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      Timmonsville woman admits to being cruel to two pit bulls

      Animal control officers say they got a tip to check out the living conditions of two pit bulls in Florence County, two weeks ago.

      "I went out to the location found two dogs that were extremely skinny," said Herbie Christmas.

      Christmas is the Director of Florence County Environmental Services, which includes animal control.

      He says they took the dogs from a home on Hugo Lane in Timmonsville after three attempts to make contact with the dogs' owner.

      "We fed the one dog 32 ounces of canned food and he scarfed it up in about four minutes."

      According to Christmas, one of the pit bulls was on a chain that was way to heavy for a dog that size.

      "The second tan-colored dog weighed approximately 32. 7 pounds and the chain that he was tethered to the stake with weighed 15.4 pounds. So the chain was almost half as much as he weighed."

      Tuesday, the woman responsible for the pit bulls pled guilty to animal cruelty. Christmas says the dogs actually belonged to the woman's boyfriend who left the home, but promised to come back regularly to take care of the dogs.

      "He moved out a couple of weeks before I arrived, and she just wasn't able to take care of the dogs and he didn't bother to take the dogs with him for whatever reason."

      This is the second major case Christmas has investigated this year.

      Just two weeks ago, he says a Pamplico woman pleaded guilty to 19 counts of animal care, which means she failed to provide shelter and food for her 18 horses and one pony.

      Christmas says she also pleaded guilty to four counts of animal care involving four dogs that had no water and eight counts of animal care because the dogs were improperly chained.

      Christmas explained, "None of the horses had any access to get out of the weather at all. It was just an open pasture. I think the pictures will reflect that. She had a quite a number of animals chained up in the woods, which is a violation of our new tethering ordinance. She had one pony in question in a stall with no access to any water or food at the time. "

      Christmas says it cost about $350 to feed one horse per month. He says some owners underestimate how expensive it can be to take care of a horse.

      "To say you love animals and take them home and starve them half to death those two phrases don't really go together. If you love them and want to take them home you need to take care of them. With animal collectors, animal hoarders you know people just bring the animals home and they have substandard conditions. They don't have adequate resources to take care of the animals. They don't have adequate space, especially with large animals like horses. I mean you need space. It takes quite a bit of resources to properly care for a horse."

      Christmas says the woman got to keep the horses under the condition she properly takes care of them or finds a rescue group who can afford to care for the horses.

      He says the woman's daughter turned over custody of the eight dogs to environmental services. He says three of the dogs are available for adoption at the Florence County Animal Shelter.

      The pit bulls in the Timmonsville case are being evaluated before officers can determine if they can be adopted. Christmas says this is standard procedure with any animal that shows some aggression.