This is the story of Amara, a dog shot by her owner back in January and left to die. The reason I’ve asked permission from Michael (PoC) to cover Amara’s case is because this is the same county in South Carolina that didn’t find justice for the Julianne Westberry cats. Now Amara’s abuser is getting away with shooting her because the law has been interpreted to mean that it is legal to shoot your own dog. This is a story about animal welfare and animal rights.
I’ve written in detail with plenty of quotes, so please forgive me for the length of this article. I’ll give the readers here a list of sources following this article so you can catch up on anything I’ve missed.
Amara is a 2-year-old boxer found wandering on Mystic Cove Lane, January 28, and was reported to Anderson County Sheriff’s Office as being aggressive and underweight with sores on her face. The police incident report can be read here. She was turned over to Anderson County P.A.W.S. (the same shelter that housed the Westberry cats), and a wonderful rescue was contacted about rescuing Amara.
This poor dog is currently in the care of Boxer Butts & Other Mutts and is staying with founder Heidi Wagner, where she’s receiving around the clock care. Amara is now blind and I believe one bullet is still in her because she’s not healthy enough to undergo surgery to remove it.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting and learned from Amara’s owner that the dog was being “euthanized by shooting” because she became more and more aggressive after delivering puppies in December 2015 and eventually bit the owner’s wife. There is no medical report to back this up. So the owner decided to take his dog out to the woods and shoot her. Justice4Amara posted the following February 10 on their Facebook community page.
“She bit his wife? Where is proof? Medical records? Pictures?
He took her to a “location” euthanize her just after she gave birth? Because if the puppies had to be bottle fed, he was attempting to murder a new mother.
He shoots her 2 times in the head, checks for a pulse, she has none. So he leaves her in the “location” out in the open to rot!!!!!
Three weeks later she is located very “close proximity” to the “location” , alive from 2 bullet holes to her head and no heartbeat? Yet she survived only to be found emaciated??????”
My question, with Anderson being my hometown, is why didn’t the owner drive the 7-8 additional miles to Anderson County P.A.W.S. and ask the shelter to euthanize the dog. What didn’t that owner want P.A.W.S. to see? My guess is that she was an emaciated dog, which is considered animal cruelty according to South Carolina Animal Law § 47-1-40. Ill-treatment of animals reads
(A) A person who knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, or ill-treats an animal, deprives an animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, inflicts unnecessary pain or suffering upon an animal, or by omission or commission knowingly or intentionally causes these acts to be done, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment not exceeding ninety days or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both, for a first offense; or by imprisonment not exceeding two years or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, or both, for a second or subsequent offense
(B) A person who tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon an animal or by omission or commission causes these acts to be done, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment of not less than one hundred eighty days and not to exceed five years and by a fine of five thousand dollars.
Maj. Garry Bryant, who oversees the county’s animal-control division, said Amara’s owner “had an intent to humanely euthanize the dog.” What actually happened is he shot Amara (supposedly around January 8) where she wandered around for weeks until she ended up in someone’s yard on January 28. Amara was reported as being 20 pounds underweight (she only weighs 34 pounds). Can a boxer lose 20 pounds in 21 days? Or was she starving at the time she was shot?
Following the investigation by Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, results were turned over to the Anderson County Magistrates Office where it was decided no charges would be filed. Magistrate Mary Frances Cole did issue a media statement saying the animal-control officer who investigated the case did not make a recommendation, but “only presented evidence.” Cole stated
“If the Court finds that probable cause does not exist that a crime has been committed by a specific individual based on the evidence presented by law enforcement, the Court is prohibited by law from issuing an arrest warrant.”
Charleston attorney Stephan Futeral has written about S.C. Animal law in “Animal Law in South Carolina-Piecing It All Together.” Futeral has a call in to the magistrates office to discuss the case and will also present the case February 23 to SC Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee. Futeral stated:
“I don’t think there is any justification for what happened in this case,” Futeral said. “It is one thing to have a dog attacking you or your family and you have a gun there and pull it out and kill it. It is another to take control of the animal, and to have enough control of it that you are able take it to a location, but you decide not to take it to a shelter. Instead, you attempt to, but fail to, kill it and it suffers as a result. Our law says that you cannot be cruel, that you cannot cause pain. I think the magistrate is very, very wrong on this issue.”
Amara is fortunate to have so many fighting for her. A petition asking South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for justice can be found here.
The Anderson County Magistrates Office can be reached by phone at 864-260-4156 or by Fax at 864-260-4144. Please share Amara’s story and help us in our fight to see charges made for animal cruelty and neglect against her owner. She’s as much a victim as the Westberry cats were, living in a county that has shown time and again they don’t take animal cruelty seriously. In Amara’s case the owner hasn’t been named because he’s not being charged with a crime.
Boxer Butts & Other Mutts is asking those in support of Justice for Amara to go to the Futeral & Nelson LLC Facebook Community page and praise them for challenging SC law on animal cruelty.
Please comment on Facebook to spread the word. Please click “Also post on Facebook”. Thanks: