SC Shelter Attempted to Cover Up Killing of Family Dog

Bodey, as depicted in this image on the WECT website.
Bodey, as depicted on the WECT website.

Bodey was a 2 year old Lab belonging to Christopher and Desislava Mertens of Horry Co, SC.  He had been raised from puppyhood and was a beloved family member.  When the Mertens were overseas on vacation recently, they found out Bodey had gotten lost.  They made every effort to find him:

“We did Facebook, Craigslist, every page we could think of as far as spreading the word,” said Christopher Mertens.

They enlisted the help of friends and local shops, putting up posters and online posts every day.

The Mertens also called the Horry Co Animal Care Center but were told there were no records indicating Bodey was there.  Having heard that a neighbor may have called AC regarding Bodey, the owners pressed on, eventually tracking down the ACO who had impounded him.  That ACO finally told the couple that Bodey had been adopted.  They asked if they could leave their information for the new owners so they might be able to see Bodey and know he was safe.  The pound refused.  The family continued to worry and ultimately contacted the local news for help.  A WCET reporter obtained records from the county showing Bodey had been impounded, held for 7 days, and killed.

The Horry Co pound initially told the family that Bodey wasn’t there and never had been.  That was a lie.  Then they said Bodey had been adopted.  That was another lie.  Only when the reporter got involved and demanded the public records was the truth known.  I wonder if the county would have ever told the truth about killing Bodey.

The couple was devastated:

“If you pick up a dog and you give that dog five days to live, but you don’t post a picture of him, or put up anything notifying anyone of that, you’re not giving that animal a chance, period,” said Mertens.

The county, despite having been exposed as liars, admits no wrongdoing in the attempted cover up:

The sad reality, the county says, is thousands of animals are brought to the Animal Care Center every year. The decision to put an animal down is based on the animal’s health, the potential to be adopted, and the amount of space in the shelter.

Whatever lets you sleep at night, Horry Co.  It’s monsters like you that keep me awake.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

66 thoughts on “SC Shelter Attempted to Cover Up Killing of Family Dog

  1. The shelter followed the law. They held the dog for the required time period, then killed the dog. Nothing illegal happened there.

    But the fact that they lied – and lied repeatedly – is extremely telling. They may not have broken any laws, but they acted unethically in killing a healthy, adoptable dog who had a home and people looking for him. They made no effort to reunite him with his owners, they made no effort to market him for adoption. They killed him out of convenience and laziness. And, apparently, they are still human enough to feel some degree of shame about that.

    If you can’t own it, don’t do it.

    1. Having lost a dog recently, albeit only for a matter of hours, I can tell you that this is the exact terror that was playing out in my head. I called my local pet killing facility to report my dog was lost and feared they would either lie about her being there, like what happened the first time Bodey’s owners’ called, or they would lie about what they actually did w/her, again like what happened w/Bodey. It is tragic to know that Bodey was in that pound when the owners first called and no one could be bothered to look for him so they just said nope, not here. That dog was WANTED. I thought pounds were killing “unwanted” animals.

      1. Nobody wants to kill. But nobody wants to do the work to keep animals alive, either. Guess which one wins out?

      2. This is a perfect example of why there should be “NO KILL” – longer time is needed to find homes for these pets (and they are pets, not convicted murderers) that have done nothing wrong except get lost or are abandoned by previous owners. I cringe at the thought of so many loving pets killed for convenience sake when someone is looking for that one special pet…maybe the one just killed. So-called “shelters” are nothing more than slaughterhouses for pets someone gave up that could be adopted. The very sick, the dangerous pets brought in, I can understand (slightly), but the many loving pets thrown away or just lost, killed in such a short period of time is unacceptable in today’s societies.

    2. I disagree. Just because a person lies doesn’t mean that they felt shame about it. They probably just didn’t want to be bothered with the consequences of the truth.

  2. they should be held for more then 5 days!!!!!!!unreal this breaks my heart I hate KILL shelters you can tell its down south there are so many of them here in MAINE that does not happen

    1. Please provide a source for your claim.

      Whether the dog was wearing a collar, or nine collars, does not negate the facts that he had a right to live, that his owner called to inquire if he was there, and that the shelter lied and told them he wasn’t.

    2. Do you realize, BayouTiger, how many ‘shelters’ put down animals without ever even checking for microchips?!? Believe me, far too many … because far too many shelters operate just like Horry Co.

    3. You know this how?

      Regardless, the owners called the pet killing factory while he was still there, and alive, and the pet killers lied. Then they lied again,after they killed him, and claimed they’d adored him out.

      Collar, chips, or not, they knew what dog the family was trying to reclaim.

    4. The dog appears healthy. Therefore, the were was no valid reason to kill him. Unless he was running around eating infants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this shelter failed at doing what was right for this dog – find him a home.

