Update September 9 7p.m.: According to a report by WYFF4 News, 14 cats were found dead and Richardson has been fired. The County has requested the case be turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
A tragic situation is unfolding in Marion County, South Carolina where Marion County Code Enforcement Officer, Marion Richardson, has been accused of removing and shooting hundreds of cats from the Marion County Animal Shelter.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue posted the following statement by Founder and president Denise Bitz on their website.
“We are pleased to learn that County officials are taking swift action to investigate this case. We are petitioning the County to charge the officer to the fullest extent of the law.”
Richardson has been accused of multiple counts of animal cruelty after removing hundreds of cats and kittens under the pretense they were being located to local farms as working cats (mainly to kill rats). It was discovered Thursday he had been taking the cats to an undisclosed location, where he was shooting them.
In the past month Officer Richardson removed dozens of cats and kittens, who were likely used as target practice. According to Susan Floyd, Marion County Chapter Manager for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, all of those cats were friendly and just needed a good home. Some involved in saving the shelter cats even questioned why farms would need so many cats.
South Carolina Animal Law Felony Cruelty statute 47-1-40 (B) 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.”
Shelter workers at Marion County Animal Shelter are devastated about the allegations and the fate of hundreds of cats. Brother Wolf is also concerned as to whether any reports were ever made about Richardson shooting cats, and did any officials know of his behavior. Bitz stated
“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.”
Updates will be made on the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Facebook page as they become available.
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