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30 dead canine, cats found in home of South Carolina animal rescue CEO

The CEO of a South Carolina animal rescue nonprofit was arrested when police found dozens of dead animals inside her home whereas investigating a criticism concerning the “smell of death.”

Caroline Dawn Pennington, the 47-year-old CEO and director of GROWL, was arrested Friday and charged with 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals after officers found the our bodies of 28 canine and two cats decomposing in cages inside her home.

Richland County investigators uncovered the revolting scene whereas performing a wellness verify at her home on May 22 after a neighbor reported a “smell of death” wafting from the Columbia residence.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott stated the invention was one of the worst circumstances of animal cruelty he’s ever seen.

The animals have been left inside their cage between seven and 9 months.
Richland County Sheriff’s Department

“It’s appalling and it’s heartbreaking,” Lott stated in an announcement. “This is someone who was entrusted by the community to care for these animals and find them homes. She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of these innocent animals who relied on her.”

The animals probably died from hunger and dehydration and are believed to have been dead for a big quantity of time based mostly on the excessive quantity of decomposition, the Richland County Sherriff’s Department stated.

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A spokesperson for the division stated investigators assume the canine and cats had been uncared for and alone in the home for as much as 9 months and died inside their cages.

They have been found laying in their very own waste, police stated.

Pennington is a widely known determine in the animal rescue group in Columbia, South Carolina.

In addition to being the director of the animal rescue GROWL, she was additionally employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society on the time of the incident.

The group indicated that she is not an worker in an announcement.

“We were unaware of the former employee’s actions and are truly shocked and heartbroken,” Kershaw County Humane Society stated in an announcement. “Our dedicated staff will continue with our mission to serve the lost and homeless pets of Kershaw County.”

Police are additionally investigating Pennington for attainable fraud as GROWL is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit group. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is asking anybody who donated to GROWL in the final year to contact them.