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:
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org