ANDERSON, SC – An Anderson County pet owner responsible for a dog found shot and left for dead last month is not facing charges.
We told you about Amara last week following public outcry for justice. Now the ruling has made a lot of those same people upset.
After the 2-year-old boxer was found blind, emaciated and with a gunshot wound to the head, her new caregiver, North Carolina rescue boxer butts and other mutts, offered a reward to find out what happened. They say she’s a sweet dog that only gets nervous around loud sounds.
“It is uncalled for. No dog deserves this,” Heidi Wagner said, when we first interviewed her about Amara.
Deputies then received a tip that lead to the dog’s former home. The owner told them he was shocked to find out the dog was alive. After not being able to find her a new home, he says he attempted to euthanize her because of aggressive behavior.
“This area for many years has been agricultural in nature and I would imagine over the last 10, 15 years that there have been lots of animals shot and buried here,” Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen said. Allen helped the county form the county’s ordinance two years ago.
The deputy presented the case to a magistrate judge who ruled that no criminal charges would be filed. The public cried for justice again. But according to county leaders, the ruling isn’t addressed in the county ordinance and falls within state law.
“As horrible as it looks, I am one of those animal people, and I hated to see that happen, it looked horrible but it is not anything a county law can cover right at this time,” Allen said. “You can’t supersede state law. It is legal to state law and that is what the magistrates will go by.” “As horrible as this current situation was, it is getting notoriety out there and that is what we need. We want people to be more aware.”
We asked the Humane Society of South Carolina, and Wayne Brennessel believes Amara’s case could fall under certain animal mistreatment charges through the state. He thinks a vet should show how long it takes to get to Amara’s emaciated condition.
The 10th Circuit Solicitors office says state law only outlines requirements for shelters on euthanasia, but there are no guidelines for pet owners.
As for how hungry Amara looked, deputies say information they gathered showed she became emaciated after the attempted euthanasia, three weeks ago before she was found. After a few months of medical attention, Amara is expected to recover.
After the case, animal experts are advising owners to find another way. Anderson County P.A.W.S. says they want to prevent more pets ending up like Amara. They believe the best option is to bring your pet to a shelter. They say there are other options for older or aggressive dogs, with training and the possibility of adoption
The organization says it is a low cost option for euthanasia, with only a fee of 10 dollars. That way you know it is euthanized the correct and most humane way.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has also sent out a recommendation for pet owners following her case. They say you should call animal control if you become concerned with a dog’s behavior or no longer want it. Here is their statement to citizens:
In the afternoon hours of January 28, 2016, a deputy assigned to the Animal Control Unit of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office responded to Mystic Cove Ln in Townville, SC in reference to a canine running at large complaint. The responding deputy located a boxer mix canine in the complainant’s back yard. The dog exhibited some aggressive behavior, had some sores on its face, was underweight and believed to be blind by the officer. The deputy transported the canine and placed it with P.A.W.S., the animal shelter for Anderson County.
At some point, P.A.W.S. placed the dog with a boxer rescue in North Carolina and she was given the name “Amara”. Once with the rescue, it was determined that the dog had been shot in the head severing the optic nerve rendering her blind. The information about the case was then disseminated to the media.
Once learning that Amara had been shot, the Sheriff’s Office began an active investigation into the incident. Acting on details provided by a citizen tip, the deputy who initially picked the dog up was able to identify and locate the owner. Through several days of investigation, the officer determined that the owner became concerned after the dog exhibited several instances of aggressive behavior towards visitors and family. After failed attempts to give the dog away and the dog biting his wife, the decision was made by the owner to euthanize the dog.
The owner provided a statement that the dog was taken to a location where the attempted euthanasia took place which was in close proximity to where the dog was located at large. The owner stated that after checking for a heartbeat and not finding one, the owner believed the dog had been successfully euthanized until seeing the case in the local media. The information given was consistent with the information provided by the citizen tipster. The best information from the investigation leads us to believe that the dog was of a healthy weight, verified by recent photos, when the attempted euthanasia occurred but the dog was not found for almost three weeks and became emaciated during that time as represented in the rescue photos.
The facts of the case were presented to a Magistrate who determined that no criminal charges in reference to the attempted euthanasia would be issued. We understand the public’s frustration with this case but until and unless the magistrate determines that a criminal warrant should be issued, we cannot proceed further with this case. We would like to remind the public that anytime a citizen becomes concerned with or simply no longer wants their dog, they can call our Animal Control unit and we will gladly pick them up and transport to our shelter.”