The CEO of a South Carolina animal rescue nonprofit was arrested when police discovered dozens of lifeless animals inside her residence whereas investigating a grievance concerning the “smell of death.”
Caroline Daybreak Pennington, the 47-year-old CEO and director of GROWL, was arrested Friday and charged with 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals after officers found the our bodies of 28 canines and two cats decomposing in cages inside her residence.
Richland County investigators uncovered the revolting scene whereas performing a wellness examine at her home on Might 22 after a neighbor reported a “smell of death” wafting from the Columbia residence.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott mentioned the invention was one of many worst circumstances of animal cruelty he’s ever seen.
“It’s appalling and it’s heartbreaking,” Lott mentioned in an announcement. “This is someone who was entrusted by the community to care for these animals and find them homes. She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of these innocent animals who relied on her.”
The animals seemingly died from hunger and dehydration and are believed to have been lifeless for a big period of time primarily based on the excessive quantity of decomposition, the Richland County Sherriff’s Division mentioned.
A spokesperson for the division mentioned investigators suppose the canines and cats had been uncared for and alone within the residence for as much as 9 months and died inside their cages.
They have been discovered laying in their very own waste, police mentioned.
Pennington is a well known determine within the animal rescue neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina.
Along with being the director of the animal rescue GROWL, she was additionally employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society on the time of the incident.
The group indicated that she is now not an worker in an announcement.
“We were unaware of the former employee’s actions and are truly shocked and heartbroken,” Kershaw County Humane Society mentioned in an announcement. “Our dedicated staff will continue with our mission to serve the lost and homeless pets of Kershaw County.”
Police are additionally investigating Pennington for attainable fraud as GROWL is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit group. The Richland County Sheriff’s Division is asking anybody who donated to GROWL within the final yr to contact them.