News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Mar. 4, 2014
WAGENER, S.C. (WRDW) -- An Aiken County man is behind bars facing a felony charge after allegedly shooting and killing his two dogs.
The Aiken County Sheriff's Office responded to Eagerton Road, outside the Town of Wagener, Monday after receiving a tip about gunfire.
According to an incident report, 83-year-old Edward Smith told officers that Department of Social Services told him that in order for his wife to live at home, the dogs had to go. He then admitted he shot and killed the animals.
"It was emotionally draining," says an anonymous neighbor who heard the gunfire. "It was pitiful, and there's nothing we could do, because we were afraid."
According to the report, Smith says he shot one on the back porch and another inside the home. Smith reportedly told deputies that he used multiple round to kill the first dog.
"While he was shooting the second [dog], he ran out of bullets then tried to use less than lethal bullets with negative results," the report reads. "[Smith] stated, at this time, the animal was badly injured, still alive, and running around the residence."
Neighbors say they were terrorized by the howls of the crying pet.
"It tears you up. You don't like to hear or see any animal hurt like that," one neighbor says.
The responding officer arrested Smith and transported him to Aiken County Detention Center, where he has since been charged with a felony count of Ill Treatment of Animals. Smith was not granted bond on Tuesday. He is being held for a mental screening.
While on scene, Smith told officers the animals were not sick or dying, his reasons to shoot were solely based on what South Carolina Department of Social Services told him.
A spokeswoman with DSS says Smith's explanation isn't true.
"The Department of Social Services doesn't address issues related to pets," the spokeswoman says in a statement. "We provide human services and would never advise someone to destroy a pet."
Neighbors News 12 talked to say Smith could have handled the situation in a different manner.
"If you're needing some assistance, just call us. You call us, and then we'll refer you to animal control or we can also have animal control respond out there with us," says Captain Eric Abdullah with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.