AWENDAW, SC (WCSC) - The remains of a dog found burned Tuesday in Awendaw will undergo a necropsy to answer questions in the animal cruelty case.
Charleston Animal Society spokesman Dan Krosse says the necropsy is expected to determine the cause of death, species and whether it was alive when its body was set on fire. The exam will also likely produce critical evidence to help in the prosecution if a crime was committed, he said.
"If it is determined that this animal was burned alive then Charleston Animal Society will make every effort to fight for justice in this absolutely heinous crime," Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore said. "This would constitute felony animal cruelty and those responsible should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Meanwhile, the reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible has increased to a total of $7,500. That figure includes a $5,000 pledge from the Humane Society of the United States, a $1,000 donation from Pet Helpers Adoption Shelter Founder and President Carol Linville, a $1,000 donation from Coastal Pain Care in North Charleston, and a $500 donation from Landrum-based Pilots N Paws founder Debi Boies.
Deputies were called to the front gate of the Center for Birds of Prey on Highway 17 North Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. after the property owner called 911 to report seeing the animal and grass around it were engulfed in flames as he approached his property, according to Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson.
"Somebody has burned a dog… it's still burning," Jim Elliot, Director of the Center for Birds of Prey, said in a 911 call to dispatchers. "I know it's got a chain on its neck from what I can tell, and I saw some kids walking away when I drove up. I don't think it's something we look like we should ignore."
Deputies say Elliot described the kids as four boys, two girls, between the ages of 12 and 15. The report states they were walking away from the scene across a field by the dirt road.