Animal Cruelty

CAPTION: A chained dog in Fountain Inn was among more than 30 taken into custody. There is no state law or local ordinance that forbids securing dogs in this manner; two people were arrested for the dogs’ alleged malnourishment. HORSES ABUSE Seven Horses Found with Ill Treatment Thursday, February 6, 2020 -- WLBG on-line Ill treatment of horses by overworking and torture was alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday. 52-year-old Stacey Lynn McKenzie of Stover Hurley Drive, Gray Court was charged with one count of Ill Treatment of Animals, in General, noting “Overworking.”  He was served with two warrants charging him with Ill Treatment of Animals in General, Torture. Mr. McKenzie is accused of causing unnecessary pain, suffering, and distress upon seven (7) horses by not providing them with adequate food, water and shelter. According to the investigation of Deputy Edwards one of the horses was found in a small enclosed pasture with another horse which had died. The live horse was reportedly eating mud off of the ground and bark off of trees as a source of food. Another warrant states it appeared as if the deceased horse had also been eating mud off of the ground and bark off a tree for means of food. The horses were reportedly found in the distressed condition on January 25th. Stacey Lynn McKenzie remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing. Mr. McKenzie was also on a Hold for Violation of Probation warrant.

Laurens County 4: 300 animals are saved by Laurens County and partners - UPDATE with Horses Abuse arrest.



Deputies and animal control officers have been hit with the triple whammy in recent weeks in Laurens County. “Things always come in 3’s,” County Council member Brown Patterson said as he commended these officers and many others.

Without help, a county official said, there was no way the county could have save 300 animals with its own resources.

Speaking last Tuesday at the county council’s regular meeting, Patterson said there have been three cases of animal cruelty within the county in the previous two to two-and-a-half weeks. Two were well-known - an alleged “puppy mill”, meth and illegal liquor near Ware Shoals and dogs in heavy chains at a Fountain Inn residence. Five people face charges in connection with the two incidents.

The third happened last Saturday. A horse was found dead and officers moved to take eight more horses out of a muddy pen. The animals were taken into custody and are being cared for in Aiken, “Horse Country USA”.

“Never once did I hear the officers complain” about the work or the conditions, Geoff Brown, the county’s animal control director, told WYFF-TV. 

Brown and Sheriff Don Reynolds previously had made comments about animal cruelty.

“Puppies being born, and living in cages, with not one piece of cloth or anything -- it’s on wire. And their feces and urine just dripping down onto other dogs. We’ve had multiple cases - none this large - but they’re out there. And this came from a tip from the public. If you see something, say something. ‘Cause when you do, we’re coming after the people who are doing this,” Brown said, speaking to Anderson Judge Dirk Bron Jr. in the Ware Shoals incident, quoting by WYFF-TV news, on-line

“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. 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,” Reynolds said about the alleged dog abuse case in Fountain Inn, in a LCSO news release.

When malnourished animals are seized, a circuit judge has to sign off on sending them to rescues. Otherwise, the animals’ custody eventually will revert to their owners.

Patterson asked for and was granted an agenda addition at the Jan. 28 meeting to discuss animal control. He cited these organizations as partners with Laurens County Animal Control in addressing the three alleged cruelty cases:

The Humane Society of the United States, Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, animal-care organizations in Charleston, Greenville, Nashville, Aiken (and Cashiers-Highlands, N.C.), PAWS, Izzie’s Pond, Laurens and Holmes animal hospitals, No Kill SC, the ASPCA, Laurens County EMS, the Heart of LC Animal Control, and the Laurens County Humane Society. 

Geoff Brown said the volume of animals to be dealt with would have overwhelmed Laurens County Animal Control, a division of the county’s Department of Public Works. Its officers also handle litter.

Also Jan. 28, the council made two appointments - Joy Culbertson and Sally Bowen - the Laurens County Animal Control Advisory Committee. There are 6 people on this commission and 1 vacancy - with a quorum appointed, it can now set up regular meetings, the council was told. 

Patterson said, at budget time, the council could consider additional resources for Animal Control. Brown said information from the public is key - with “tips,” AC can immediately call in the arrest-power officers of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office to take action in animal-cruelty cases.

The Facebook group “Fight Like a Champ” posted this update from The Humane Society of the United States - Cruelty and Fighting Campaign (Jan. 22): “Our Animal Rescue Team is on the ground in Laurens County, SC again today! Responders are transporting adoptable dogs from the Laurens County Animal Shelter to make room for incoming dogs from a horrific cruelty and neglect case. We are so grateful for local law enforcement and animal control for cracking down on cruelty in their community. Last week with a puppy mill closure and this week the discovery of severely neglected dogs! A huge thank you to our shelter partners that are assisting on scene and taking in adoptable pets from the Laurens County Animal Shelter - Nashville Humane Association, Charleston Animal Society and Greenville County Animal Care. Special thanks to the Laurens County Animal Control and Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.”

Updates from the Charleston Animal Society and the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society, N.C., also are posted on this Facebook group page.

“Fight Like a Champ” grew out of the case of Champ the dog, found malnourished in Laurens and nursed back to health in New York two years ago. A healthy Champ has since been adopted; his story received international attention, including People magazine.

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