Chesterfield Co Taxpayers Paying ACOs to Torture Shelter Pets?

There have been allegations of Chesterfield Co shelter pets being beaten with pipes and being shot to death for awhile.  To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone has gone on the record about it:

FOX Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty asked [former shelter worker Frankie] Bowers, “Did you ever see them, during your time there, ever lethally inject an animal?” Bowers says, “No. Never. Not one time.”

Bowers says he was instructed to feed, water and clean the animals.  It was also his job to take a front-end loader over to a dirt area across the street and cover the dead animals with dirt.  He found one dog still alive.  Bowers says, “The dog was still sitting up on it’s haunches and it was bleeding everywhere and they done (sic) shot him in the head a few times and the dog was still alive and he was in misery and you could tell he was suffering.”

He says the cats didn’t fare any better.  “If they (the county employees) couldn’t catch them (the cats), they would hit them over the head to knock them out.” Fogarty asked, “With what?” Bowers reply: “A pipe.”

Mr. Bowers was ordered by the court to work at the shelter in January.  He says he witnessed the shootings of dozens of shelter pets.

What’s described here is a long term pattern of extreme cruelty in my opinion.  It is not an isolated case of poor judgment.  It is not attributable to a lack of funding.  Nor can it be excused by claiming a lack of education.  These are deliberate, repeated acts of violence against defenseless pets who were completely reliant upon the ACOs for care.

If these horrific acts were the “standard of care” at the Chesterfield Co shelter, it seems incredible to think the Sheriff did not know about it.

A piece in the NYT reminds us:

In addition to a growing sensitivity to the rights of animals, another significant reason for the increased attention to animal cruelty is a mounting body of evidence about the link between such acts and serious crimes of more narrowly human concern, including illegal firearms possession, drug trafficking, gambling, spousal and child abuse, rape and homicide.

I sincerely hope SLED does a thorough job on this investigation.  Clearly, the community deserves to know the whole truth.

 

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57 Comments

  1. Thank you for continuing your postings about this. It was tough to watch Ms. Fogarty’s interview with Mr. Bowers, but I commend him for coming forward and for her diligent investigative reporting. Like you, I’m blogging about this incident, or better said, these incidents and God only know how many there are now. To ensure that justice is done, we all must do all we can to circulate and expose what’s happened there, because it does indeed happen in other places. It’s just not been exposed yet. God bless and keep it up!

    Reply
  2. Mary

     /  March 11, 2011

    Kudos to Fox for shedding light on this.

    Reply
  3. mikken

     /  March 11, 2011

    This is…there are no words. I truly hope that justice prevails in this case.

    Reply
  4. Laura Sur

     /  March 11, 2011

    Thank you for staying on top of this. You do a great job. I am so disgusted by all that has come to light about the suffering of these animals and I shudder to think what is going on at other shelters through out the country. Our society should do so much more for it’s animals. Keep the bright spotlight on!!!

    Reply
  5. Tonya

     /  March 11, 2011

    This is so disturbing! We need reform!! I hope for the sake of the animals this happens!

    Reply
  6. Linda

     /  March 11, 2011

    Thank you for your blog and for giving us these details, although they make me thoroughly disgusted. :(
    Those poor animals, and the pain they suffer… so cruel.
    On another note, Springfield MO’s shelter is a kill shelter and they don’t give the pets much time to be adopted at all. Surely people could donate to keep these pets alive long enough to find homes.
    I hope these shelters and other animal facilities are all held accountable for their actions. We the people are NOT God and should not decide when these animals should die. I’d rather them run the streets and have a chance to live than to be put down unnecessarily. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  7. Mary

     /  March 11, 2011

    South Carolina fancies itself to be a family oriented tourist/vacation destination: http://www.discoversouthcarolina.com/

    If justice is not done in Chesterfield County, I surely would not vacation in that state, nor would I encourage anybody else to.

    I wonder if the tourist industry in SC is aware of this situation and the negative image it gives their state. Perhaps they have an interest in seeing that appropriate actions are taken in this matter to see that justice is done. Money talks.

    Reply
    • The NAACP has been boycotting SC for years due to the flag of the Confederacy flying at the Capitol and similar type events. I don’t think the state is too worried about its image.

