WARNING: Details of this story are graphic and may disturb some people.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — The leader of an animal rescue group in Columbia, South Carolina, has been accused of 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals.
Carolina Dawn Pennington, 47, who serves as chief executive officer and director of the nonprofit group GROWL, turned herself in on Friday to authorities in Richland County.
Richland County deputies reported receiving a call on May 22 about a “smell of death” coming from a home in Columbia. When deputies entered the residence, they said they found a disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty.
Thirty 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 some time and looked to have died from starvation and dehydration.
The animals were lying in their own waste and deputies said they think they died in the cages and had not been moved before being found.
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 the sheriff’s office to remove the animals.
Pennington was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.