State investigating allegations of shelter workers shooting dogs

The Chesterfield County Animal Shelter, now closed while authorities investigate accusations that nearly two dozen animals were shot and killed.

The Attorney General's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division are now involved in the investigation of allegations that nearly two dozen dogs were shot and killed by Chesterfield County animal shelter employees.

Solicitor Will Rogers says SLED will conduct a complete investigation and the Attorney General's Office will prosecute if any criminal wrong doing is found. Rogers says at this point, they're trying to determine how many dogs were killed.

South Carolina law (section 47-3-420 animal euthanasia and tranquilization) allows shooting to be used as a means of euthanasia only in an emergency situation to prevent extreme suffering or in which the safety of people or other animal life is threatened or where it is considered necessary by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to eliminate or control the population of feral animals.

The Chesterfield County animal shelter is shut down as investigators look into the allegations.

A shelter volunteer claims shelter employees shot 22 dogs and buried them in a nearby landfill.

Sheriff's investigators found the remains of some dogs, and necropsies will be conducted to determine how they died.

Sheriff Sam Parker closed the shelter and placed all four animal control officers on leave.

The Humane Society of central South Carolina emailed this statement about the situation: "We have received numerous emails regarding these reports from Chesterfield, SC. Like many, we are horrified to hear that anything like this could happen. As is our practice, we will look into these reports and work with the appropriate law enforcement and legal authorities to investigate these allegations. As details are confirmed and made available, we will participate in any efforts to bring justice to those who are found guilty of committing any crimes against animals."

Faith Tyson, founder of the Southern Animal Welfare League in Florence, says the law is clear. "It's torture. The law, again, says you can't cruelly kill an animal."

Although these are still accusations and not convictions, we'd like to hear your thoughts. Should animal control officials be given the right to shoot an animal in an emergency situation as allowed by SC law?