      Should the guardians have chipped and tagged their dog? If they didn’t, yes. Should the guardians have visited the shelter daily? If they didn’t, yes.

      Does that mean the dog should have been killed? No.

  3. Board your dogs when you go on vacation. Microchip your dog as that’s the only way a shelter/animal control is going to know it’s your dog. Put a collar on your dog with your name and address on it – that dog in the picture doesn’t have a collar on. If your dog is lost, go to the shelter to look for him, don’t call. The desk people often don’t know who is back in the kennels. The shelter was wrong for lying but the owners did not, in fact, ‘make every effort’ to find their dog when they didn’t go up there on the very first day back to see if their dog was in the kennels. Animal shelters are overcrowded and if the dog showed any negative behaviours, he would not be classed adoptable. I hate that a perfectly healthy dog was put to sleep but the owners have to take some of the blame for this situation.

    1. Killing apologists out in full force today. I may have to suspend my one time warnings and just start banning people to get the numbers down.

      1. They were OVERSEAS.

        And blaming the victim is all very well and good (not), but you still have to ask yourself, “What efforts did the shelter make towards NOT killing this dog?”. The answer is, “None.”

    2. Just to clarify that this dog was not “put to sleep” as you stated – he was KILLED while his owners tried to find him. Sorry, but there’s no good reason for that to happen. And let’s start calling this what it really is . . . KILLING.

    3. What exactly are negative behaviors? Many shelters will say animals have negative behaviors when in reality they do not. It is just an excuse in order to kill them! The majority of shelter workers have no animal behavioral training so how would they know.

    4. Yes, and owners should stop by every day looking for your pet, even if they are only open really inconvenient hours like 12-4 pm. Because, you know, normal people don’t have to work or go on vacation. Owners are supposed to go through Herculean efforts because the people who are paid to look out for lost and homeless animals can’t be bothered to take less than a minute to take a picture and post it on the Internet or check the database or paperwork when the owner calls to see if the said animal or one who looks like it is impounded.

  4. And by the way all shelters should advertise animals that come in through their doors. It could be a stolen or lost dog. I once fought like hell for our local shelter to PLEASE not euthanize a cat that they said was wild. The same weekend a woman called me from the shelter crying and telling me that the marina owner had stolen her cat and dumped it across the island onto a beach, which is where I found it. She called to ask me if I would accept a $100.00 gratitude donation, which I told her to give to the shelter. America should be very ashamed that a mandatory spay neuter ordinance is not in place on the federal level, all states. It is nothing short of criminal to be killing 4-5 million animals a year for lack of homes and allow people to breed rampantly. These companion animals are nothing m ore to them than a commodity, a living, feeling, live being treated like a throwaway piece of garbage. We need to change. We need to do it now.

    1. Wow, MSN, really? I don’t know if this dog was neutered, but do you honestly think it made one ounce of difference to the shelter? No. They killed him, anyway.

  5. I agree that they did nothing illegal, but if citizens would band together and approach their county councils and demand more efforts to find owners, such as posting on a webpage, newspaper column in the classifieds, maybe something could change. I live in a county that has a high kill rate, and I volunteered for 10 years trying to make a difference and almost killing myself in the process trying to swim upriver against a very strong current of apathy and blame placing by the community. Spay/Neuter is the only way anything will ever change in the south. No, the north doesn’t have this problem because they have a different mindset. I am so sorry about about this dog, but sadly, it’s not an uncommon theme.

    1. As someone living in the north, I’m pretty damn sure that all the animals being stuffed into the gas chambers in MY state tonight are thrilled to know that we have a different mindset here. Yay.

    2. I live in the north and animals are being killed by the shelters in my state every day! Please no MSN laws. What is needed is more low cost spay/neuter clinics and vaccine clinics. In my county, one just recently opened within the past few years and now there is a low cost traveling vaccine clinic. It would be helpful to get animals living in the south on hw medication. If rescues cannot afford to treat these animals, the shelters will only kill them!

  6. From what I read on Facebook every single day South Carolina as a whole does a pretty shoddy job of taking care of their lost and strayed animals throughout the entire state. North Carolina isn’t far behind either. Both these states need to clean up their act. If this was a simple mistake, they should have just said so instead of lying to these people. But no, it would look bad on them. Tell me now.. which looks worse.. lying and killing this family’s youngest member or telling the truth and letting things settle down from it. Everyone that is human makes mistakes and that would have been much easier to take than the elaborate lie they concocted. Shame on you, South Carolina! You should not be allowed to even HAVE a shelter.. much less pay someone with that county’s tax dollars to lie and kill under your name. “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened” Kathie


  7. @ mikken – Would you have been so nonchalant about this situation if it had been YOUR family pet? Pounds, etc., are notorious for operating outside the laws in place to regulate them. That’s a sad truth this country does nothing about … in addition to, in general, caring so little for homeless and ill animals. And tell me, just what have YOU done to keep animals alive?

