Dozens of dead dogs and cats were found among their own waste at the home of a well-known figure in the animal rescue community.
Police discovered the bodies of 28 dogs and two cats decomposing in cages at the home of Caroline Dawn Pennington, the CEO and director of nonprofit animal rescue organization GROWL.
Investigators conducted a health check at their Columbia, South Carolina home on May 22 after a neighbor reported a “smell of death.” The scene was “appalling” and “heartbreaking,” according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
“This is someone assigned by the community to take care of these animals and find them homes,” Lott said. “She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of those innocent animals who depended on her.”
Investigators believe the dogs and cats were neglected and left indoors for up to nine months before dying in the cages, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said, according to the New York Post.
The animals may have died of starvation and dehydration and were in a severe state of decomposition lying in their own waste, the sheriff’s department said.
Pennington, 47, who was also an employee of the Kershaw County Humane Society when the bodies were found, was arrested on Friday. She was charged with 30 counts of animal abuse.
The Humane Society said that Pennington was no longer employed by them.
“We were unaware of the former employee’s actions and are genuinely shocked and heartbroken,” the humane society said. ‘Our dedicated employees will continue our mission to help Kershaw County’s lost and homeless pets.’
Pennington is also under investigation for possible involvement in fraud relating to GROWL, which is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit organization. The sheriff’s department is asking that you speak to people who have donated to the organization over the past year.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/07/south-carolina-30-dogs-and-cats-dead-in-animal-rescue-ceos-home-16787994/ South Carolina: 30 dead dogs and cats at animal rescue CEO's home