Authorities in the Charleston, South Carolina, area are searching for as many as six youths they believe are behind the torture and death of a dog earlier this week in the town of Awendaw.
On Tuesday at approximately 5 p.m. deputies responded to the Center for Birds of Prey after receiving a 911 call that a dog had been set on fire.
“Somebody has burned a dog…it’s still burning,” reported the caller, the director of the Center for Birds of Prey. “I know it’s got a chain on its neck from what I can tell, and I saw some kids walking away when I drove up.”
The director had driven to the center and found the dog and the grass around it in flames. The dog was already dead.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze and, according to the sheriff’s report, the dog had a chain wrapped around it’s muzzle, body and legs. The report stated “the canine was dragged by the tight-fitting chains down the road and then set on fire,” according to The Post and Courier.
Early reports suggest the dog was brutally tortured and killed by as many as six children. Authorities described them as two black girls and four black boys between the ages of 12 and 16.
The owner of the dog has not been identified.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of those individuals responsible for the heinous crime. The Pet Helpers Adoption Shelter in James Island, South Carolina has contributed an additional $1,000 to the reward, bringing the total to $6,000.
According to a statement released by The HSUS, it is well documented that youth who commit acts of cruelty toward animals are likely to commit violence against humans as adults. Kimberly Kelly, South Carolina’s state humane society director is quoted as saying, ““It’s especially alarming that this depraved act may have been committed by children. We hope this reward will incentivize someone to come forward so that justice can be served, hopefully including counseling.”
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crimestoppers at 843-554-1111 or Charleston County Animal Control Office at 843-529-5319.