      Reply
      • mikken

         /  March 11, 2011

        That’s why I faxed SLED directly. I still hope for some justice.

  8. Fix Charlotte

     /  March 11, 2011

    Hearing about the dogs was horrific enough, but as a cat lover I cried when I heard what they did to the kitties. FIRE the Sheriff, FIRE the ACO’s, PROSECUTE the BASTARDS who did this for Extreme Animal Cruelty. They belong in jail for a very long time and to be treated the way they treated the animals.

    Reply
  9. Lawry

     /  March 11, 2011

    While the horror of Chesterfield County is so beyond words, punishing the rest of the state by boycotting our wonderful beaches and other attractions is truly not any form of justice considering that Horry County York County Aiken County and quite a few more ARE NO KILL these progressive animal loving counties should NOT lose business for the cruelty of their backwood uneducated statesmen. I am a SC native and proud animal lover and I will not have some one crucify my State as a whole over the fucked of actions of some ignorant small group of people.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 11, 2011

      While I hear what you are saying…IF SLED does not do a through investigation into these incidences and there is nothing redeeming – firing the director and other ACO’s that took part in the brutality of what was done to these defenseless animals (followed up with criminal charges) it does shed a bad light on the ENTIRE state. While I get-it that this is one facility of probably hundreds in the state…if their state invesigators can’t do the right thing for the animals there will be people that will decide to not come there – the people of SC need to speak up and guarantee that this incident does not affect the entire state & their tourism. Unfortunately there will always be people boycotting for one reason or another…in this case I don’t know if I could blame them.

      Reply
    • Jo

       /  March 12, 2011

      Who in the world told you that Horry County was no kill?

      Reply
      • Judith

         /  March 12, 2011

        Or York for that matter – I think you have been misinformed.

    • Sandy

       /  March 12, 2011

      Although I commend you for speaking up for tourism in your state. That is an excellant point. Because whether South Carilinians realize it or not, their will be fall out from this atrocity. Maybe even long term? So this is another good reason to shut down that facility and killing field.

      I for one could not stomach going to South Carolina even for a visit, and knowing how Chesterfield brutally abuses their animals. I am sorry to say that your entire state is colored by the horrific crimes against innocent animals in Chesterfield. It would be advised that your state officials shut down Sheriff Parker, his thug animal control officers. and that entire shelter of horrors.

      It’s sad that one SC county can bring down an entire state. But it is what it is. People can’t just close their eyes to brutality like this. I for one can’t sit on your beaches sipping mimosas knowing that dogs are shot and left for dead in your landfills and cats hit with pipes. It is beyond barbaric.

      If the state and the tourism industry ever expects to recoup from this, they would be smart to shut down that whole animal house of horrors in Chesterfield. Turn it over to a rescue group, and prosecute the entire guilty perpetrators who were involved with this atrocity. Including the sheriff who was in charge of overseeing this facility.

      Then hopefully at some point in time, visitors might gain confidence in South Carolina once again.

      Reply
  10. M Howard

     /  March 11, 2011

    Thank you for keeping on top of this. We all need to know and I’m sure more will come to light!

    Reply
  11. What can we do to help!?!??

    Reply
  12. I will do whatever I can to help this horrific situation!

    msred5@yahoo.com

    Reply
  13. Brie

     /  March 11, 2011

    I’m sure we can all agree that if an ACO saw a citizen doing any of these acts, there would be an arrest and prosecution for intentional cruelty. So why is it any different when they’re on the payroll? Charge ’em all and clean house.

    § 47-1-40. Ill-treatment of animals generally.

    (B) Whoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done for any of the offenses is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment of not less than one hundred eighty days and not to exceed five years and by a fine of five thousand dollars.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 12, 2011

      You’re right – the law does read “whoever”, so that should include your average Joe Schomoe, county officials, ACO’s, etc. it doesn’t read “whoever, EXCEPT_____” SO it pertains to ANYONE that does those acts mentioned above. Considering that an ex-inmate found a dog shot multiple times atill alive – it is nothing short of torture and cruelly killing, along with inflicting excessive & repeated pain & suffering…which sums up EXACTLY what those in charges of this facility have done!

