SC Shelter Director Fired; Rescuers Allege Not Enough Killing

Last Saturday, a rumor of a planned mass killing of dogs at the Chester Co pound in SC began circulating on Facebook.  The county denies that any mass kill was ever going to take place.  That same day, the county fired the pound’s director and will not say why.

Rescuers began showing up to pull dogs, fearing a mass kill.  They allege the pound was filthy and overcrowded because “the previous director was not euthanizing enough animals or adopting enough of them out”.

Not killing enough.  The article indicates the pound killed roughly 1/3 of the pets in its care last year.

A rescuer named Janet Richardson offered the following:

“Their hearts go out, and they’re thinking with their hearts, but in the end that’s not what’s best for the animals,” Richardson said.

What’s best for the animals is that they are well cared for until they are adopted out.  Period.  Thinking with one’s heart is not necessarily a bad thing.  A compassionate director is part of the No Kill Equation.

Interim Director Mary Anne Tolbert worked at the shelter for several years and has just come back to take over operations. She said it was too hard for the staff there to put animals down. A lot of them were kept in the shelter much longer than they should have been.

“You want people in animal control who love animals for one thing, but sometimes, you get attached,” she said.

Again, a feeling of being attached to the animals in your care is not a bad thing if you work at an animal shelter.  And needlessly killing friendly pets should be hard – for any human being.

“We’re all here for the same reason,” [Tolbert] said. “We should work together.”

Are we?  I’m not so sure after reading this article.  I “think” with my heart and love animals and get attached to strays.  I believe every shelter pet has a right to live and should be well cared for until adopted.  I’m here for no kill.  What are you here for?

 

SLED Investigating ASPCA Partner Shelter for Embezzlement

The Charleston Animal Society in SC doesn’t say on its website how many pets it kills each year.  But it does point the finger at who is to blame for shelter pet killing:

The pet overpopulation problem

An estimated 3 – 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in our country.  Because there are more unwanted pets than there are available homes, each new litter of kittens, puppies, rabbits, and other animals leads to the euthanasia of animals already waiting for new homes.

There is no pet overpopulation problem.  There are no unwanted pets.  There are enough homes for every shelter pet in America.  Each litter of pets born into the world does not cause the killing of shelter pets.  The people who kill pets at shelters are responsible for their own actions.

In the spring of 2008, the Charleston Animal Society moved into a “brand new state-of-the-art 31,000 square feet” building as Charleston County joined the ASCPA Partnership.  The partnership’s goal makes mention of “no more unnecessary euthanasia of adoptable animals” and states:

Through its participation in ASPCA® Partner Community™, Charleston County has pledged to move towards a 75 percent save rate for homeless companion animals by the year 2012.

The Charleston Animal Society is the only open admission shelter in the county, taking in more than 10,000 pets each year.  So how are they doing in their goal to reach a 75% save rate ?  I don’t know because they don’t post their stats online.  I e-mailed an inquiry this morning regarding the stats but haven’t yet received a reply.

However, even if they reach the 75% live release rate, we know from the numerous open admission shelters around the country who have ended the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets that a live release rate of 90% or greater is the standard.  In other words, a kill rate of 25% would not be indicative of the stated goal regarding an end to the killing of adoptable pets.

Setting all this aside for the moment, the Charleston Animal Society’s website, like the sites of many shelters, has lots of space dedicated to asking for donations.  One page states that your donation will help the group “provide food, shelter and medical care to nearly 12,000 homeless animals each year”.  That sounds swell.  And surely all those who have given money to the Charleston Animal Society, including the ASPCA, would take comfort in believing their donations were spent on community pets in need.

Unfortunately, that apparently is not what’s been happening with the money at the Charleston Animal Society:

In emails obtained exclusively by News 2 reporter Rebecca Ryan, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon writes:  “It has come to my attention that the Charleston Animal Society [...] has discovered some internal issues involving personnel and moneys that are missing, misappropriated, or otherwise not spent in professionally excepted [sic] practices.”

[...]

In other emails from Charleston County Council members, one council member said the Animal Society Board was writing checks out of their own pockets to cover up the “thefts”.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating.  The board of the Charleston Animal Society issued a statement putting the allegedly embezzled funds at $69,000 over a period of several years.  The board’s statement hints that the 2011 save rate for the facility may be as low as 50%.  It paints the alleged embezzlers as a few bad apples.  The statement also contains this gem:

The timing of this discovery couldn’t be worse as we head into the last two weeks of the year, when those donors who make our life-saving work possible plan their year-end giving.

