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)

Leave a comment

45 Comments

  1. Morgana

     /  March 4, 2011

    Shirley, I don’t do FB, could you send the photos directly to me? I will call the AG on Monday AM.

    Reply
  2. Dedicated Rescuer

     /  March 4, 2011

    I live about an hour away from this shelter. Local rescue groups are horrified at what’s happened. A full CRIMINAL investigation needs to be done. We need national help in demanding that this be a criminal case, NOT a civil one.

    Anyone involved in this slaughter needs to be summarily fired and arrested.

    22 dogs and puppies were killed BUT more than 22 shell casings were found at the landfill. Were these pets used as target practice? And/OR is this how the “shelter” is euthanizing pets now that their gas chamber is gone.

    If this is what they’re doing to dogs/puppies, what in God’s name are they doing to cats/kittens? Are they being used as bait for fighting dogs? This is a very real concern because anyone who knows cats, knows most will take off when released from a cage or trap. So how are they euth’ing the cats/kittens?

    Here’s the thing, the people responsible NEVER thought they’d be found out.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      I read through all related articles and comments on each one…many people said (in their comments) that they felt as if the officers used the dogs as target practice, hence the shell casings found exceeding the number of animals uncovered. While this could very well be the truth, or there may be other animals yet to be uncovered…also I read of allegations of dog fighting in the comments as well. Sad – VERY sad.

      Currently the same police department that did the killings are investigating themselves! This is even as upsetting as the fact that they did it in the first place. This is just sad all around. And you are right – they didn’t think they’d be found out, or they obviously figured if they were found out that they’d get away with it since the police are in charge of this “shelter” (and I use that term loosely in this case!).

      Reply
  3. Kt

     /  March 4, 2011

    I am the transport coordinator for Paws N Claws, we are VERY VERY worried about a cover up of these horrific acts. Please everyone contact chesterfield city council, AG and everyone else, the pressure needed to stay on them

    Reply
    • Denise

       /  March 4, 2011

      This “shelter” needs to be shut down! I am in Orange County, California, and we here on the West Coast are completely appalled by this. There are several people who have contacted multiple people/agencies (news agencies, sheriff dept, elected officials). This is just sick. These “people” or this “person” have no business being around animals. This is just as bad as Michael Vick!

      Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      Sending letters, e-mails and making calls….so sad. I know that you guys are trying to remove as many dogs as possible right now – just wanted to know if you can keep us updated on things?

      I really appreciate all your group is doing to help the remaining animals in their care.

      Reply
  4. “Allegations of dogs slaughtered by shelter employees in South Carolina” http://exm.nr/e7l2e7

    Reply
  5. Sandi A. Morris

     /  March 4, 2011

    I am OUTRAGED at the inhumane way dogs and puppies were apparently destroyed by those sworn to care for and when necessary, humanely euthanize these animals. Clearly, a crime has been comitted in the eyes of man’s law and God’s. May justice be found so that this will NEVER happen again. I have posted contact info on my wall for ALL my animal loving friends to share and write. We will not rest until justice has been served.May God have mercy on the souls of those responsible. I CAN NOT!!!!!

    Reply
  6. Margot Roby Treybig

     /  March 4, 2011

    Those who had anything to do with this mass murder need to be exposed and brought up on charges, NO slap on the wrist, they need to do serious jail time.
    Those poor, helpless dogs demand and deserve that .

    Reply
  7. Annie Clark

     /  March 4, 2011

    I’ve written to the AG.
    As I live in another state, I asked that he consider how this publicity would look to folks around the country & pleaded that he look into it in the name of Truth.
    Hoping it helps.
    The possibilities of these allegations are VERY disturbing. Best of Luck to All who are trying to deal with this situation.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      I think it is important to point out that even IF you don’t live in the state that you can & should write letters, send e-mails, and make phone calls in regards to this. The AG and city/town officials all need to know that everyone across the US is upset about this and that we ALL expect this to be investigated and those involved need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Too often I hear from people that say “Well I don’t live in the state, so my voice won’t count.” My thoughts are always that regardless of where you live you need to speak out…not only will it add to the voices that do live in the state, but it will make them aware that people all across the US are watching them!

      Reply
  8. cp

     /  March 4, 2011

    Who took the photos? This is beyond horrible.

    Reply
    • From this story: http://www.wsoctv.com/news/27085002/detail.html

      “On Friday morning, Debbie Farhi dug up a dog in a pit across the street from the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter on Goodale Road. She told Eyewitness News she heard from shelter employees that they had taken several dogs to the area and shot them.” I would think it was Ms. Farhi or someone assisting her who took the photos.

