Easley Woman Running Animal Shelter Arrested and Charged with 60 Counts of Animal Cruelty
A woman who runs an animal shelter in Easley, SC has been arrested and charged with 60 counts of animal cruelty, plus one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Debra Sheridan runs the Golden S Rescue and has been charged with animal cruelty before. This time, officers searched her property and found “a trailer full” of animals that were emaciated, or in unsanitary conditions.
Sheridan faces 60 counts of animal cruelty and 54 counts of failing to provide proof of rabies vaccination. According to one police officer, Sheridan faces each count of animal cruelty separately, and could each individual charge carries a potential jail sentence of up to 60 days in jail, plus a $500 fine.
According to police reports, Sheridan allowed police officers onto her property to investigate as part of a follow-up to her previous animal cruelty charges. They reportedly found 40 to 60 dogs that were “extremely emaciated,” and over 119 animals living in cramped and unsanitary conditions in a trailer.
At that time, 11 dogs were seized; when officers conducted a follow-up investigation the following Wednesday, they found that conditions had not improved for the animals, and arrested Sheridan for animal cruelty.
Sheridan defended herself in a statement saying that she routinely rescued animals from shelters just before the animals were put down – something shelters too often do to address overcrowding. She said that they were mistreated or neglected at the shelters prior to their death, and that was why the animals appeared to be suffering or emaciated.
Criminal Charges for Animal Cruelty in South Carolina
In criminal law, “animal cruelty” refers to maliciously and intentionally maiming, wounding, torturing, or mutilating or wounding a living animal or maliciously and intentionally killing an animal. Laws to prevent animals have tough penalties and jail time, and because of the emotional investment many people have in their pets, animal cruelty charges can often make the accused seem automatically guilty.
Intentionally inflicted cruelty to animals is generally considered violent and deliberate animal abuse. Examples include:
- Dogfighting and rooster fighting
- Cruelly or inhumanely confining an animal
- Unnecessarily killing an animal
- Torturing, beating, or injuring an animal
Negligent cruelty to animals is failing to provide adequate care. Allegations may include:
- Failing to treat a pet’s wounds or illness
- Failing to provide water or food
- Failing to provide sanitary living conditions
- Failing to provide adequate shelter
The Strom Law Firm Defends Criminal Animal Cruelty Charges in South Carolina
During a criminal trial for charges of animal cruelty, judges and jury can act emotionally, without seeing both sides of the charges. People often react strongly to the idea that you, the defendant, might abuse a defenseless creature, especially a domesticated pet like a dog or a cat. The South Carolina criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand South Carolina’s stringent animal cruelty laws and can help you defend yourself in court. We offer free, confidential case evaluations, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800