Pet Rescue CEO arrested for animal cruelty after ‘appalling’ discovery in her home

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The CEO of a non-profit animal shelter has been arrested for animal cruelty in South Carolina after authorities discovered an ‘appalling’ and ‘heartbreaking’ number of dead animals inside her home .

Caroline Dawn Pennington, 47, was arrested and charged with 30 counts of animal abuse, FOX29 reported.

Richland County police say they discovered the bodies of 28 dogs and two cats inside the Pennington home last month after they were called to investigate a “smell of death” apparently coming from the home.

Authorities told the broadcaster they found the animals in cages and the causes of death appeared to be dehydration and starvation. They added that the animals seemed to have been there for a long time.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott described it as “one of the worst cases of animal cruelty” he had ever seen.

Pennington was the CEO and director of a nonprofit animal rescue by the name of GROWL. She also worked at the Kershaw County Humane Society, the Columbia Post and Courier newspaper reported.

Sheriff Lott said in a statement that the case was “appalling and heartbreaking”.

“He is someone who has been commissioned by the community to care for these animals and find homes for them,” Lott said. “She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of those innocent animals who relied on her.”

Investigators are asking anyone who has made a donation to the Pennington shelter, GROWL, in the past year to contact the sheriff’s office.

Pennington’s attorney, Ally Benevento, said “mental health issues” were involved in what happened.

In a statement provided to NBC affiliate WIS-TV Benevento said: “About 1 in 4 adults in this country have a diagnosable mental health disorder and so often mental health issues manifest from very disturbing way.”

“It is difficult for anyone to understand how anyone could let what happened in this case happen, but there are significant and serious mental health issues at play that Ms. Pennington faces,” continued Benevento’s statement.

“Everyone at KCHS is very distraught and appalled,” Jamie Woodington, chairman of the board of the Humane Society, told WIS-TV.

Woodington added that Pennington resigned from his job there last week and, to their knowledge, none of their animals were involved.

Pennington is currently being held on $75,000 bail at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Law and Crime reported.

The case has not yet been tried in court.

The left cover image of this article was used for illustrative purposes only.

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