After neighbors complained about a “foul stench” coming from a Goose Creek, SC, home, police investigated. They found more than 40 malnourished dogs, a mix of Hounds and Beagles.
That was shocking, but it was nothing compared to what they found themselves walking through in the yard — “thousands of dog bones,” according to KSLA.com, which were strewn about the woods behind the home.
“That’s when they began to uncover the gravity of the situation,” said Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Moon.
All in all, authorities estimate that the bones of more than 200 dogs are on the property.
“It’s a terrible sight,” said Moon. “When you look at the carcasses of the animals and the bones everywhere, it’s horrific.”
Crews have made a few sweeps of the land and concede there is no way they’ve found all the bones. Yet they have more than enough evidence.
“They’ve got search teams, and they’re going back through there again and marking the bones as they find them — marking the carcases and marking the bones, because some of them have been back there a very long time,” said Moon.
How did the dogs die? Preliminary investigation points to neglect as well as murder.
“Some of them we already found do have bullet holes in their heads,” said Moon.
As for the owner of the property, 64-year-old Loney L. Garrett, he’s been charged with 43 felony counts of ill treatment of animals.
A neighbor said that animal control had visited the man four years ago,and had left without acting, which outraged the neighbor.
“There were skeletons in the ditch of dogs that had just died,” she said. “It looked like they had just been tossed to the side.”
Unbelievably, Garrett has one defender: his daughter-in-law.
“He’s not a bad person,” Diane Luckie told ABC News 4. “He’s not done anything wrong but love those animals. … This is his hobby, to hunt deer and rabbits. He enjoys everything that he does with those dogs. He has no intentions to hurt those animals.”
As for the 45 alive dogs found on the property, which Moon calls “so emaciated, just skin and bones”?
“Those are hunting dogs. They run. They carry their weight off,” Luckie said. “You don’t want no fat dog.”
Fortunately, we’re confident that no judge in his or her right mind will see it that way.