Anyone with information about this incident or the people involved should call Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2000.
Two dogs have died after they and two others were reportedly thrown over a fence at the Sumter SPCA “like a basketball,” officials said.
According to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office investigators, surveillance footage, which has not yet been released, recorded two suspects throwing four Chihuahuas over a fence onto the animal shelter’s South Guignard Drive property about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, said Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Two of the dogs have since died, Sarvis said.
Upon apprehension, the suspects could face at least four counts of ill treatment of animals.
Cindy Cook, executive director of the Sumter SPCA, said the dogs, all between 2-5 years old, were thrown over the fence like basketballs on the graphic surveillance video. Two of the Chihuahuas, a small breed, got out through a gap in the gate and were fatally struck by cars “within a couple minutes.”
“They were just trying to run back down the road to the people who dropped them off,” Cook said. “We recovered their bodies, and we have the [surviving] male and female here. The male, it took us over an hour to catch him because he was so timid.”
She said the female is “just a sweetheart.”
The two remaining dogs received only a few scrapes but are OK, she said.
The SPCA, the county’s only no-kill animal shelter, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Wednesday and Sunday to receive animals. Cook said the process of leaving pets or other animals with the shelter is easy – simply go to the back door and give employees as much information as they can on the animal “so we can try to find the right home for them.”
There is a minimal charge to turn an animal in, Cook said, but most shelters do ask for a small fee.
“When they come in, they get vaccinated, they get de-wormed, they get checked for heart worms and they get spayed and neutered and placed for adoption,” Cook said.
Pets have been dropped off inside the gate “on occasion,” she said, but this is the first time she can remember this many at once being left anonymously, and it is certainly the most graphic with the worst outcome.
“And all they had to do was just wait and come during our open hours, and the two wouldn’t have lost their lives,” Cook said. “Why? We were here all day.”
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