Adoption of puppies found in ditch may take a while

10-year-old Michael Hardwick shows us where he found the puppies Saturday afternoon. / Gerard Jebaily

A spokewoman for Coastal Animal Rescue, Karen Nierengarten, says 68 applications have been received for the 3 Labrador puppies found Saturday in a drainage ditch in Georgetown.

People from as far away as Charlotte have been calling to adopt one of the 5-week old puppies. Nierengarten says given the outpouring of interest, the adoption process will be slowed down to ensure that each puppy is placed in a permanent, loving home.

The Coastal Animal Rescue's normal procedure for animal adoption is to have an Adoption Committee review each application.

Veterinarian Dr. Mok says the puppies are healthy but dehydrated. They've been playing, grabbing at volunteers' shoe laces, and napping a lot.

Read about the 10-year-old boy and previous updates below.


Posted 1/18/2011

Requests are pouring in to adopt three abandoned puppies found in Georgetown over the weekend.

Michael Hardwick, 10, was walking with a friend on Saturday, when they heard a squealing sound. Michael investigated and found a bag filled with Labrador puppies in a drainage ditch.

"It was like a brownish bag. There was three of them in there. It was like somebody just tossed them in there and ran," Michael said.

There were two male puppies, black and yellow in color, and a chocolate brown female.

Michael cleaned and fed the puppies, believed to be about five-weeks-old, and his family took them to Coastal Animal Rescue in Murrells Inlet. After the story of the puppies' rescue appeared on NewsChannel 15 and, volunteers say requests to adopt the puppies started coming in from as far away as Darlington and Summerville.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing," said shelter volunteer Karen Nierengarten. She said the shelter's four-member adoption committee will consider all the applications before deciding where the puppies will go.

"If the puppies could speak, they could have their pick of homes," she said.

All three puppies have been wormed and checked out by the shelter's veterinarian, Dr. Meisen Mok. They have been taken out of quarantine and placed in a special heated area for younger animals, Nierengarten said.

Coastal Animal Rescue volunteers have put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the person who abandoned the puppies.

To find out how you can apply to adopt the puppies, call Coastal Animal Rescue at 843-685-2851.


Posted 1/17/2011

Someone dumped a bag full of live puppies into a ditch in Georgetown. The puppies are OK now, but animal rescue workers are appalled and putting up their own money to find the person who abandoned the puppies.

There's little doubt they would be dead by now, if not for the efforts of a ten-year-old boy.

Michael Hardwick and a friend were walking along East Bay Street in Georgetown Saturday afternoon, when they heard a loud squealing sound.

Michael investigated and found the three puppies in a brown bag stuffed into a drainage ditch.

"We got them and went back to our house and gave them a bath and we fed them and we let them take a nap," Michael said.

The puppies are all Labradors, two males and a female. They are black, beige and chocolate brown in color.

Michael really wanted to keep at least one of them.

"The other two they were healthy, they looked like they could make it, but I wanted the beige one 'cause I liked the color and all, and I just think it would make a good pet for me."

Michael's mom said no to that idea, because the family already has four dogs. But they did notify a volunteer for Coastal Animal Rescue in Murrells Inlet and the dogs were taken there to be sheltered until they can be put up for adoption.

Volunteers at the animal rescue say Michael did the right thing, but now they want to find out who abandoned the puppies. The volunteers put up $1,000 of their own money for a reward.

"For information on the person, vehicle, any information that can be shed leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator," said Karen Nierengarten, a spokesperson for the shelter.

It's not the first time live puppies have been abandoned in Georgetown. Rescue workers say it will keep happening, until tougher animal protection laws are passed and enforced.

"Because it appears we're in a stage now where people think that animals are just garbage and they just dump them," Nierengarten said.

The five-week-old puppies have been wormed and a veterinarian was scheduled to check out them Monday afternoon. After that, they should be available for adoption within a day or two.

Coastal Animal Rescue 843-685-2851


Earlier story - Reward offered for arrest of person who dumped puppies

A 10-year-old Georgetown boy made an unusual discovery Saturday afternoon, when he and a friend found 3 Labrador puppies in a bag in a drainage ditch.

Michael Hardwick says they were walking around 4:30 p.m. on East Bay Street in Georgetown, when they heard squealing. When Michael went to see what the sound was, he found three Labrador puppies in a bag stuffed into the drainage ditch.

The puppies were chocolate, black and beige. There were two males and a female. Michael took them home, washed them up, gave them something to eat and waited for his mom to come home.

Michael really wanted to keep one of the puppies, but the family already has four Labs. His mother said they would have to give all the puppies to the shelter. She got in touch with a volunteer from Coastal Animal Rescue. The puppies have been in their care for the past day and a half.

The puppies are about 5 weeks old. Coastal Animal Rescue says they'll be ready for adoption after they get checked out by a veterinarian, which could be as early as Tuesday.

Volunteers at the shelter are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who dumped the puppies.

Michael says it's really sad that someone would discard of the puppies. You'll hear more of his story on NewsChannel 15 at 6 and right here on

We want to hear your thoughts about the puppies being discarded, when there are shelters in almost every community that take abandoned animals. Leave us a comment below and we may use it on NewsChannel 15.