WARNING: The details of this story are graphic, and some people may be disturbed by them.
WSPA/COLUMBIA, S.C. – An animal rescue director in Columbia, South Carolina, has been charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty. Carolina Dawn Pennington, 47, was arrested by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department on Friday after she allegedly turned herself in.
Pennington is the founder and director of GROWL, a non-profit animal rescue.
Deputies say they received a call on May 22 reporting a “smell of death” coming from a Columbia home. When deputies arrived, they confirmed the smell and went inside the house, where they discovered a disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty, according to deputies.
According to the sheriff’s office, thirty dead animals were discovered in cages and crates, including 28 dogs and two cats. The animals had been dead for a long time and appeared to have died of dehydration and starvation. The animals were covered in their own waste, and the sheriff’s office believes they died in their cages before being discovered by deputies.
Pennington was working for the Kershaw County Humane Society and operating GROWL at the time of the incident, according to deputies.
GROWL is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. If you have made documented donations to GROWL in the last year, investigators advise you to contact RCSD.
The animals were removed from the home with the help of Richland County Animal Control and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Pennington was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center for processing.