WARNING: Details of this story are graphic and may disturb some people.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — An animal rescue director in Columbia, South Carolina, is accused of 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals. On Friday, the sheriff’s department in Richland County arrested Carolina Dawn Pennington, 47, after they say she turned herself in.
Pennington is the CEO and director of a non-profit animal rescue called GROWL.
On May 22, deputies say they received a call reporting a “smell of death” was coming from a home in Columbia. Once they arrived, deputies confirmed the smell and entered the residence – where they say they found a disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty.
Thirty dead animals – 28 dogs and two cats – were found in cages and crates, according to the sheriff’s office. The animals had been dead for long amounts of time and looked to have died from starvation and dehydration. The animals were lying in their own waste and the sheriff’s office believes they died in the cages and had not been moved before being discovered by deputies.
Deputies said at the time of the incident, Pennington was employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society, in addition to operating GROWL.
GROWL is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Investigators said to contact RCSD if you have made documented donations to GROWL in the last year.
Richland County Animal Control worked with RCSD to remove the animals from the home.
Pennington was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.