Dang, what a lousy time of year to have SLED knock on your door asking about tens of thousands of missing dollars.  *sniff*

As far as exactly which dollars were allegedly embezzled, the investigation is ongoing but naturally the county wants to know about the money it pays to the shelter:

Charleston County Council member, Elliot Summey, said so far it doesn’t appear any money is missing from the pool the county gives to the Animal Society.

So if it’s not the county money that’s missing, where would the alleged embezzlers be siphoning funds?

A photo on the Charleston Animal Society's website shows a $600,000 check from the ASPCA.

Blame the public for killing.  Lie about no kill.  Steal money from kind-hearted donors.  Where did Charleston Animal Society get its playbook?

Watch this space for updates.

SC Shelter Sends 41 Dogs on ASPCA Transport: Saved?

John Sibley brought it to my attention this afternoon that the ASPCA was engaging in an HSUS style “rescue” of 41 dogs from a shelter here in SC.  From the ASPCA blog:

This morning we arrived at A Second Chance Animal Shelter (ASCAS) in Manning, South Carolina. After meeting with the staff, we carefully secured 41 dogs in our transport vehicle and set off on our journey to give these homeless pups a second chance.

Call to Action
The plan actually began a few months ago when the ASPCA Animal Relocation Team was asked to assist ASCAS. The organization was desperate to transport a few of their long-term shelter residents to other areas of the country where they would have a better chance at adoption.

ASCAS’ office manager told us these were great dogs, but some had been at the shelter for years. In Manning, the supply of dogs far exceeds the demand—there just aren’t enough homes for them all.

John points out that ASPCA is transporting these dogs to shelters who needlessly kill pets for space.  Gee, this doesn’t sound like the kind of “help” any caring shelter staff would want for dogs they’ve taken care of for years.  I reached out to A Second Chance Animal Shelter for comment regarding the transport.  This was the reply I received, in its entirety:

Shirley,

Thank you for your concern, however we have checked out all the shelters that have pulled from us and we are pleased with what we have done. We are a low to no kill shelter and only euthanize if the animal is severely ill and we can not treat or if an animal is aggressive. We take pride in what we are able to accomplish each year; however due to the fact that we are low to no kill people are less likely to adopt or pull from our shelter. Everyone thinks why adopt from them when they can save from a kill shelter. We also signed a contract with each shelter stating that our dogs are not to be euthanized, except for the reasons that we a low to no kill shelter do; and that is severe aggression and severe health issues. All of the dogs that we sent were healthy and SAFER tested before they left. We know that they will not be euthanized.

Thank you,

Amanda Childs

A Second Chance Animal Shelter
5079 Alex Harvin Highway
Manning, SC 29102
(803) 473-7075 Office
(803) 473-7503 Fax

http://www.ascasmanningsc.doodlekit.com

Designer Dogs Are Mutts In Disguise!

“You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others – something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
-Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965)

To Donate to A Second Chance
Animal Shelter, go to:

https://www.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=57-1075206

Confidentiality Notice
This message is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged, confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately either by phone (803-473-7075) or reply to this e-mail and delete all copies of this message.

“Low to no kill”?  Is that the sheltering version of a little bit pregnant?  At any rate, since the response indicated they had signed an agreement regarding their dogs not being killed by the shelters who kill for space, I asked a follow up question regarding that issue.  Specifically, I mentioned that if a shelter kills for space and agrees to accept X number of dogs from out of state, the logical assumption is that X number of dogs already living at the shelter will be killed to make space for the incoming dogs.  This is the reply I received, in its entirety:

From: “A Second Chance Animal Shelter”
Date: Tue, November 15, 2011 1:43 pm
To:  eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com

Please read the confidentiality notice, I do not wish to correspond any further with you. Good-bye.

A Second Chance Animal Shelter

5079 Alex Harvin Highway

Manning, SC 29102

(803) 473-7075 Office

(803) 473-7503 Fax

http://www.ascasmanningsc.doodlekit.com

Designer Dogs Are Mutts In Disguise!

