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Police discover 30 dead animals at South Carolina Animal Rescue CEO’s home


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A South Carolina animal rescue CEO has been arrested after police found 30 dead animals inside his home while responding to a complaint about a “smell of death” coming from the residence.

GROWL CEO and director Caroline Dawn Pennington, 47, was arrested on Friday and charged with 30 counts of animal abuse after police discovered 28 dogs and two cats decomposing in crates and cages at the inside his house.

Caroline Dawn Pennington, 47, has been charged with 30 counts of animal abuse.
(Richland County Sheriff’s Office)

According to deputies, the animals had been dead for a significant period of time depending on the level of decomposition and appear to have died of starvation and dehydration. The animals were lying in their own waste when the situation was discovered.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department said investigators believe the animals were neglected and left alone in their cages for seven to nine months before they died.

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Richland County police found the dead animals on May 22, when they arrived for a welfare check after a neighbor called to report a “death smell” coming from the house.

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Police discover 30 dead animals at South Carolina Animal Rescue CEO’s home

30 dead animals have been found inside the home of an animal rescue CEO in South Carolina.
(Richland County Sheriff’s Department)

Sheriff Leon Lott said it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he had ever seen.

“It’s appalling and heartbreaking,” he said, according to WYFF. “She was someone who was tasked by the community to care for these animals and find homes for them. She betrayed that trust, and she betrayed the trust of those innocent animals who relied on her.”

Pennington was also employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society, but the organization revealed she would no longer work for them.

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Police discover 30 dead animals at South Carolina Animal Rescue CEO’s home

FILE – Police lights are on top of a cruiser.
(FoxNews)

“We were unaware of the former employee’s actions and are truly shocked and sorry,” the Kershaw County Humane Society said in a statement. “Our dedicated staff will continue our mission to serve lost and homeless pets in Kershaw County.”

Richland County Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Department worked to remove the animals from the home.

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Pennington is also being investigated for potential fraud, as GROWL is a registered non-profit organization. Anyone who has made documented donations to the organization in the past year is asked to contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

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