News 2 Investigation: Woman with 40 animals has long history - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

News 2 Investigation: Woman with 40 animals has long history with law

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Jessica McManigle was arrested last month and charged with three counts of cruelty to animals and four counts of child abuse.

But a News 2 investigation reveals it's not her first run-in with the law.

She had 36 guinea pigs, two rabbits and two dogs living in unsanitary conditions in her backyard, but that's not all. Her children were reportedly living in a minivan in front of her home.

Documents obtained by News 2 reveal the first time authorities were called to her home was actually back in January of 2010. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office came out to investigate a neighbor's complaint that McManigle was letting her animals run loose.

She stated she would comply, and perhaps she did. That is, until two months later when another deputy cited her for cruelty and leaving her dog unattended. 

Fast forward to September of 2011, deputies responded to their first reports of alleged child abuse and neglect at the McManigle home. 

She told deputies her children were not in school because they were home-schooled. Deputies documented the home was in disarray, but that the children appeared to be clean and fed.

That wasn't the case in January of this year though, when an anonymous phone call landed authorities back at the residence for a health and welfare check of the home. Deputies documented the mini-van which the children were eventually found to be living in, as well as a large amount of trash, mice, rats, several pet cages, and a foul odor of what smelled like animal urine and feces. The Department of Health and Environmental Control cited McManigle, and the Department of Social Services stated as long as the children were with a family friend or their father Jason, they would be closing their inquiry.

But those conditions didn't last, which brings us to the most recent incident when McManigle's children were found living in a minivan and 40 animals were taken into custody from her home.

Twenty-two of the guinea pigs were pregnant.

Clearly an overwhelming situation, one that this investigation reveals could have been avoided by reaching out to available resources.

DSS told News 2 they have a checklist to follow when called out to a home, where they look for certain indicators such as hunger, poor hygiene, lack of supervision and abandonment. Representatives declined to comment specifically on the investigation.

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