“You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others – something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
-Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965)

To Donate to A Second Chance

Animal Shelter, go to:

https://www.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=57-1075206

Confidentiality Notice

This message is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged, confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately either by phone (803-473-7075) or reply to this e-mail and delete all copies of this message.

Oh dear.  Is it something I said?

John has the destinations for the SC dogs:

Capital Area Humane Society, Hilliard, OH  (no reports posted since June 2008)
Bay Area Humane Society, Green Bay, WI  (32% kill rate in 2010)
Animal Humane Society, Golden Valley, MN  (33% kill rate in 2009)

Anyone in the neighborhood of any of these 3 places?

Pets Suffering at Marlboro Co Pound in SC

Remember the pound in Marlboro Co, SC?  This photo was posted on Facebook (I assume by a volunteer) asking for immediate foster/rescue of this bitch and her litter from the Marlboro Co pound.  A later posting indicated someone had offered to take her.  I have no other information but hopefully that info is accurate and the family is (or will soon be) safely out of the pound.

The posting indicated the family had been found under a barn and had been at the pound for 8 days.  I don’t know if the person in charge of the Marlboro Co pound refuses to allow anyone to put an old comforter (or blanket or bedsheet or towel or rag) with a mama dog and her newborn pups.  I wouldn’t think that’s the case because that would be cruel and unusual.  If there isn’t someone there enforcing some kind of sick rule about allowing no warmth or comfort for newborn pups then I am at a complete loss for how this poor bitch and her litter have been allowed to suffer like this.  It’s been 40 degrees in SC at night this week.  Surely this little family was better off under the barn.

The page had a couple of other postings which were slightly less horrifying.  Slightly.

Again, is there some rule that says no one can provide any material comfort to these dogs while they are at the pound?  I do not understand this.  They are not saying there is a lack of resources and that they wish they could provide a dog bed, they are simply saying the dogs are left on cold concrete with nothing.  As if somehow that is in any way acceptable.

HOW is this allowed to happen?  The posting for these dogs talks about how they were betrayed by the owner.  It sounds to me like the owner left them in good condition and the pound turned one of the dogs into a shivering, suffering wreck.  The owner isn’t going to redeem the dogs.  That sucks.  But it happens.  That’s why we have shelters.  That’s why the Marlboro Co pound is there.  Remind me again who I’m supposed to be angry with here?

Updated: More Photos from Marlboro Co Pound

Trish from the Scotland Co HS in NC sent me a number of photos she took at the Marlboro Co facility in SC this weekend.  I am hoping to receive a response from the pound and will update this post when I do.

Trish says the cats are kept in 3 enclosures (two appear to be wood and wire, one appears to be stainless steel) in complete darkness.

Inside the cat room at the Marlboro Co pound.

Cats at Marlboro Co pound.

Cats at Marlboro Co pound.

Cats at Marlboro Co pound.

This is a shot of the water the dogs have to drink.

Adoption friendly hours?

Sign at the Marlboro Co pound.

I’m working to get additional details. Watch this space.

Update, 9-20-11:  I finally reached Cecil Kimrey, the Marlboro Co administrator and asked him about the conditions at the pound.  He declined to comment but then added, “The Humane Society [of Marlboro Co] visits regularly.”  I asked if he could refer me to anyone in the county who could comment on the pound but he said no.  I also left a third message at the pound.  I called between 2 and 3pm since that’s when they are open for adoptions but still got the machine.  Hopefully they were busy adopting out pets.

Marlboro County Animal Shelter in SC

This video purports to show footage of puppies being kept in a kennel which appears to be flooded with filthy water at the Marlboro Co Animal Shelter in SC.  I have reached out to the shelter, as well as a couple of other groups for comment but none of my messages received immediate replies.  I was going to wait and see if any replies came in tomorrow (which is more likely than receiving a reply on a Sunday) but decided to go ahead and post as this appears to be an urgent neglect situation.  I will post any responses I receive and in the meantime, if anyone has any additional information, please share.

The scared puppy standing in the corner just about broke my heart. I’d like to get these pups some help, if possible. Will keep you all posted as to any new information.

Spartanburg Humane Society Violates S.C. Law Regarding Killing of Strays

The Spartanburg Humane Society (SHS)  in SC is a pet killing facility headed by Sandy Christiansen.  I’ve blogged about Mr. Christiansen’s activities related to HSUS and Pitbull killings in the past.  At that time, I reached out for comment but received none.

