The Fountain Inn puppy mill owner who had more than 140 dogs seized from his property on June 20 was in court today, WYFF4 reported July 26.
Dale Ferguson went before the judge to face five counts of animal cruelty, including hoarding animals and having a puppy mill. He was also charged with three counts of not displaying a rabies tag and one count of improper disposal of a dead animal.
Ferguson enter an Alford plea, which means the defendant admits sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He did not have an attorney.
According to WYFF, Ferguson stated
“We actually took them in from them so they wouldn’t be put on the side of the road.”
Ferguson said that although he took care of all of the dogs, some were from breeders and weren’t his. He claims he treated the dogs for worms and vaccinated the dogs.
Rescues who took in the neglected puppy mill dogs reported many of the dogs had flea and parasite infestations.
When questioned by the judge about why a dead animal was found in the woods, Ferguson said he didn’t know he had to properly dispose of a dead animal.
Greenville County Animal Care Services took in the more than 140 dogs. Workers there said many of the dogs had problems with their skin, flea infestations, worms, tumors and heartworms.
Roxi and Delaney, rescued by Abby’s Animal Angels had severe chemical burns, but are recovering. Another dog wasn’t so lucky, and died from chemical burns. A chow puppy rescued by Day Before The Rainbow died when the 2 month old puppy’s 2-pound body couldn’t overcome severe parasite infestation.
Ferguson was given the choice on whether to pay a $6,270 fine or go to jail for 90 days. Since he didn’t have the money to pay the fine, Ferguson was sentenced to jail.
South Carolina has some of the most lax penalties in the nation for animal cruelty. Even a $20,000 fine wouldn’t have covered expenses Greenville County Animal Care Services and local rescues had to foot, due to severe neglect.
Take a good look at the photo of Roxi. Then decide whether Ferguson’s sentence fits the crime. What do the readers believe would have been fair punishment for Ferguson?
He’ll be out of jail in three months. Sooner if Greenville county as what’s known as a work side, where prisoners get time cut from their sentence for working odd jobs for the county while incarcerated.