County issues 7 citations to owner of burned, malnourished horses
The owner of four malnourished horses, one of which was burned chemically, received four citations for violating Berkeley County Animal Control Ordinances.
The owner of the horses, Dwight N. Benjamin McCloud, of 1181 Old Diary Road, Summerville are as follows:
Three counts of failure to provide care or treatment for a diseased or injured animal; three counts of failure to provide humane treatment to animals; and one count of failure to provide adequate food and water.
That’s according to documents released by the Berkeley County Attorney’s office Thursday morning and a statement released Thursday afternoon from Berkeley County Planning Director Eric Greenway.
The charges are pending and will be processed through the appropriate legal channels, according to Greenway.
Penalties for each charge include a fine of up to $1092.50 (including fees) or up to 30 days in jail.
“The Berkeley County Animal Control Department responded to a complaint about alleged undernourished and injured horses in Summerville,” Greenway said in an email. “The Department conducted an investigation and has charged the owner for alleged violations of the Berkeley County Animal Control Ordinance.
“The Berkeley County Animal Control Department is concerned about the welfare of these and all animals in Berkeley County, and the officers appreciate all the interest and comments of support this story has generated for stronger animal control enforcement practices.
“We continue to closely monitor the health and welfare of the other two horses on the property and will continue to do so until we are assured those animals are well and safe.”
Two of the horses remain at the home in the Jedburg area of Berkeley County.
On March 1 two other horses were taken to Meggett by horse rescue group called LEARN (Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network), led by director Elizabeth Steed.
“Animal control asked them to relinquish them to us because they were suffering,” Steed said. “I asked to take the other two and they said he couldn’t relinquish them.”
According to Steed, some kind of toxic chemical – kerosene or possibly bleach – apparently had been applied to one of the horses, causing the burning.
Steed said that such chemicals are an outdated method to cure a disease known as rain rot, from which the horses also suffer.
Steed took the burned horse to a veterinarian and is getting it the proper medication in hopes of saving it, she said. The rain rot wasn’t as big of an issue as the starvation, according to Steed.
Steed said after the initial incident Berkeley County Animal Control gave the owner two more weeks to get his other two horses into better shape.
“We’re a private group,” Steed said of LEARN. “Nobody here gets paid. We have 29 horses in our care. In this economy it is difficult to support these animals and find good homes to adopt them out.”
She said three years ago 47 horses were seized in Colleton County and the bill was $87,000.
In this case, a concerned citizen placed a call, according to Steed.
One local horse expert was asked about the use of kerosene on the animal.
“There’s so many treatments out there,” said Tracey Sawyer, president of HOPE (Helping Our Precious Equines) Acres Rescue in Moncks Corner, speaking of rain rot. “That’s harsh. That’s unfortunate. I hate to hear that. If we can help, she should call us.”
Sawyer said she and Steed have talked about partnering because Sawyer only has 15 acres.
Sawyer said Steed can take care of more horses than she can.
“I’ve got six at the moment,” Sawyer said. “We just had one adopted out Friday afternoon. It went to its new forever home.”
Donations for the care of the horses may be sent to LEARN, P.O. Box 619, Ravenel, SC 29470. For more information on LEARN, visit www.learnhorserescue.com or call (843) 991-4879.