Today, reader Tami sent me a link to an article which states that the Spartanburg Humane Society has been “violating state law by euthanizing animals in three days”.  Again I reached out to the pound for comment but only received a link to a web page with their official response to the article.  So unfortunately, I was not able to ask any of the questions I had in my mind.  I’ll be asking those here.

SC law states that stray pets must be held for five days at minimum.  The Spartanburg County Council enacted its own law some years back requiring just a three day holding period.  SHS has apparently been utilizing the three day hold ever since.  One of those goshdarn outside agitators took up the matter through legal channels and got results:

The opinion issued last week by Assistant Attorney General Harrison Brant states that any local ordinance that allows animals to be killed after only three days conflicts with state law and those ordinances are invalid.

So it does indeed appear that SHS has been in violation of SC law for years, killing strays before the mandatory hold period is up, just like the article says.  Which is why I was surprised to read the SHS official response, posted on its website, which begins:

Some recent media coverage has inaccurately accused the Spartanburg Humane Society (SHS) of violating the law by giving the public three days instead of five days to reclaim their stray animals.  The SHS takes these allegations very seriously and we want to set the record straight.  The SHS has not violated the law.  We have complied with a long standing local county ordinance that required a three day hold for stray animals.  This law was enacted by County Council and has been enforced for many years by County Animal Control.

Right.  We’ve already established all that.  And it’s been established by the SC AG’s office that in fact, your county ordinance does not trump state law in this matter.  So you were in violation.  For years.  To the tune of an unknown number of dead pets.

On the other hand, maybe it’s not so surprising after all to hear that SHS is in denial.  Going back to the original article:

The Spartanburg Humane Society has 355 kennels for dogs and cats. The facility was built under the assumption that animals could be euthanized after three days, so extending that period could create problems, Christiansen said.

What the actual hell?  Let me go back and re-read that, slowly.  The facility was designed to kill pets after 3 days.  And you call yourself a humane society?!  How about returning strays to their owners before they even get impounded – was the facility designed for that?  How about putting in place the programs of the No Kill Equation in order to end the needless killing of all pets – was the facility designed for that?  I think clearly your facility was designed with a fatal flaw.  Literally.

And then we get into the finger pointing which appears to be part of the Good Ol’ Boys creed:

Other counties and municipalities are also not in compliance with the law, Christiansen said, although he didn’t immediately know specifically which ones. He also did not provide any figures for the number of animals euthanized at the facility this year.

S.C. Animal Care and Control Association President Marli Drum said she wasn’t aware of other counties or municipalities that don’t wait at least five days before euthanizing animals, although there could be others. The association conducts shelter evaluations and makes improvement recommendations. Christiansen also is on the association’s board of directors.

Shorter Christiansen:  Here, let me throw my colleagues under the bus to distract you from my bob and weave.

Apparently by the end of the article, Mr. Christiansen realizes he hasn’t yet blamed the infamous irresponsible public.  And so:

Christiansen said pet owners should contact the humane society as soon as they realize a pet has gone missing to increase the likelihood it will be reclaimed. He said less than 10 percent of dogs and 1 percent of cats are reclaimed by owners.

“Pet owners shouldn’t sit back because they have the extra days,” he said.

In other words, SHS does a dismal job at reuniting lost pets with their owners.  Rather than own that and vow to institute protocols to improve, Mr. Christiansen implies that his pound’s embarrassing RTO rates are the fault of lazy pet owners.

Here are my unanswered questions for SHS:

  • Where can the public find your pound’s statistics which show exactly how many pets you are killing each year?
  • Exactly how many years was SHS killing strays in violation of state law?
  • What other pounds are killing pets in violation of the state law mandating a five day hold for strays?
  • Is SHS willing to work with the county on implementing lifesaving programs in order to end the killing?
  • What is SHS doing to improve its RTO rate?

And lastly, a general question for anyone who knows:

  • What legal remedy, if any, is available to advocates on behalf of the unknown number of pets who have been killed by SHS in violation of state law these many years?

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

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.

 

Updated: Allegation of Mass Shooting of Shelter Dogs in SC

Bullet casings allegedly found at the Chesterfield Co landfill, alongside shelter dogs who had been shot to death.

