McClellanville dog put down; driver may face cruelty charges


By Anthony Miller  bio | email
By Bob Behanian  bio | email

MCCLELLANVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Only a day after being struck by a car and then hit with a machete, Dingo was put to sleep by his owner, who had only hours before posted $25,000 bail for an assault with intent to kill charge a a result of his attack on the driver.

Now the driver of the car, 57-year-old William Youngman, is sitting in a hospital bed at MUSC recovering from a skull fracture, bruising to the brain and multiple orbital fractures. His injuries were the result of being hit repeatedly with a hammer by 42-year-old James Brian Kennedy, Dingo's owner.

While Mr. Youngman is out of the woods medically, he may not be out of the woods legally. Sheriff's officials said Friday he may face a round of animal cruelty charges for his actions when he leaves the hospital.

The ordeal started Thursday evening when Mr. Youngman hit Dingo with his car on Tupelo Road in McClellanville, and according to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, that's when Mr. Youngman made the decision to put the dog down.

"He looked in his rearview mirror and saw that the dog couldn't move and he got out of his truck and wanted to, as he put it, put the dog out of his misery," said Jim Bush, the executive director of the Charleston Animal Society. "He then took a machete and started to try to put the dog out of its misery."

Family and friends say he was not a violent man, though.

"He would never do anything brutal or violent to hurt anyone or anything.  He was just trying to act in the most humane way that was possible at the time," said his daughter, Holland Youngman.

As Dingo lay in a ditch, Kennedy took action, rushing to defend his dog. The incident report says he took the machete and a hammer from Youngman and hit him with the hammer.

Kennedy was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill. Meanwhile, his dog was fighting for his life. "We expected that we would be euthanizing him tonight for humane reasons," said veterinarian Sarah Boyd.

Thursday night Dingo found himself in the hands of a few people he could trust.

Friday morning, Kay Hyman with the Charleston Animal Society, said the dog did have several injuries that were severe but the family, not the animal shelter, would be making the decision to euthanize the dog.

In bond court Friday, it was Mr. Youngman's family that spoke for him while he recuperated at the medical university's hospital. "But that man was trying to kill my father.  Why else would you beat someone in the head," said Ms. Youngman.

"This case is about my father being brutally beaten multiple times in his back and in his head. We all feel horrible about the dog; he wouldn't want an animal to suffer," she said.

There is no clear law stating what a driver should do if they hit an animal.

Officials with the Charleston Animal Society say they only thing you should do is pull out your phone. "If you have the unfortunate event of hitting an animal, the first thing you do is call the authorities," said Bush. "You don't want to take the law into your own hands."

By Friday night, Dingo was put to sleep. Mr. Youngman, MUSC reports, is in fair condition.

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