Marion County Code Enforcement Officer fired after 14 cats found dead; hundreds believed shot and killed
A tragic situation is unfolding this week, this time coming out of Marion County, South Carolina where Marion County Code Enforcement Officer Marion Richardson has been accused of multiple counts of animal cruelty.
Denise Bitz, Founder and President of Brother Wolf, posted on their website Friday
“We are pleased to learn that County officials are taking swift action to investigate this case,” says Denise Bitz, Founder and President of Brother Wolf. “We are petitioning the County to charge the officer to the fullest extent of the law. If this is all true, then Richardson has cruelly massacred possibly many hundreds of innocent cats and kittens and lied to shelter officials to conceal his actions. That would make him a serial offender, fully aware he was breaking the law. That’s why we are petitioning the county to seek the maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and $5,000 fine.”
Richardson took 14 cats from the Marion County Animal Shelter on Wednesday, stating he was taking them to a farm to be used in vermin control. The cats were later found dead. Richardson has been fired for his actions by County Administrator Tim Harper.
Unfortunately, Richardson has been taking cats for several months now, and it’s believed hundreds of cats and kitten may have been shot to death. All of these were friendly cats who only needed a place to go so they wouldn’t be killed at the shelter. Did he just use them as target practice? There were some who wondered why a farm would need that many cats, but no one thought this would be the outcome.
Marion County Chapter Manager for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Susan Floyd said they work closely with Marion County Animal Shelter. They’re horrified at what has happened. Floyd stated
“I know he took several dozen cats and kittens in just the past month alone. How many more have suffered this man’s cruelty?”
South Carolina has a Felony Cruelty statute, 47-1-40 (B), that states, “Whoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done for any of the offenses 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.””
This situation is made worse in that some county officials may have known about Richardson shooting the cats.
Thom Berry confirmed the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has been asked to conduct an investigation at the request of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Solicitor’s Office. He was an employee of the sheriff’s department before taking the job of Code Enforcement Officer.