      1. Wasn’t addressing you YB … as you should have seen … and as far as your meme, check where the sun don’t shine!

  8. They said they kill them if because of health or age they don’t think they can be adopted?? This was a two year old lab, what issues could he have had that would lead them to decide he wasn’t adoptable?? My heart goes out to the family.

    1. Yes, fake pet welfare groups like HSUS continually remind us that 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebreds. They must be pretty quick to collect their stats, before the shelter throws the purebreds in the garbage.

  9. You must always do to the shelters and look. Here they will not look for you and tell you that. Having had dogs get out years ago, I have always found out which shelter picks up in my area and checked. I was fortunate and found my Cognac, although he was so dirty I had to call his name to be sure it was him. I either board or have someone take care of my dogs at home. Make sure they wear their tags.

      1. A: My dog has no nose.
        B: How does he smell?
        A: Bad!

        (Otherwise known as the killer German joke that ended the war, from Monty Python.)

    1. So…it’s ok with you that the shelters won’t do their job and you have to do it for them?

      Why is this acceptable?

    2. The owners were overseas when their dog was lost; they were doing their best from several thousand miles away. You font know whether the dog was chipped or not, had a collar or not, had tags on the collar or not.

      And nothing excuses the “shelter” for their flat-out lies, when they knew they had a dog exactly matching the missing dog’s description.

      1. I think you are over-assuming. They may not have known that they had the dog, after all, that mean actually looking. It is probably easier to just say “no”. Owner: “My dog got loose. Did you get in a Lab?” Worker (thinks to self. We have lots of labs, if I say yes, owner will ask more questions and probably want me to investigate): “No”. Owner calls back after vacation. “You had my lab.” Same worker, different worker, who knows? “Oh, it got adopted.” (Thinks that is a safe answer, even though it probably got killed). I don’t think there was ill-intent. They just don’t care. Think how many animals would make it out alive, if they were actively combing lost and found ads, placing pictures on Petharbor, Craigslist etc. It people were committed to getting animals out alive. The tragedy is the apathy. Then to add insult in injury, they blame the victim. I, too, fear for strays and owner surrenders after learning what is out there.

  10. @ mikken: I see in your further comments that you’re on the ‘right’ side. I can’t totally agree, though, that no one in the supposed ‘shelters’ across this country likes to kill … too many sickos and twisted freaks out there … and there are LOTS of folks working HARD to save animals, just sadly, not nearly enough. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    1. The statement that “no one wants to kill animals” is meant sarcastically. This is the cry that goes up from all of the kill shelters time and time again, but it is a falsehood. They do want to kill – or at least, they don’t want to do work to save lives and killing is the default. If you search on this blog for “no one wants to kill animals”, you’ll get the gist. And you’ll likely be sickened at the same time.

  11. They went overseas and left the dog to take care of himself and then a neighbor called ACO and reported the dog? WHy wasn’t the dog boarded or a petsitter hired?

    1. On what do you base the bizarre claim that they didn’t have a pet sitter?

      Or are you just making up shit because otherwise you’d have to admit Bodey was killed because the SHELTER behaved badly?

  12. It is SO unfortunate and unfair that this animal had to die- however I strongly believe that a no kill nation starts with individual responsibility. This animal was probably one of many wandering the streets- the county didn’t put those animals there, the government isn’t sitting in an office somewhere sitting and waiting with needle in hand to kill whatever they find… stop letting your animals run loose, stop letting your animals get pregnant, and STOP perpetuating irresponsible pet ownership and the killing will not even need to be considered! I am a huge supporter of the no kill movement but it needs to be done with more strict penalties for animals running loose, harsher fines for animals running loose that are not spayed or neutered, and even more strict penalties for people who abandon and abuse animals!

    1. Wow, Shirley, how did all these know-nothing know-it-alls start visiting here? I realize you want to reach more people, but why are they all seeming to be so, uh, … dumb?

      1. How rude and assuming of you to think that I am a know nothing know it all… I can assure you I am not. I manage a no kill shelter in my community- along with a group of dedicated employees and volunteers we have turned it from the highest kill rates in our region to one of the most successful in terms of adoption rates. I have volunteered with Best Friends Shelter, have been in attendance at many No Kill conferences, and have even contributed to many of the research projects as well as assisted with compiling community statistics topublish proposals to help create more no kill shelters in my community- I am also on the city council and work closely with a lawyer who specializes in animal rights to develop more effective animal control regulations in my community. Your assumptions and insults are unfounded and you should be more careful in your judgement of others… scaring off potential allies with your rude comments is not a great way to garner support!

