BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Goose Creek man has been charged with multiple felony counts of ill treatment of animals after investigators discovered the remains of over 200 dogs at a home on Howe Hall Rd. On Tuesday, his bond was set at $21,500 in Berkeley County.
Officials have charged 64-year-old Loney L. Garrett, the owner of the property, with 43 counts of ill treatment of animals. Forty-five dogs rescued from the home are being rehabilitated at the SPCA and are expected to survive.
According to investigators, 45 dogs in "very poor condition" were rescued from the home on Sunday.
Doc Williams SPCA Executive Director Marcia Atkinson says the surviving dogs showed signs of malnourishment and they have parasites. The dogs are a mix of walker hounds, beagles, and hounds.
While authorities originally said it did not appear the dogs would survive, Atkinson says they will most likely all recover with basic care and some TLC. She said they could possibly face lingering health issues.
The dogs will remain at Doc Williams SPCA until they are nursed back to health.
For the last week, calls came into the Sheriff's Office and Berkeley County Animal control complaining about bad odors and signs of animal abuse at the home on Howe Hall Road.
It wasn't until Monday that deputies finally got a search warrant to get onto the property to investigative the claims. Investigators ended up spending the afternoon picking up "thousands of dog bones" in the woods behind the property.
"That's when they began to uncover the gravity of the situation," said Berkeley Co. Sheriff's Office spokesman Dan Moon.
The initial case of animal cruelty turned into the excavation of a graveyard.
"It's a terrible sight," said Moon. "When you look at the carcasses of the animals and the bones everywhere... It's horrific."
The owner of the property, Loney Garrett, was taken into custody Monday afternoon in connection to the incident.
Before crews left Monday night they made one more swept of the property. Moon says there is no way they found all of the bones over the last two days but they collected more than enough as evidence.
"They've got a search teams and they're going back through there again and marking the bones as they find them - marking the carcases and marking the bones because some of them have been back there a very long time," said Moon.
Although deputies say most of the dogs died because of neglect, others were killed outright.
"We've already found [some to] have bullet holes in their heads," says Moon.
A neighbor says this isn't the first time animal control has been called to the home.
She says she personally called at least four years ago for the same issue.
"There was skeletons in the ditch of dogs that had just died," she said. "It looked like they had just been tossed to the side."
The woman who did not want to be identified says animal control interviewed the homeowner and returned to tell her their findings.
"Whenever they got finished talking to them they came back and told us that they weren't doing anything wrong," she said.
Volunteers with Animal Rescue & Relief of the Carolinas are trying to save as many of the 45 dogs they can. The ARR group took the surviving dogs from the property Sunday.
The Doc Williams SPCA is accepting donations to go towards the benefit of the rescued dogs. If you would like to help, visit their website for more information.