BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC. (WTOC) - The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reported on Wednesday that an investigation into an injured opossum was unable to confirm that the animal was beaten with golf clubs.
A local wildlife organization said that the animal was beaten with golf clubs last week. SCDNR reports that investigators conducted multiple interviews with those involved in the rescue of the opossum, as well as a passing driver that made the initial call.
"One of the calls was, of course, that there was an attack with a golf club,” Wildlife Rehab of Greenville volunteer Susan Kilian said on Jan. 10.
Within days, the Lowcountry community rallied together online to raise over $7,000 in the opossum's name.
But questions remained, like which golf club was involved and who the witnesses were.
That driver said in a statement to SCDNR that they did not see golfers or anyone else in the area at the time. SCDNR says that an examination by a local vet was unable to verify the cause of the opossum’s injuries.
The wildlife rehab organization says they have not been able to get a hold of the rehabber that is taking care of scarlet.
"We have not been able to get in touch with her by phone text or message,” said Wildlife Rehab of Greenville Director Wendy Watson said.
But they do believe she is still being taken care of and are using the donations to pay her bills.
"We have no reason to believe that Scarlet is not getting proper care. DNR assured me that when they met the rehab or with Scarlet, that she was getting good care,” Watson said.
The group raised over $7,000 in Scarlet's name. She says no matter how Scarlet got her injuries, that money is still being used to bring her back to health and help other animals.
"The money will go to our general funds. The funds are used for medication, baby formula and feeding implements,” Watson said.
The group says despite the inconclusively of the DNR's report, they also still believe a human did this.
"So, as far as it being human cause, we cannot say if it was or was not. But we feel it was,” Watson said.
But it does not reflect poorly on the people of Hilton Head Island.
"This does not reflect on the people of Hilton Head, because we don’t know who might’ve done this,” Watson said.
SCDNR is saying the investigation is inconclusive. But they take threats to wildlife very seriously and will continue the investigation if any credible evidence comes to light.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the SCDNR’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-922-5431, or the SCDNR TIPS mobile app [available at www.dnr.sc.gov/law/OGT.html]. SCDNR will immediately follow-up on any credible information provided, and callers can remain anonymous if they prefer.