      Reply
  14. Erica

     /  March 11, 2011

    This place is soooo screwed up. The more we read/watch the worse we realize the situation is. Praying SLED does a THROUGH investigation and talks to ALL parties involved. Thanks for sticking with it Shirley – I know this is not an easy story to cover and I appreciate you taking the time & energy to keep us updated on it.

    Reply
    • Georgia

       /  March 11, 2011

      I agree,
      they should clean house completely. Not ONE of those ACO’s deserve to be paid or come back to their jobs. In fact they should be prosecuted for animal cruelty along with that good for nothing Sheriff who was a part responsible for and a big of this. He makes me sick too. He should be put behind the bars of his own jail cell.

      Thank you for staying with this story. The animals are depending on us now to see that justice is done and that an atrocity like this never happens again.

      Reply
  15. Lynnette

     /  March 11, 2011

    Does anyone really think the Sheriff was unaware of what was happening?
    Does anyone really think the county manager/administrator was unaware of what was happening?
    It takes a village to protect animals, and it takes a village to fail this miserably. I hope SLED’s investigation includes the county/city government officials, as well. If they knew, it is criminal. If they didn’t know, it is criminal.

    Reply
  16. Colleen

     /  March 11, 2011

    I think it would be easy enough to prove this case because there would have to be some records kept about ordering the meds for the lethal injections. If those records could not be verfied or produced … Of course this is my thinking but pretty cut and dry but the courts make everything so damn difficult.

    Reply
  17. Linda

     /  March 11, 2011

    If the DEATH PENALTY CAN BE ABOLISHED in certain states for murderers while the states and country pay to take care of them in prisons, then surely the government can give a budget to take care of animals and keep them from being murdered. These animals didn’t kill, rob, molest or harm anyone … yet they are treated WORSE than convicted felons.

    Reply
    • dru

       /  March 16, 2011

      i SO agree with u here on this. there r criminals by the thousands in jail/prisons all over the country who have done crimes so horrendous~crimes for which they SHOULD’VE been executed!!! n who is paying 2 keep these pond scums??? WE ARE!!!
      these innocent animals have done NO crimes…they r executed because STUPID HUMANS DO NO SPAY or NEUTER!!!! then there r ASSHOLES like these ppl who treat these animals with such cruelty…..AND THEY GET AWAY WITH IT.
      LAWS NEED TO BE CHANGED…………PUNISHMENTS NEED TO BE HARSHER

      Reply
  18. Tessa45

     /  March 11, 2011

    I don’t believe for one minute the sheriff didn’t know about this unless he was lax about his job. He should be fired. Didn’t he visit the shelter and question where all the animals went and why was the earth turned up by the shelter. Come on, how blind can he be?

    Reply
    • Mary

       /  March 11, 2011

      Out of curiosity, is the Sheriff in this location hired, or elected, or appointed, or ??? Who is his boss, and who would have the power to remove him from his job?

      Reply
  19. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    Am curious about something. In some reports it’s stated that the dogs were buried across from the shelter in a landfill. Other reports say they were buried across from the shelter in the Sheriff Dept’s firing range? If the latter is the case, can someone explain why none of the Deputies noticed shallow graves and partially exposed dead dogs while they were at target practice??!! WAIT! Hummmm……..dead dogs…firing range….target practice… no….surely I’m just being a conspiracy theorist. There is simply waaaaaaaaaaay too much of this story doesn’t ring true.

    Reply
  20. carla page

     /  March 11, 2011

    i believe that ole sheriff parker knew what was going on.he aided and abetted a felon,which is a felony.shame on you sheriff parker,those animals didn,t have a voice and never stood a chance with your goons and cronies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  21. mikken

     /  March 11, 2011

    Call/fax SLED. Be polite. Be brief. THANK THEM for investigating Chesterfield County Shelter.

    Contact SLED – http://www.sled.sc.gov/Admin2.aspx?MenuID=ContactInformation

    The more we remind them that we’re keeping an eye on this story, the more likely they are to take it seriously.

    Reply
  22. Tessa45

     /  March 11, 2011

    Another question: Doesn’t the sheriff keep track of the weapons and bullets? My town has an ACO and she must make out a report whenever she fires her weapon and it must be justified, which is seldom and it must be dangerous or rabid. Rabid animals must be taken to the vet and creamated so as not to infect any wild animal who might dig in this graveyard. “What a terrible web we weave when we set out to deceive”. Too many unanswered questions.

