SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Division arrested a woman on Wednesday after nine puppies were found in a trash bag earlier in the week.

The county’s Animal Cruelty Investigator reportedly responded to a wooded area on Shiloh Church Road in Pauline.

Officials said a tree service company discovered a black trash bag that was tied and the workers noticed the bag was moving.

  • Nine puppies were found in a trash bag along a road in Spartanburg County. (Source: Spartanburg County)

“So, one of the guys who noticed it moving opens it up and inside the bag itself was a box,” SCEED Director Jamie Nelson said. “Inside the box, there were puppies.”

Of the nine puppies found in the box, only six were alive.

While doing an onsite assessment, the officer determined the puppies were around four weeks of age.

Evidence obtained on site led officers to a residence on Saratoga Avenue. Along with the issue
of animal abandonment, it was determined littering was also involved.

On Wednesday, the Animal Cruelty Investigator spoke with the possible suspect, Tara Elizabeth Johns.

“The individual admitted to taking the canines and putting them in the bag and taking them to the location and abandoning them,” Nelson said. “When the officers were speaking with the individual, they had mentioned that times were hard, a lot going on, didn’t know what to do and then made a bad decision.”

Investigators arrested and charged Tara Elizabeth Johns,39, with littering less than 15 pounds and six counts of animal abandonment.

She was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center.

Individuals from the tree service company volunteered to secure and care for the puppies.

“Putting them in a trash bag, I don’t see how that could possibly be your go-to under any circumstances,” Spartanburg Humane Society President and CEO Angel Cox said.

Cox said that even though most shelters and humane societies are already overcrowded, help is available to those who ask. Cox said that in this case, the humane society would have tried to locate the puppies’ mother, as it is safest for them to nurse through at least six weeks of age.

However, she said, the best solution to situations such as this are prevention: spaying and neutering pets. Although the procedures can pose financial barriers for some, help is available.

“Animal Allies is a nonprofit here in Spartanburg. They can help you,” Cox said. “They can give you an incredible price. They can maybe hook you up with some other rescue groups that can help you take care of this so that you don’t have to pay for it.”