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South Carolina Animal Control officer fired after leaving dog in someone’s yard

<i>WHNS</i><br/>Weeks ago
WHNS
Weeks ago

By Kennedi Harris

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    PENDELTON South Carolina (WHNS) — Weeks ago, an Anderson County woman complained that an animal control officer lost her dog. After police launched an investigation Tuesday, we learned the officer was fired after lying about where he took the dog on May 8th.

“We call her ‘Methuselah,’ she’s so old now that was her nickname,” Nancy Lee and Andrea Moore laughed, thinking about their chihuahua Minnie.

They rescued Minnie years ago. Blind and facing kidney failure, they wanted to make sure her last years were happy ones.

“She loves going to the beach. We have pictures of her at the beach. We really just tried to give her a life of luxury,” said Lee.

Caring for Minnie became a part of their daily routine, until earlier this month when she wandered out of the yard.

“We’re frantically looking because we know she can’t get far because she’s so old,” explained Lee.

They later learned the dog was picked up on the side of the road by a woman driving by, who turned her over to a Pendleton Animal Control Officer. According to animal controls’ initial statement from the officer, after attempting to drop the dog off at a vocal vet, which was closed, he placed the dog in a temporary foster home.

“We were like, thank you God, he’s got the dog, we know she’s safe, like we are relieved,” said Lee. “Only 13 minutes later for him to call us back and say, ‘I’m so sorry I have bad news.’”

According to the officers’ first statement to officials, the dog had escaped from the foster home’s fence and was again gone.

“Now, I’m really getting sick, I’m like something is not right. Why do we keep getting all these lies? Just tell us where our dog is,” said Lee,

Shortly after, Pendleton Police launched an investigation. Using search dogs to track Minnie’s scent and security footage to track the officer’s movements, they found the officer’s story didn’t add up.

“We’ve posted those [flyers] everywhere in hopes that if someone was driving by East Queen Street, maybe they picked up Minnie. That could be possible,” she said.

Investigators began to search on Crouch Drive, where the officer claimed the foster family lived. The trail ended at a cattle fence on Scott Circle, about a 6-minute drive away. Surveillance footage shows the officer leaving town hall with dog food and returning a few minutes later. After a second interview, the officer admitted to lying about the foster family, saying he believed the dog was stolen and that he’d get in trouble for receiving a stolen dog. So he gave her food and left Minnie at a residence on Crouch Drive, hoping the homeowner would find her and take her in.

Lee and Moore continue the search for Minnie and push for better animal control policies.

“Whatever we have to do to make sure this insanity, this stress, will never happen to anyone else,” said Lee.

The town of Pendleton apologized for the officer’s actions and asked anyone with information on Minnie’s whereabouts to come forward. Call Pendleton Police Department at 864- 646- 9409. Or call Minnie’s owners at 864 -309- 1179

Lee and Moore are also asking the community to support local animal shelters, like PAWS of Anderson County.

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