A 47-year-old CEO of an animal rescue group in South Carolina has been arrested after police found the decomposing bodies of 28 dogs and 2 cats in crates and cages in her home in Columbia.
A South Carolina animal rescue group CEO has been arrested after the bodies of 28 dogs and 2 cats were found decomposing at her home.
47-year-old CEO, Caroline Dawn Pennington is a well-known individual within the animal rescue community and is the CEO and director of the non-profit rescue group GROWL, the Richland County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Officials confirmed that Pennington was arrested on Friday and has been charged with 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals after 30 decomposing bodies were found in crates and cages in her home.
Police attended Pennington's Columbia home on May 22 to carry out a welfare check after receiving a call saying that a "smell of death" was coming from the property.
The Sheriff's office said that when officers entered Ms Pennington's home they "found a disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty."
They added that the officers were met with decomposing animals that had been dead for a "significant amount of time" and appeared to have died from "starvation and dehydration".
Officials said: "They were lying in their own waste and it is believed that they died in the cages and had not been moved prior to being discovered."
The sheriff's department removed the animals with assistance from local animal control. It is still unclear why Pennington wasn't arrested until Friday.
Richland County Sheriff, Leon Lott, described the discovery as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he had ever seen.
He said: "It's appalling and it's heartbreaking. This is someone who was entrusted by the community to care for these animals and find them homes.
"She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of these innocent animals who relied on her."