In Laurens, South Carolina, a man has been charged with animal cruelty after graphic images showing chained dogs starved to death and one emaciated dog appeared on social media. The photos were taken at a home located on Springdale Drive where the dog owner lives with his grandmother. According to WSPANews, Markevious Simpson faces charges for three counts of animal cruelty and giving false information to police after his arrest on Thursday.
Simpson was also charged with the ill treatment of animals because he “knowingly and intentionally deprived an animal (dog) proper food, water, and shelter which resulted in the malnourishment” of the dog, causing its bones to be visible. Bond has been set at $15,000.
The Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said he was alerted to the situation by the Laurens County Humane Society, who posted photos of the two dead dogs on their Facebook page after a concerned citizen sent the disturbing photos to the shelter’s attention. The situation has caused a lot of turmoil after the dead dogs, including a dog still alive and starving, were left at the property nearly a week after an investigation began, and Simpson still hadn’t been arrested at the time. On the Laurens County Humane Society Facebook, the following angry message was posted:
“While on the scene, we are told that the Deputy took pictures, spoke to someone at the home and wrote a report. He left the 2 dead dogs chained out in the rain and also left the only living dog, who had apparently escaped his chain and was roaming free. We were told that they couldn’t do anything on the weekend because Animal Control was closed. When asked about the obviously criminal animal cruelty that had occurred, we were told that Animal Control had to investigate before any action could be taken and that they would not be open until Monday morning. Of course we insisted that there must be an on-call Animal Control Officer to help the last living dog, but the Deputy told us after texting the lieutenant on duty, that there was no one to help and that it would have to wait until Monday morning.”
On Monday morning, the Laurens County Humane Society reached out to Animal Control and were informed there were no reports on the situation:
“After visiting the scene at our request, they reported that they also spoke to someone at the home and there was no sign of the living dog. From what we understand, the dead dogs were still on scene. Tuesday Feb 21, we spoke to Animal Control again to ask for any update on the case and we were told that this was a case for the Sheriff’s office to address because the Animal Control Officers no longer carry weapons or have the ability to act as law enforcement.”
Whether Animal Control or the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department “jockey for power is simply unacceptable” the Humane Society continued to post and that animals subjected to cruelty and neglect deserve better. Sheriff Reynolds explained that currently Animal Control is part of the Public Works department and issued the following public statement defending the criticism of the delayed investigation and subsequent arrest of Simpson:
“Animal control officers need to be trained, certified law enforcement officers. Animal control needs to be a 24×7 service. Neither are currently the case in Laurens County. I will not create a liability for the county by arming uncertified personnel and expecting them to put themselves and others in harm’s way. In order to provide the service that the you deserve, the Sheriff’s Office needs both the responsibility and the funding for animal control.
Given the proper resources, we would be able to provide the services that you expect and deserve.”
Follow the continuing situation and asking representatives for help with animal cruelty and neglect cases by clicking here. Animal advocates are grateful to officers and animal control personnel for their love of animals – now is the time to get the proper help and support.
(Photos of dogs starved to death courtesy of Laurens County Humane Society)
(Please note there has been no update on the missing surviving dog alleged to be a shepherd breed)
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