Animal-control officer fired as deputies probe dog’s death
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
A county animal-control officer has been fired, but no criminal charges appear likely, in the investigation into the death of a dog that “appeared to have been castrated and tortured.”
The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the death of a county woman’s dog whose body was found in Chesterfield County, apparently shot and mutilated.
The dog had vanished from a Timberchase Drive home in the Hartsville area on May 6.
A nearby resident told deputies that three dogs came onto his porch, acting aggressively, that he shot one dog with a pellet gun and that the dog died.
Darlington County Animal Control was called, the DSCO said in a statement, and “did take possession” of the dog’s body.
That dog’s body was later found in neighboring Chesterfield County by the side of a road, and indications were that the animal had been castrated and tortured.
Sheriff’s investigators determined that Animal Control “improperly disposed” of the dog, and the DCSO said an animal-control officer has been fired for that action. He was not identified.
The issue of whether the dog had been mutilated and tortured was less clear.
The DCSO said the dog’s owner took the body to her veterinarian, who verified a pellet was in the dog.
The vet told the owner he couldn’t determine if the mutilation was done by animals after the dog died, but said there were indications “some type of animal had been feeding on the dog.”
The DCSO said a sheriff’s investigator took the dog’s body to the Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Columbia for a necropsy after the owner requested it.
The DCSO said the necropsy found “a pellet lodged in soft tissue, but (it) was not the direct cause of death.”
The necropsy found that the likely cause of death was hemopericardium (bleeding into the heart sac), the DCSO said. It found that the dog’s body was “probably scavenged” by animals after death, not mutilated by people.
The DCSO said its officers have met with the dog’s owner and kept her informed about the investigation.
The DCSO said: “Our office has also consulted with the Solicitor’s Office in this matter, and is confirmed that at this time no charges can be filed in this case, but it is still under investigation.”