WARNING: Details of this story are graphic and may disturb some people.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – The Richland County Sheriff’s Department arrested an animal rescue director accused of 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals.
According to the sheriff’s office, Carolina Dawn Pennington, 47, was arrested Friday after turning herself in. Pennington is the CEO and director of a non-profit animal rescue named GROWL.
On May 22, deputies said they responded to a welfare check at a home on Dibble Lane in Columbia after receiving a call that said a “smell of death” coming from the home. Once they arrived, deputies confirmed the smell and entered the home. They said found a disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty.
30 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 a long amount of time and looked to have died from starvation and dehydration. The animals were lying in their own waste and it is believed by the sheriff’s office that 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 at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.