South Carolina State Senator Kent Williams violated state and county laws when he failed to spay a German Shepherd bitch he adopted from the Marion County Animal Shelter – a kill shelter – last year. He said he intended to breed her but when she was bred (presumably to an unknown sire she encountered while roaming the streets) he waited until just before she was ready to whelp before having animal control pick her up and bring her back to the kill shelter in March 2008. The Senator has not been charged to my knowledge.
Coincidentally (I guess), the Marion County Council held a meeting regarding the dreadful conditions at the shelter around this same time. From the minutes:
Vice Chairwoman Smith requested the Clerk to read the report Committee No. 2, which met on Thursday, March 20, 2008, at 5:30 P.M., at the Marion County Administration Building, with Chairwoman Smith, Mrs. Rogers, and Mr. Shaw, County Administrator and Clerk to Council. The Committee met with four members of the Humane Society, which addressed their concerns in regards to the Marion County Animal Shelter. Mr. Eleanor Kitchens, Ms. Marjorie Byrd, Ms. Pat Koch and Mr. Bob Blue. The organization named a few main priorities for the Marion County Animal Shelter: They are as follows:
1. A dated digital photo identification number for every animal taken in, noting where they were picked up.
2. No wetting of animals during cage cleaning.
3. Heating and cooling in all areas.
4. Standard immunizations on all puppies when old enough.
5. A person in charge who has the background and knowledge to run a shelter.
6. Workers who will do all they can to work with rescue groups so the fewest number of animals are put down.
Mr. Bob Blue told the committee that one of the Human [sic] Society main objectives is to control the animal population of Marion County by offering a cash rebate of $40 to residents who provides proof that their animals were spayed or neutered.
Chairwoman Smith emphasized to the Human [sic] Society members that if they witness any wrongdoing at the shelter to contact Mr. Harper.
Yes Mr. Harper, I believe I will be contacting you.
This story includes a comment from a reader who claims to be a former employee of the shelter where Williams left his pregnant German Shepherd to (quite possibly) die. She describes interactions she had with Williams regarding a previous dog. If the account is accurate, clearly this is not a temporary lapse in judgment type situation with the GSD but rather a pattern of troubling behavior. And the irony of Williams’ Oprah connection is not lost on me. Oprah recently did her part to shed light on the miserable lives of dogs in puppy mills and vowed to adopt all her future dogs from shelters. Too bad she doesn’t make it down to the Marion County Animal Shelter very often – we might see another expose.
There is a lame-o excuse from the Senator here but my favorite quote from him on the subject is this: “As a citizen, I exercised my right to surrender the animal to the shelter.” Senator Williams: Exercise this.
Please let these people know how you feel about this story and request the media to cover it:
Senator Kent M. Williams
602 Gressette Bldg.
Columbia, SC 29201
E-Mail Address: WILLIAMSK@scsenate.org
Marion County Animal Shelter
123 Dog and Cat Ct.
Mullins, SC 29574
Timothy Harper, County Administrator
P.O. Box 183
Marion, SC 29571-0183
(Kent Williams is the Deputy County Administrator)
The State Newspaper – Columbia, SC
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