The Chesterfield County, South Carolina animal shelter has been shut down and its four animal control officers have been placed on leave, after allegations emerged that they may have shot dogs to death and dumped them in a landfill.
WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina broke the story over the weekend. It reported that a volunteer at the shelter, Debbie Farhi, contacted the station last Friday after she said she learned that shelter employees shot 22 dogs and buried them in a landfill.
Farhi said she went to the landfill and started digging, finding the bodies of two dogs. That's when she contacted the station.
"Knowing and not doing (anything) about it really would've bothered me for the rest of my life," she said.
WSOC reported on Monday that the remains of six dogs have so far been found. Three of them will be autopsied to determine how they died, if they were sick, and possibly who shot them.
Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker told the station that he thought the shelter was using lethal injection to euthanize dogs and cats. "(Shooting them) is not proper. That is not by policy."
Parker said if the investigation turns up evidence that shooting the dogs was a criminal act, his office will not investigate any further because of a conflict of interest.
"I'll have to call in an outside agency. It wouldn't be fair to us, or the public. But we're going to do the right thing," he said.