LAURENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Laurens County Sheriff’s Office officials said two people were arrested after 32 malnourished dogs were found on a property in Fountain Inn on Tuesday.
According to a sheriff’s office news release, deputies were called to a home in the 200 block of Bryson Road at around 8:30 a.m. following a request by the Laurens County Animal Control.
Sheriff’s Office officials said 32 dogs were found and a majority of the dogs were chained up, appeared to be malnourished and in poor health.
According to the sheriff’s office’s incident report, the dogs were all pit bulls and had “extremely heavy and thick logging chains around their necks. The dogs did not look to be in any kind of shape that would support the weight of the particular thick logging chains being used. The dogs had very loose skin, ribs that were showing, no muscle content about their bodies, sores all over various parts of the body, some had worms, dehydration appeared to have set in on some of the dogs, and other injuries that required medical attention.”
Animal control officials called in help from Abbeville County Animal Control, as well as Greenville Animal Control, to help with the removal of the dogs.
A veterinarian was also called to the scene to help care for the dogs.
“These dogs were not in good shape and they were being forced to carry around chains, some that weighed much more than the dog,” Geoff Brown with Laurens County Animal Control told 7 News.
Geoff Brown couldn’t say why there were so many dogs at this home. However an incident report says other than the dogs, there were photo albums containing pictures of dogs wearing chains.
“Most of them were very underweight, they had open sores, swollen joints, swollen body parts, respiratory failure,” Brown said.
The report goes on to say deputies asked one of the men if he was using these dogs for fighting. He claims that’s not the case.
“Some of the injuries you can’t believe somebody could walk by and not do something about it,” said Dr. Julie James with the Clinton Animal Hospital.
Regardless of why these dogs were chained up, Dr. Julie James told us the healing process is just beginning. She says the cuts and scrapes are curable, the neglect they experienced however, unforgettable.
“To think these dogs were neglected like they were and yet they’re still loving, it’s really a testimony to how forgiving dogs are,” James told 7 News.
Jerry Westmoreland and Chicuan Amaker, who both lived at the home, were arrested and charged with ill treatment of animals.
A search warrant was issued on the home and during the search, deputies found two doors that were locked and had to be opened by force.
According to the report, a P-Tac AR-15 style rifle with a scope and without a clip was found inside. A R-G24 black .22 pistol with white grips was also located.
Other items located include:
- Six bottles of liquid penicillin
- Several syringes
- An AR-15 rifle magazine loaded with ammunition
- A scale
- Rolling papers
- Marijuana packed into a homemade smoke pipe made out of straw and a medicine bottle
- Three cell phones
- A green Crown Royal bag with ammunition
- K9 medical cream
- Seven boxes of razor blades
- Loose photo’s of dogs with the chains on their necks, as well as the name of the dog
- 29 chains used on the dogs
- A photo album of dogs with chains and names
According to the incident report, the dogs were found throughout the property, with approximately 20 dogs in the right, left and back of the home’s yard, and the rest were found in the woods behind the property, which spanned over three normal size housing lots.
“The dogs had been there so long that the logging chains they were wearing around their necks had wore the ground down bare with red dirt and mud,” according to the report. “Some of the dogs had began to eat trees and had actually sawed one small tree in half like a beaver would do, shreds of tree bark and wood laying on the ground next to the tree.”
According to the report, a Laurens County deputy stayed at the home to secure the scene overnight and was relieved by another deputy the next morning, which is when Amaker came to the home.
During his questioning, Amaker told deputies that he would use the dogs for hunting and said he feeds and takes care of the animals.
Amaker also reportedly told deputies that he only owns 15 dogs and that his brother owns the rest.
“I spoke about the mistreatment of animals just last week and it is unfortunate that we are dealing with yet another case this week. For someone to treat an animal this way is absolutely despicable and the motivation is truly greed,” Sheriff Don Reynolds said. “Laurens Animal Control has proven to be a valuable resource in these situations and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication to the animals.”
Both were taken to the Laurens County Detention Center. Amaker was still being held Thursday afternoon on a $5,000 bond.