    Reply
    • The Sheriff stated in one of the interviews that his dept. did not issue weapons to the ACOs. They must have used their own guns.

      Reply
      • Tessa45

         /  March 11, 2011

        I know that in my state, no one can bring any weapons unto state, town or county property. It is the law and a felony. Something sounds so fishy here. Who was supervising this animal facility? I will not call this a shelter, It is more like a horror chamber. I worked at an animal shelter for over 15 yrs. and NO ONE could carry a gun. Only one person could euthanize by injection, an animal and only if they were too sick, too old and suffering, or dangerous. He has to keep records for every shot.

      • Erica

         /  March 12, 2011

        I’m sure the same weapon policy applies here…as it does in most state facilities. My problem is that since the sheriff didn’t issue them guns – they obviously used ones that they had…but with Mr. Burch being a 2 time felony conviction I don’t see how he could’ve owned a gun (he shouldn’t be Brady qualified), so he obviously “borrowed” one of the other guys guns or just let them do all the shooting.

        Knowing all this – and that the unauthorized ‘landfill’ is the practice shooting range….with half buried dogs…it does lead you to wonder if there aren’t more people involved in this. Maybe they let a bunch of dogs loose at one time and do ‘target practice’? That’s just yuck to think about. But – given the situation entirely plausible.

        The more that comes out with each story that we watch/read it makes me think that SLED needs to dig up ALL the animals buried at the landfill and find a cause of death for each one – and if it was by a gun then they need to find the bullets and then test everyone’s guns (those at home and the police officer’s that might have visited the shooting range in the past few months) until they find matching weapons to bullets for every single animal that was killed. Yes, I know it would be time consuming and costly..but doesn’t everyone deserve to know the whole truth? Additionally it would give us a broader picture of just how big this isuue is…if it was just the guys at the shelter doing it or if other people are involved. Plus, if the sheriff oversees the facility then you would think that he’d be questioning why there aren’t more bottles of Fatal Plus listed on the inventory sheets. You can’t tell me that he really has no clue that something was going on in this place. So many animals in and out – but he never checks records? As an elected official..he’s in danger of losing his “office” at the next election – which I am beginning to think needs to be the case, as he obviously can’t handle being sheriff for the whole area AND overseeing the litter and shelter facility – along with everything else he’s probably supposed to oversee.

        I just think that Paws N Claws would be able to take this place and really turn it around….I think closing it down would be a mistake, as this place is obviously needed, but removing the sheriff and city employees from running the facility the animals will have a better chance at life.

        Do we have anything that tells us who at this facility IS qualified to give lethal injection? Because at least one person needs to be since they are supposed to be putting the animals down by injection….and if none of the guys are qualified to give the injection that needs to be addressed as well!

  23. Lynn

     /  March 12, 2011

    It’s irrelevant whether the Sheriff knew about it or not. If it’s a County shelter, he is responsible.

    If we stopped forcing people (via confiscations and ownership limitation ordinances and laws), the shelters wouldn’t be so pressed. It’s time to get the animals out of the hands of the AR activists and government and give them back to the people.

    Reply
  24. Lynn

     /  March 12, 2011

    Sorry – shouldn’t post when rushed .. that should read, “If we stopped forcing people ( … ) to give their animals up, …”

    Reply
  25. Jane Howard

     /  March 12, 2011

    Thugs + Uniforms + Guns = Macho a-holes who feel they’re invincible and don’t have to answer to anyone.

    Reply
  26. Lynn Robertson

     /  March 12, 2011

    I have a petition on Change.org to get this stopped! Please sign it. (Change.org is a wonderful organization and I’ve been involved with MANY of their efforts to help people and animals. You will NOT get spam or snail mail from them)!! Thank you!
    Lynn

    Contact SC Governor Nicky Haley 2 stop Sheriff Parker from using & killing puppies as target pract http://t.co/HBTAJDE via @change 91 signed

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 12, 2011

      The petition basically just names Sheriff Parker as the responsible party..and there is no mention of SLED and them investigating. Will the letter/petition be updated to include information that is current? I get the whole “we need to speak up” and all…but the petition needs to read correctly. We are still not aware if it is Sheriff Parker doing the shootings (he denies knowledge of them), but we do know that he (and the AG & Gov) did contact SLED after beginning his own investigation, saying that it was a conflict of interest for him to do the investigation. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for petitions, but I feel that they need to be accurately worded prior to having people sign them. The way it reads now Sheriff Parker is totally responsible for releasing & shooting the dogs…and that’s not what we’re hearing from the news articles.