      Reply
  9. nightshaye

     /  March 4, 2011

    Someone please remind me what the animals are supposed to be sheltered FROM?

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      Obviously, in this case it would not only be sheltered from those who couldn’t/wouldn’t care for them AND those who were entrusted to provide shelter for them! This is beyond sad.

      Reply
  10. Jeanne

     /  March 4, 2011

    I heard earlier today that not all the dogs and puppies were shot–some were also let loose along a road! Can this possibly be true? It’s horrifying to think not only were dogs shot but some may be still wandering around and will very possibly die of thirst, starvation, or injuries after getting hit by a car.
    If they survive, they’ll eventually have puppies to perpetuate the cycle of misery. Just unbelievable.

    Reply
  11. How does one investigate themselves? It will be like the investigation that happened in the mass shelter killing in Hammond, Louisiana where the parish’s attorney investigated the killing and or course found no wrong done.

    Reply
  12. Dawn

     /  March 4, 2011

    I just hope they do something about this. What a terrible thing to do to those inn babies :(.

    Reply
  13. the link above describes the SC anti-cruelty law, which is a felony if needless killing was carried out. The sheriff must b removed from the investigation because it’s a conflict of interest @ the least!

    Reply
  14. Soma

     /  March 4, 2011

    This is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Please stop this cruelty.

    Reply
  15. Mike S.

     /  March 4, 2011

    Murderers, its incomprehensible to me that a human being could do such a thing. I’ll pray for the souls of those defenseless animals and I will have to pray hard to GOD for the understanding to somehow forgive the beasts that committed this “CRIME”

    Reply
  16. Katherine

     /  March 5, 2011

    This shocking and heartbreaking. “Shelter” is supposed to be a safe, humane place. An example needs to be made of the people who commit these crimes against helpless animals who likely suffered before arriving at the shelter

    Reply
  17. Catherine Mitchell

     /  March 5, 2011

    That is sickening !!! A Horrible act from sick individuals, which I can NOT categorise as humans.
    To my opinion: ANIMALS are those that committed this act and NOT the innocent dogs!!!!

    Reply
  18. Sandy Gentry

     /  March 5, 2011

    I am shocked as I read this story. Things like this should not be happening in our country. Especially by the very people who are supposed to be taking care of these animals. Justice needs to be done. The cruelty of this is amazing. Killing animals for pleasure. The people involved need to be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

    Reply
  19. Cowgirl

     /  March 5, 2011

    Why isn’t this being blasted all over the television and print media? I have yet to see one story?? Why are South Carolina’s tax dollars paying people like these men who are SUPPOSED to be caring for these precious animals in a humane way. TARGET PRACTICE IS NOT HUMANE!!! Rescues everywhere are pushing for stricter laws and stiffer punishments for people who torture and kill innocent animals. And yet, we have these same people actually WORKING in our shelters!!!!

    Reply
    • cp

       /  March 5, 2011

      Why isn’t the HSUS or ASPCA stepping in here? The animals need to be removed from the shelter ASAP.

      Reply
      • Erica

         /  March 5, 2011

        Paw N Claws – the rescue group that regularly works with this shelter is currently working to remove all remaining animals from this shelter. There are links above (in Shirley’s blog post) they have a Facebook page that they keep updating with what is going on….

    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      There are articles (Shirley linked to some in her blog post), also if you go through their Facebook page there are additional links to follow.

      Reply
  20. Debbie Moody

     /  March 5, 2011

    There is a place for people like this and all involved. It’s called Hell. All who were involved in disgust me. The laws need to be changed so that dogs are not just considered to be property. Justice needs to be served.
    I pray that the dogs are at peace at the Rainbow Bridge where the grass is green and treats are endless.

    Reply
  21. Sue Borton

     /  March 5, 2011

    What should happen to these so called rescue shelter employee’s is criminal charges, they should immediately be fired and be arrested. We have become a society of non caring people, I hope justice will prevail and AG Wilson needs to respond to this issue swiftly.

    Reply
  22. Morgana

     /  March 5, 2011

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/12/demand-justice-for-22-dogs-puppies-taken-from-shelter-to-local-landfill-and-shot-to-death/

    This is a petition that was sent to me this AM for justice for these dogs. I personally am sickened over this, and am going to write AND call the State AG and demand in no uncertain terms that this be dealth with as a criminal case, or I personally will see to it that rescuers from around the country converge on this location to demonstrate – I hope people will back me on this one. Anyone?

