Johnston, SC resident Callie Abel, 54, was arrested by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday morning after they seized nearly 300 animals. She was taken into custody on seven counts of ill treatment of animals, with more charges likely to follow. Sheriff Adell Dobey cited it as an ongoing investigation.
The Humane Society and Animal Rescue volunteers teamed with the Sheriff’s Office to conduct the raid on the puppy mill. Once the scene was cleared, the Humane Society began inspecting animals and tracking which kennels they would be taken to. Each will be given complete medical examinations to determine which of them can be saved.
Taken from the property were over 200 dogs, dozens of chickens, ducks and geese, and nine horses.
Sheriff Dobey stated that his office had received numerous complaints about Abel, who was selling dogs online, but most were about noise. The property had been inspected in 2009, but everything was up to code. More recently, an undercover investigation brought enough evidence for a judge to issue the warrants for a raid. What officials found was horrendous.
Ashes and skeletal remains littered the property. Abel claimed they were deer bones, but veterinarians ascertained they came from small animals.
Property and house conditions were deplorable. The trash-choked house was scattered with feces. Kennels were strewn about the yard, and many of the water containers, some of them children’s wading pools, were green and muddy. The conditions of the dogs ranged from sickly to healthy, but dirty. Most of the dogs appeared well-fed, but were filthy and had matted fur.
Kim Kelly, State Director for the Humane Society, USA, had been working in tandem with the Sheriff’s department to have associates purchase dogs from Abel. Many of them were ill, suffering from skin, eye and ear infections, as well as diseases. This information led to seven arrest warrants.
“We’re still working on the investigation and we’re going to file for more warrants,” asserted Chief Investigator Randy Doran.
Sheriff Dobey was thankful for the work done by the Humane Society, whose records will be used as evidence in the case. “They have been a tremendous help,” he said.
State Senator Jake Knox and Edgefield County Councilman Rodney Ashcraft are both pushing for stricter laws on animal cruelty. While Ashcraft says pet owners who choose to breed their pair of dogs are fine, those in the puppy-breeding business must be “held to a higher standard.”
Abel was released on personal recognizance bonds by Tuesday afternoon.