      2. I’m just lucky I guess. The ones who have crossed the line have been banned. Most of the others I imagine will never be back. The few who do will probably leave after they realize that not blaming the victim when it comes to shelter pet killing is kind of a thing around here.

    2. “It is SO unfortunate and unfair that this animal had to die”…

      Um, yeah. I stopped reading at “had to die”. He didn’t have to die. He was an owned pet with people looking for him. The only reason he “had to die” was because shelter workers killed him.

  13. The same thing happened to me years ago. I repeatedly took a flywr with her picture to the shelter They always said she wasn’t there. Finally, a kennel worker was in the front and I showed him the flyer….he said they had her and she had been there for a while….and I got her back. I always twll people to ask to show the photo to the kennel workers as they are the ones who see the dogs every day.

  14. Go to that facility and see the number of dogs that come in every day. No collars. No tags. No microchips. if anyone is looking for their pet they need to personally go. how many yellow labs are out there?

    1. As has been stated 47 times already, the owners were overseas. Meaning they took a plane or a boat and crossed an ocean (endless water everywhere) so they were far, far away when they got the news their dog was lost. So far away.

      But to answer your question – one less after getting picked up by Horry Co.

  15. That is just horrible!! They should be ashamed of themselves!! They MURDERED this dog. This dog that was wanted, loved, and cared for. How dare you idiots say the pound did nothing wrong. YES THEY DID! HORRIBLY WRONG and THEY KNEW it was wrong that is why they lied and tried to hide it.! Good for that news station that uncovered the truth. This is just disgusting! I feel so sorry for the family that loved that dog!! And the poor dog that lost it’s life for NO REASON

  16. Ok, put your money where your mouth is, make sure the local facilities have money to do what is needed. Call your county council members.Get them the funds and room. The only way a shelter in our area can be “no Kill” these days is to refuse animals or be overwhelmed with it all. Remember the cats in the storage units that the county took? That woman had a good heart and tried to do the right thing. I have been working for 10 years to help prevent euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals. Progress has been made.

    1. Before anyone demands that I personally give my own money to a taxpayer funded facility, perhaps it would be fitting to demand the staff at the shelter start doing their jobs. You know, as an act of good faith. And to avoid the appearance of defrauding taxpayers and such.

    2. How is money going to make shelter workers stop being lazy liars are start doing their jobs? These people were told that their dog was there when he WAS there. Then they were told that he was adopted when he was really dead.

  17. I live in SC. Not Horry Co, but, SC. I have rescue friends in Horry Co. They don’t have much good to say about this shelter. I’ve worked for, and volunteer, for SC shelters. I’ve also worked in vet offices. I know of pets that have escaprd from boarding facilities. I know of pets that AC impounds, wearing tags, having microchips.I’ve seen what happens.ACs don’t attempt to find owners of pets with ID ,prior to impound. Even with tags and chips , animals are killed. Owners never know.Pictures aren’t posted. Lost and found sites aren’t researched. Owners that walk the halls may not be informed of “sick holds”, pre-kill rooms , or other areas where their pets are waiting to be found. And the line to the kill room continues to grow.
    I’m sorry ,Bodey. I hope your story is heard. And change begins to happen.

  18. This place just can’t wait to kill….. we call it Horror County……
    combined with the fact that people here can’t seem to figure out how to spay and neuter…. makes the entire area truly a HORROR!
    The people that come here each year and spends tons of cash need to know what is going on just a few miles from the beach…. maybe some of the tourist tax$$ collected could be used for spay and neuter???

  19. I am Christopher’s sister, and breeder of Bodey. THIS DOG was microchipped. I bought Bodeys mother to breed because she had exceptional bloodlines. I train service dogs for people who can not afford them. This dog was very loved and well cared for. He was left with people who were thought to be trustworthy. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Chris and Desi made every effort possible from day one to find Bodey. And came home and searched for months. For those of you whom feel the need to get on here and tear them down let me say this “there are not many people who love and respect their dogs like Chris and Desi did. The dog was like a child to them. They Are absolutely heart broken over this. How dare you holier than thou people have the nerve to say they could have done anything different.” This Animal control clearly has issues. A purebred exceptional bloodline dog put down, never given a chance. Someone would have adopted him. If he wasn’t claimed by my brother. These dogs sell for over $2,000 at high test kennels. They were ignorant and negligent. Bottom line.

  20. thanks Laura, people are ignorant, FUCK Kill Shelters, u people telling that was the right thing to do,wait untill something happens to you,u will change ur mind, he sa picked on Friday and gone by monday,I stiil don’t want to believe he was killed or they just made quick money from a pure breed dog,only they know the truth,but my heart hurts everyday.

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