- South Carolina, USA -
The Laurens County Sheriff's Office said that in the afternoon of July 16, Animal Control responded to a home on Hope Road in Gray Court to check on the conditions of horses.
Officers discovered malnourished horses and just like all the other animals present on the property, they were found without access to food or water.
According to a news release by the sheriff’s office, many horses “had severely overgrown hooves and their teeth were in poor condition.”
Many hogs were found underweight.
Dogs, hens, and rabbits were also found in poor condition.
Officials then discovered many roosters tethered to the ground by leashes.
In a large barrel, officers found multiple dead chickens.
More deceased chickens had been left to decay on top of a cage.
The sheriff’s office said that over 400 animals were found on the property including:
Officials further discovered many items which led investigators to believe they were part of a cockfighting operation.
50-year-old TINA MESSER HURLEY (pictured below)
54-year-old ROBERT MILTON KELLETT III (pictured below)
33-year-old JEFFREY JUSTICE DALE WILLIAMS (pictured below)
They were charged with, among other offenses, 19 counts of ill treatment of animals, torture and 1 count of ill treatment of animals, overworking.
KELLET was additionally charged with criminal conspiracy for his involvement in cockfighting.
The sheriff’s office also arrested HEIDI TENILLE MATHES and JACKY DEAN YOPP JR. and charged them with distribution of meth.
The sheriff’s office said in a press release that this case required an extensive and thorough investigation and thanked all the parties involved: the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Charleston Animal Society, Anderson County PAWS, the Humane Society of the United States, and two private citizens for their assistance in removing these animals from this property, evaluating them, and providing necessary care.
The State reports “Aldwin Roman, vice president for operations and strategy for the Charleston Animal Society, said the site was like a junkyard, scattered with old cars, trash and animal feces. Some dogs were in pens, others chained, some loose. Two beagles were in a makeshift hunting kennel full of dog waste. Some were in a typical cockfighting layout with axles tied out with chains.”
Mr. Roman explained that none of the dogs were typical cockfighting dogs and that they were hounds, including a litter of puppies, and beagles. Two were Staffordshire Terriers.
According to Mr. Roman, his organization took in 23 dogs.
All of them were underweight, had fleas and worms and some of them will require dental work, either because of bad food or biting on chains.
As I checked the Charleston Animal Society for updates, I inevitably learned that the organization is asking for donations to help them cope with the care of the animals they took in.
If you wish and can afford to make a donation, please click here. Thank you!
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Details may be removed or additional information may be provided in future should such sources report an update.
Some of the pictures have been shared from the Charleston Animal Society.