      Reply
      • Tessa45

         /  March 12, 2011

        The Sheriff should be responsible for what the county personnel does at the animal facility. Who authorized the landfill to be used as a firing range? I can’t understand how the officers could use these animals as target practice and not be repelled by this. I certainly would not want any of these officers protecting me or my family. They have blood on their hands.

  27. Tessa45

     /  March 12, 2011

    This does put a bad light on SC. If they could be that cruel to animals, how do they treat humans. They both go hand in hand. I for one will not visit this state, even tho I planned to. People of SC should be up in arms for what this person (sheriff?)is doing to his state. It will take a long time to undo his damage. My state would be picketing the Gov. until justice is done. All states should take heed, that some of us won’t stand for this inhumane behavior.

    Reply
  28. bg

     /  March 12, 2011

    We have some good people here in SC, these people are not normal southern people they are just cruel people who live in the south. We have a wonderful people here such as a group here in Chesterfield, Paws and Claws these people dedicte their time and money to help these animals and there are many ,many people here in this county who have spoken out about this horriffic crime. I hope and pray the people who did these acts are fined and also get time in prison for their acts but i have to say please don’t judge us by a few rednecks we are not all like that. It makes me ashamed for the whole state of SC and i apoligize but these men are just evil men no matter where they were from they would have done these things just because they are wicked.

    Reply
    • bg – I think this is where the SLED investigation and, assuming charges are filed, the AG’s prosecution comes in. THAT is what will reflect poorly on the state as a whole if SLED fails to do a thorough investigation and/or if the AG fails to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Many people realize that these are a small group of evil ACOs and not reflective of the typical pet owner in SC. But if the state fails to bring justice for the illegally killed pets, to my mind, that gives the impression that SC condones taxpayer funded animal abuse and killing.

      Reply
  29. Judy Sandlin

     /  March 13, 2011

    Sadly..this is a story I have heard before from other shelters in other states..the real solution to this problem is not necessarily the punishment of the offenders and they should be punished…but rather involvement from concerned citizens in this area and near by counties..we are doing this at a shelter in Tn..now..group of volunteers going in cleaning cages, walking the dogs and working together to get them vetted and adopted…We must encourage and help to finance spay and neuter programs..or we will always have these tragic occurrences..

    Reply
  30. mikken

     /  March 15, 2011

    Let’s keep calling/faxing SLED to THANK THEM for investigating – it reminds them that they’re still being observed and their actions on this matter are important to people. Call them today, keep it short and sweet – “thank you for investigating the Chesterfield County Shelter, please know that we are following this closely and we appreciate your efforts.” That sort of thing.

    Contact SLED – http://www.sled.sc.gov/Admin2.aspx?MenuID=ContactInformation

    Reply
  31. Tessa45

     /  March 16, 2011

    What the Gov. doesn’t understand, is that once we condone cruelty and murder to animals, we begin to lose respect for all life. Many mass-murderers began by animal abuse. We have to teach children from kindergarden on up, that it is wrong to abuse animals or kill them is such a cruel way. What kind of example is SC showing these children, that it is OK to mistreat and shoot them and inflict pain. Shame on this Gov. and everyone else who don’t consider the bad example they are showing their children.

    Reply
    • barbara

       /  March 16, 2011

      I just want these people to be FIRED, paid administrative leave, please…… And I think the public should have a go at them and leave them feel fear. They simply suck oxygen that they dont deserve.

      I am totally digusted.

      Reply
  32. Janice Medlin

     /  March 30, 2011

    It certainly does not sound like a thorough investigation was done. Maybe the truth was not the objective.

    Reply
  33. Another link from August 2011: http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx?id=650041#.TwDlQFZjWSo

    I’ve been unable to locate anything more recent. Just sent an email to the SC Attorney General’s office requesting an update.

    Reply
  34. Sad, very sad indeed. Good work in writing this and letting the world know about it. Keep it the good work.

    Reply

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