Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The man the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office says is responsible for the recent dog killings that occurred in the International Paper Company canal on Brick Chimney Road remained in jail Thursday afternoon.
Bobby Joe McConnell, 47, of 1005 Pyatt Street, has been charged with the killing of two dogs and the attempted killing of another.
He is officially charged with three counts of Ill Treatment of Animals.
He is being held under a $15,000 bond.
McConnell is accused of trying to kill a black Lab by taping her mouth and legs and tossing her into the canal on July 2. Fortunately, people fishing in the canal heard her in the water and called for help.
The Lab was rescued and is continuing to recover at the Saint Frances Animal Center where she has been named Dara.
On July 5, two other dogs were found dead in the canal. They had been taped in the same manner.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Cuthbertson said the investigation began immediately after Dara was found by following up on tips received from concerned citizens, which led to the interviews of several witnesses.
“Investigators began looking into McConnell for being responsible for the deaths and attempted death after witnesses told investigators he made statements to them about how he was going to dispose of the dogs,” Cuthbertson said.
As the investigation continued, investigators interviewed witnesses who provided substantial information of McConnell making statements that he took the dogs off.
In addition, investigators learned Dara belonged to his daughter, one of the deceased dogs belonged to his mother-in-law and it is unknown at this time who owned the other deceased dog.
“Not only did witnesses provide information about statements made by McConnell, some also provided information which allowed investigators to establish a time line of McConnell’s whereabouts and actions just prior to the July 2nd discovery of Dara and after the discovery of the two deceased dogs,” said Cuthbertson.
“All of this information combined with additional evidence compiled by investigators led to the arrest of McConnell.”
Sheriff Lane Cribb said he feels the immediate release of information through the media helped lead to the arrest.
“I would like to thank everyone who assisted during this investigation which allowed my investigators to conduct a thorough investigation and bring justice for three helpless and harmless dogs,” he said.
Wendy Goude, director of the Saint Frances Humane Society, said she has been emotionally overwhelmed since the ordeal began and was glad to hear an arrest was made.
“I am so glad the Sheriff’s Office came through. I had faith in them all along,” she said.
When asked about McConnell, Goude said if he is responsible, she hopes he receives the maximum sentence under the law.
Goude said McConnell is facing up to 15 years in prison.
As for Dara, Goude said she is doing “wonderful” and the head wound she received by being hit with a blunt object is almost healed.
The dog underwent exploratory surgery last week.
“The masses taken from Dara were found to be not cancerous. Dara is in great health and being spoiled by the staff,” Goude reported Thursday.
This case is still currently under investigation as sheriff’s investigators continue to compile evidence against McConnell,” Cuthbertson said.
After the news of the arrest broke Wednesday, the Georgetown Times Facebook page was bombarded with postings from readers — most expressing hopes of an eye-for-an-eye punishment.
“He deserves to have the same thing done to him,” Jennifer Dixon wrote.
“Duct tape his arms and throw him in the prison shower,” wrote Sara Millar.
“I cannot believe that someone could be that hateful to a poor animal. Let him rot in jail,” wrote Megan Powell.
There were others who took objection to the strong comments.
“[H]e has children on here who are just sweet kids,” wrote Lu Ann Cannon. “All we say hurts them. They are precious and should not be hurt by something their dad has done.”
Goude said she understands the anger from the public but does not agree with most of the comments.
“I understand the sentiments but we do not want to sink to the level of the person who did this,” she said.
“He is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. He deserves his day in court. It’s up to a jury and judge to convict and punish. It’s not up to us.”
By Scott Harper