The so-called animal shelter in Chesterfield Co, SC was, until late last year, a gassing facility.  Some of you may remember when they gassed Bessie – a Black and Tan Coonhound slated for rescue – after she was reportedly mauled by other dogs at the shelter.  At that time, the county Sheriff Sam Parker told the media that the shelter couldn’t afford to buy Fatal-Plus so they’d just have to keep gassing pets to death unless more money came into the budget.  However, the gas chamber was removed shortly thereafter and the shelter reportedly switched to euthanasia by injection.

This afternoon, I received some tips about the alleged shooting of 22 Chesterfield Co shelter dogs at the local landfill.  There is some information about these allegations (including a graphic photo) on the Paws N Claws Facebook page.  (Paws N Claws is the volunteer group who works to save pets at this shelter.)

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.

There were apparently 8 dogs on the shelter’s kill list last night.  It is unknown why 22 dogs may have been shot.  Both adult dogs and puppies are believed to have been shot and buried at the landfill.

I tried calling the shelter regarding the story but was told they were not allowed to comment.  I was given the phone number for the sheriff’s office.  Sheriff Parker told me he has seen the photos and heard the allegations this afternoon.  His office has just opened an investigation at the shelter.

“It stuns me as much as it does anyone else,” said Sheriff Parker regarding the allegations.

The shelter’s protocol is euthanasia by injection – not shooting.  Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the sheriff’s office will pursue it as either a criminal or an administrative matter.

Sheriff Parker described the shelter as being in “limbo” right now.  When I asked whether there was a hold on euthanasias at the shelter, Sheriff Parker said,  “No animal will be put down by gunshot.”  When I pressed further on the issue of any more euthanasias being carried out, the sheriff said that he would place a hold on euthanasias “until this investigation is complete”.

Returning to SC law:

§ 47-3-440. Penalties; injunction.

No person may kill any animal impounded or quarantined in an animal shelter by any means except as provided by this article. Any person who violates the provisions of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is subject to the penalty provisions in Chapter 1, Title 47 for each animal killed. The Attorney General of South Carolina may bring an action to enjoin a violation of this article.

[...]

§ 47-3-630. Penalties. A person who violates any of the provisions of this article [...] is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than six months, or both.

Since the Chesterfield Co AC unit is part of the sheriff’s office, I’m not sure exactly how the investigation will be handled.  Can the sheriff’s office investigate themselves?  It sounds like the person to contact might the state AG. Here is that info:

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.  A timely, transparent investigation is essential.  If the investigation determines a crime may have been committed, the AG must pursue the case and see that anyone convicted is sentenced to the fullest extent allowed by law.

I have included the photo of the bullet casing from the landfill but am not posting the one of the dog who appears to have been shot in the head.  It is online if you wish to look but be warned, it is disturbing.

I will update this post if I receive any additional information.  A number of news outlets have been at the animal shelter this afternoon so there may be some reports posted on news sites tonight.

Update, March 5:  I am pulling out a few FB posts from Paws n Claws that I think will be of interest:

Where Hope Lives – Paws n Claws
MARK YOUR CALENDARS – NEXT MEETING THIS THURSDAY There are six Council Members and a Mayor who are elected to four year terms. Regular Town Council meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 PM at Town Hall, 112 Main Street in Olde Towne Centre. The public is encouraged to attend council meetings

Where Hope Lives – Paws n Claws
Attention all animal lovers in Chesterfield SC and surrounding areas… there will be a news conference today at Chesterfield County, SC Animal Shelter..12:00 sharp… please come out at give voice to the 22 dogs that were shot and killed by ACO yesterday…. 467 Goodale Road Chesterfield, SC 29709 We need to demand Justice for the 22 dogs and puppies that were killed bullet to the head

Where Hope Lives – Paws n Claws Also we are depserate to get all the animals out of the shelter in case we are kicked out on monday please reach out to any local rescues that can come by monday and get these animals out

Where Hope Lives – Paws n Claws Anyone that can help with moving these dogs and puppies this weekend please contact wherehopelives@gmail.com

A few links to WSOC TV coverage of the alleged killings:

Sheriff’s Office Investigates After Dead Dogs Found

Animal Rescuer Arrives To Look Into Report Of Dogs Shot At Landfill

RAW INTERVIEW: Animal Rights Activist Talks About Finding Dead Dogs In Landfill (video)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 860 other followers