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 5, 2011

      I know they had a press conference and asked that everyone who can come out to support it. Also I read somewhere that the person listed on the petition as the director of the “shelter” is incorrect…I believe it was on the FB page.

      I am with you – sent an e-mail and will be calling first thing Monday morning to voice my concern over the entire situation, as well as asking that an independent group does the investigation that is currently being handled by the same sherriff’s department that is responisble for the “shelter” – talk about a conflict of interest!

      Reply
  23. Morgana

     /  March 5, 2011

    Thanks Erica! I think if we can get people committed to showing up at their doorstep in numbers, not just from that area, they will try to do it the right way.

    Reply
  24. carla page

     /  March 5, 2011

    we animal advocates are asking that the animal control of chesterfield south carolina be prosecuted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Personal
    X
    carla page
    The first picture is Winston yesterday, when a plea was made for his life to …
    10:25 PM (17 hours ago)
    Reply
    Wayne Brennessel to me
    show details 8:10 AM (8 hours ago)
    Ms. Page,

    Thank you for your email. As you might imagine, we have received numerous emails regarding these reports from Chesterfield, SC.

    Like many, we are horrified to hear that anything like this could happen. As is our practice, we will look into these reports and work with the appropriate law enforcement and legal authorities to investigate these allegations.

    As details are confirmed and made available, we will participate in any efforts to bring justice to those who are found guilty of committing any crimes against animals.

    Thank you for your work on behalf of animals.

    Sincerely,
    Wayne Brennessel

    Reply
  25. Morgana

     /  March 5, 2011

    It still sounds like the fox in the henhouse to me…bunch of good ole’ boys, eh?

    Reply
  26. Scott

     /  March 5, 2011

    Send the people in authority a message. Email the Chamber of Commerce, Town Clerk, and Town Administrator:

    cftadmin@shtc.net
    cftmclerk@shtc.net
    dkirkley@pagelandchamber.com,

    Reply
  27. Sherran

     /  March 5, 2011

    Humans — what more needs to be said. This breaks my heart. I just lost the last of my 4 wonderful dogs. I cannot imagine the fear these dogs encountered on the last day of their lives. Tears are just rolling down my face as I read about this terrible tragedy. I commit to contacting everyone of the authorities you have provided. Poor babies. This issue has to be addressed!!!

    Reply
  28. Susan

     /  March 6, 2011

    Fire Brian Burch immediately–he needs to go to prison!!!! GET HIM OUT NOW!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH OF COVERING UP THESE HORRIFYING ACTS!!! Do your job and get these scumbags out!

    Reply
  29. Marcia

     /  March 8, 2011

    Give some good old boys a gun and bad things happen. I just hope they get the punishment they deserve and serve as an example to others, at least to those not so stupid they don’t get the point.

    Reply
  30. MVPR

     /  May 10, 2011

    Chip-In to Help 22 Chesterfield Dogs get to Rescue!
    http://pawsnclawsfaninstallation.chipin.com/helping-22-dogs-head-to-rescue

    ADOPT ADOPT! FOSTER FOSTER! HELP!

    Theres a lot of talk and NO Action!
    Go Get These Animals People!

    Facebook: Where Hope Lives: Albums: May 10 URGENT SHELTER IS FULL! lives WILL be lost!

    (I would post a link but then everyone would have access to my facebook profile..)
    So check it out for yourself

    Reply
  31. Sheriff Parker need to be in jail

    Reply
  32. What’s happening with this case? I just ran across the story from last March. Have there been any prosecutions or just the usual cover-up whenever animals suffer and die?

    Reply
    • The ACOs got several months’ paid leave and were ultimately booted from animal control. No charges were brought.

      Reply
      • Amy

         /  December 20, 2011

        Is there anything that can still be done? We can start a petition on change.org. Has this shelter improved its standards or been consistent in using only euthanasia?

  33. 2010: City of Columbia – purchase of NEW BIOMASS INCINERATOR FOR THE THOUSANDS OF ANIMALS KILLED IN THIS HELL HOLE CALLED “A SHELTER”. $94,598.57 (Removal of old incinerator and installation of new model.)

    http://www.columbiasc.net/depts/city_council/downloads/01_11_2011_Agenda_Items/Purchase_Biomass_Gasifier_Model.pdf

    They spend this much money to incinerate the murdered animals, but can’t spend a dime on spay/neuter assistance, a true “shelter”, or to promote adoptions/work with rescues.

    According to rescuers, the current rescue, that has been “allowed” to try to rescue and find homes for condemned animals, is warned “NOT speak badly about this killing facility, or they will be banned” from rescuing at this facility.

    Reply

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