South Carolina Animal Rescue CEO Had 30 Dead Dogs, Cats In Her Home

Jessica Powers

The CEO of an animal rescue group in South Carolina is facing charges after police said they found the bodies of 30 decomposing cats and dogs at her home.

Caroline Dawn Pennington, 47, is known in the animal rescue community and currently serves as CEO and director of the nonprofit rescue group GROWL, the Richland County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

Police Found 28 Dogs And 2 Cats Dead In Cages In Pennington's Home

The scene of her house
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Pennington was arrested last week and charged with 30 counts of ill treatment of animals after 28 dogs and two cats were found in cages and crates in her home.

Police responded to Pennington’s home in Columbia, South Caroline last month to conduct a welfare check after they got a call saying a “smell of death” was coming from the home, the sheriff's department said.

The Animals Apparently Died In Changes Of Starvation, Dehydration

The sheriff's office discusses the case.
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Officers responded and found a "disturbing and extreme case of animal cruelty,” the release said.

"The animals had been deceased for a significant amount of time and, based on the circumstances, appeared to have died from starvation and dehydration. They were lying in their own waste and it is believed that they died in the cages and had not been moved prior to being discovered," the release said.

Pennington Went Before A Judge And Was Released On Bail

The scene of the crime.
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Pennington before a judge and was released on a $75,000 bond on the condition she wear an ankle monitor, according to ABC 15. It is not clear whether she has hired her own attorney or when she is due back in court to face the pending charges against her.

Pennington Used To Work At The Local Humane Society

An animal shelter
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Authorities said Pennington is no longer affiliated with the nonprofit GROWL. Officials said anyone who has donated money to GROWL in the last year should contact the sheriff's department. 

Pennington also previously worked for the Kershaw County Humane Society, which released a statement in response to the serious allegations against Pennington.

"A former employee was arrested by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and charged with ill treatment of animals. To be clear, these events did not occur at the Kershaw County Humane Society facility," it read. "We were unaware of the former employee’s actions and are truly shocked and heartbroken. Our dedicated staff will continue with our mission to serve the lost and homeless pets of Kershaw County."