Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office and HSUS Make the Rescue –
The call to the media was to follow Edgefield County’s Sheriff Adell Dobey, his officers and members of the Humane Society of the U.S. to a place – hidden to the press at the time – and more would be revealed when we got there. On Tuesday morning we arrived at a fenced in site on Holmes Pond Rd. and were met by a number of dog–greeters (frisky dogs running toward the interlopers). Once inside the first gate, the revelations of what the issue was came quickly. There were over 200 dogs plus other animals – horses, chickens and a gaggle of geese – living on the land, and it was the dogs that were the greeters with incessant barking. Then we learned, with some understanding once viewing the surround, that the property owner had been brought into the Sheriff’s Office that morning and charged with animal cruelty after a month long investigation.
Accompanying the parties connected to the Sheriff’s office were members of the Humane Society of the U.S., with representatives from D.C., the Director of the S.C. Humane Society, and other members from Atlanta and Charlotte. All were observing and waiting for time to assess the situation.
Make-shift kennels were scattered over the land, many of the dogs having been housed in rabbit pens (no dogs were seen there, possibly had been rescued) where they stood on wire their entire caged period, as observed by Tia Pope of HSUS-D.C. She noted that such caging was bad on the dog’s feet and caused sores, and left the dog in the elements, no matter the weather.
On the land, just beyond the entrance to the property, is a mobile home where the owner lives. The garage was piled high with debris, including children’s toys. Sources said that, inside, dogs were housed in stacked cages and animal feces was seen about; the kitchen had counters piled high with debris; every level spot was covered. (The only place for resting the human body was a bed with a coverlet in a leopard print, according to report.)
Animal feces covered the walkways to the kennels and hundreds of white and gray animal bones, apparently the remains of feedings, were scattered about the lanes. Certainly there was evidence of the animals having been fed, but with what?
There were a few cages that held what looked like purebreds–for instance a few Cocker Spaniels – but most seemed to be mixed, to an amateur’s eye. Sources said that the animals are for sale through the Internet, by the owner.
The owner is Callie Abel, who according to sources, has been charged in the past.
What now? was the question. Tia Pope explained that after the leaders of the entourage had finished their survey, that the Humane Society would be called in to assess. She explained that each cage would be checked, and each animal, and that there was plenty of paperwork ahead for them. (Careful paperwork is important here because they are dealing with legalities, according to Tia.) On standby for rescue were a couple of shelters (there are many shelters over the U.S. that provide stand-by for just such a mission) and as the animals are assessed, they will be carried away to these shelters.
There were a number of HS-US members around, dark blue T-shirts identified them. Then there was the green T-Shirt for volunteers. From Atlanta were a number of green shirts: one held the position of fundraiser for the Society there; another was a contributor and was invited to come view such a rescue mission in order to understand where her money would be going.
Where the dogs will be going is a secret. They are protected in transport as they are offered a new abode.
Following his statement of the charges made, a misdemeanor, Sheriff Dobey added: “The investigation is still underway. More charges may be forthcoming,”