Pets left outside in freezing temperatures, owner facing charges

Published: Jan. 4, 2018 at 8:59 PM EST
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Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

(News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC 26 News at 7)

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Outside a home on Newberry Street in Aiken sits an empty dog crate surrounded by dog dishes left behind after a puppy froze to death here two nights ago.

"It’s ridiculous that this happened. Crates covered up with plastic is not going to work. It’s not near as thick as a doghouse and when there's nothing in them at all but the ground, they're going to die in this," said Robin Mitchell, founder of Saving the Chain Dogs.

Animal advocates Robin Mitchell and Annette Vanderwalt say situations like this can be avoided if neighbors call in if the temperatures go cold and the barking doesn't stop.

Annette Vanderwalt, founder of Paws Onward said, "We are appealing to the public to stand up and speak up. Don’t walk away. Walking away means that animal is going to die."

But one question remains, why is the dog's owner Robyn Bacon facing charges but not incarceration?

Lieutenant Karl Odenthal of the Aiken Department of Public Safety says the single mother called for police to check on her two kids and that’s when they found the dogs.

"What is better for this family? Is it better to incarcerate the mother right there and then try to find placement for the children? There’s a lot of things that go into that decision."

That doesn't mean she won't face punishment since it is misdemeanor charges jail time or up to a thousand dollars in fines.

But why was Bacon able to get another dog after facing malicious injury to property or animal charges back in September?

While groups like the SPCA do extensive background checks Lt. Odenthal says that won't stop people from getting animals.

"It doesn't even have to be just within the Aiken area. They can go outside this area and adopt an animal and they would have no knowledge of that person's history. How many times have you seen 'puppies free to a good home'? How significant are they really checking to see if there is a good home?"

Keeping track of all the smaller animal groups is the hardest part. Bigger groups check the history of everyone that comes through. That's not the same, as say, your neighbor giving away a litter of puppies.

He says if you're suspicious of those trying to adopt give a call a trusted animal organization to make sure your cats or dogs end up in a good home.

But Lt. Odenthal says until more people do that there are still chances things like this could happen again.