!  Everyone to your bunkers!  Buy gold!

***
Sheriff’s deputies dig through landfill for slaughtered dogs

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18 Comments

  1. What kind of people do they hire for county leaders in Chesterfield County, SC? All seem to say, “It’s not my job — not my responsibility”. Passing the buck is NOT leadership!

    Reply
  2. Lisa in OH

     /  March 7, 2011

    As per ACO Kip Gulledge who is also a Litter Control Officer as is lead ACO Brian Burch http://bit.ly/hRFFHW dogs shot are not listed on euth log. Only dogs destroyed by lethal injection are put on list. Agency stopped using gas chamber in August 2010.

    Sheriff Sam Parker, his secretary, 3 volunteers from Paws and Claws, founder Jerry Gaskins, Deborah Farhi, Amy Yow [ + 5 detectives coming and going].
    1.) sheriff called ACO Kip & requested Euthanasia log; 2.) when ACO delivered sheriff asked if dogs shot were on log; 3.) ACO replied negative, only dogs destroyed by lethal injection are on log; 4.) sheriff stated shooting dogs is legal; 5.) sheriff stated “I’ll call them myself, but SLED South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will not touch this.” Some volunteers allege dogs shot had not been impounded and kept five days. ** Were this to be proved agency would be in violation of Animal Welfare and Protection Act. USDA – APHIS There is/are 24/7 surveillance cameras at agency.

    This is from an ACO forum

    Reply
    • Which begs the question – where is the log for the dogs who were shot? Or are those dogs just “disappeared”?

      Reply
      • Lisa in OH

         /  March 7, 2011

        Apparently only enough fatal plus to kill approx 14 dogs has been purchased yet over 80 dogs are gone. I think if I were in the area I would be requesting copies of all surveillance video as well as the purchase logs

    • Anne

       /  March 7, 2011

      i would assume the euthanasia log is just to track the use of the sodium pentobarbitol (since it’s a clase II drug) and may not actually be used to track the ‘euthanasias’
      am i making sense?

      Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 7, 2011

      If the log is only to keep track of those dogs that were euthanized using Fatal Plus…where is the record of the dogs kill by other means? Seriously – how can this facility keep recors and report figures if they aren’t tracking them? Their numbers are going to be totally off and there’s no way of telling how many animals that they really had in their care, is there?

      If they do indeed had 24/7 cameras then they most definitely need to pull those tapes and watch them ALL. That needs to be part of the investigation. Especially, if it shows dogs leaving and never returning…it will help prove that these guys have been shooting animals this whole time. I guess they were upset at the shut down of the gas chamber – so they decided to go a cheaper route and shoot them. Why buy Fatal Plus when you can use that money to buy new SUV’s?

      The sherrif and his crew are a joke. This facility needs some MAJOR revamping – and a new director brought in. What still amazes me is that a prisoner tipped the rescuers off about this. I really hope that there is no retaliation in that, as this poor guy is stuck in prison and has no choice but to deal with the officers in charge of him (and I’ve heard enough stories to know that there are officers that enjoy retaliating against prisoners that go against them or over their heads to get something accomplished).

      I just keep praying that the truth will come out, the facility will be reformed and new people brought in to run it. People who have the animals best interests in mind.

      Lisa – I was under the impression that 1 vial of Fatal Plus would kill 14 animals…and I heard mention of 2 vials being purchased. So wouldn’t that mean 28 dogs, instead of just 14? Regardless – there were 80 +/- animals killed since the gas chamber was shut down so they have a LOT of animals to account for.

      Reply
  3. db

     /  March 7, 2011

    The whole situation is beyond tragic, but the worst is that these people don’t think they’ve done anything wrong! I can’t get my mind around that . . .

    Reply
  4. Patricia Hannon

     /  March 7, 2011

    To think that anyone in this country would think this is okay is totally abhorrent. I hope this sherriff is voted out at the next election. He doesn’t have any business being in that office.

    Reply
  5. Daniela

     /  March 7, 2011

    Do we know what is happening to the animals that are still there? I know there was concern that there might be retaliation and people were trying to pull them before today. Did that happen?

    Daniela

    Reply
    • Locals came out and adopted a bunch this weekend. Rescues have stepped up as well. The dog population sounds like it’s been reduced by a good bit but still a lot of cats. I’m guessing maybe 50 dogs and 50 cats left.

      Reply
      • Daniela

         /  March 7, 2011

        Seems like the cats get forgotten a lot. Hopefully some rescues in the area can step up for them too. I will be adding my name and number to the Governor’s list. I am not in SC but hopefully knowing the whole nation is watching will help.

        Daniela

      • Thanks Daniela. I know if I was the Governor, I’d be very pissed at these few people who are making the whole state look backwards and cruel.

  6. Judy

     /  March 7, 2011

    What the????? Why don’t you put a few orphans out there too? This is just not appropriate. It’s somewhat akin to the ranges where they pen wild animals in a fairly small area and let rednecks play ‘Great White Hunter’. What is the world coming to, anyway? And, what the heck is wrong with empty bottles and bull’s eyes anymore. Not exciting enough? I know the state of South Carolina will NOT let this brutality happen. No way.

    Reply
  7. SC Now is reporting that the shelter is closed indefinitely. Has anyone heard about this?

    http://www2.scnow.com/news/pee-dee/2011/mar/07/chesterfield-animal-shelter-closed-after-dogs-foun-ar-1548923/

    Reply
  8. JM

     /  March 7, 2011

    Not only did he pass the buck, but the mayor of Chesterfield directed me to the sheriff’s department! What part of “outside agency” was unclear?!

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 8, 2011

      I got the same response from most of those I e-mailed. I responded back to them that I was requesting an outside – uninvolved group do the investigation. I also pointed out the OBVIOUS conflict of interest involved. You want to know what I heard back from them? Nothing. Not a – “you’re right” or “how about you try____”. Nope just silence.

      Reply
  9. sac

     /  March 7, 2011

    Demand that the shelter be handed over to the the people who really care…to the volunteers of Paws and Claws…what a solution to the problem, according to the sheriff…close the shelter indefinitely..now..there’s an executive decision for ya!!

    Reply
  10. Jeanne

     /  March 8, 2011

    I commented back on the original Mar. 4 post about the shootings asking if anyone else had heard some dogs weren’t shot but were released along a road. That issue is being revisited on the Paws and Claws FB page today–seems that 6 puppies were driven down a road and turned loose to fend for themselves. Better than being shot? Choose your hell, I guess. Did the ACOs feel a twinge of compassion? Or did the bullets run out?

    Reply

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