Code Enforcement Officer Shoots Hundreds of Cats and Kittens
Brother Wolf Petitions for Felony Conviction of Officer; Calls for Independent Inquiry
Cats and kittens just like these were taken from the MCAS by Richardson and shot.
Marion County, SC; Asheville, NC â€“ Friday, September 9, 2016:
Marion County Code Enforcement Officer Marion RichardsonÂ has been accused of multiple counts of animal cruelty. For several months, it was believed Richardson had been removing hundreds of cats and kittens from the Marion County Animal Shelter under the pretense that he was relocating them to local farms to guard against mice. But yesterday, it was discovered that Richardson had been taking the cats to an undisclosed location and shooting them.
â€œI am horrified at this,â€ says Susan Floyd, Marion County Chapter Manager for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. â€œIn just the past month alone, I know Officer Richardson removed dozens of cats and kittens from the shelter. I knew those cats- I laid hands on every one of them. They were all friendly cats, just needing a good home. Did he just use them for target practice?â€
Floyd works daily with Marion County Animal Shelter staff to help place shelter animals into foster or permanent homes. She also helps with cleaning the shelter, assisting with medical care, socializing animals, and networking animals for transport. Just last week, when the County Shelter flooded, Floyd helped evacuate over 50 shelter animals to Brother Wolfâ€™s Thrift Store in Marion County to get them to safety.
â€œWe have a very good working relationship with the shelter staff,â€ says Floyd. â€œSome of us questioned how it could be possible that so many farmers needed so many cats.â€
Floyd says the officer has been removing cats and kittens regularly from the shelter for many months under the auspices of taking the cats to local farmers to guard granaries against mice.Â â€œI know he took several dozen cats and kittens in just the past month alone. How many more have suffered this manâ€™s cruelty?â€
â€œWe are pleased to learn that County officials are taking swift action to investigate this case,â€ says Denise Bitz, Founder and President of Brother Wolf. â€œWe are petitioning the County to charge the officer to the fullest extent of the law. South Carolina has a Felony Cruelty statute, 47-1-40 (B), that states, â€œWhoever tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or by omission or commission causes the acts to be done for any of the offenses is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment of not less than one hundred eighty days and not to exceed five years and by a fine of five thousand dollars.â€
â€œIf this is all true, then Richardson has cruelly massacred possibly many hundreds of innocent cats and kittens and lied to shelter officials to conceal his actions. That would make him a serial offender, fully aware he was breaking the law. Thatâ€™s why we are petitioning the county to seek the maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and $5,000 fine,â€ says Bitz.
â€œWe have talked to shelter workers about these allegations and they are obviously devastated. But, we have reason to believe that others in county government may have known about Richardsonâ€™s actions ongoing. Weâ€™re asking County administrators to conduct an independent inquiry to find out whether other officials knew about Richardsonâ€™s illegal activities. Had there ever been any reports about Richardson shooting animals? If so, what was the result? Was his behavior condoned by other officials?
â€œRichardson and any other officials involved should never again be allowed to serve the community in any capacity. There is a documented link between people who abuse animals,Â and the likelihood of them also abusing children and the elderly. Serial perpetrators of animal cruelty are violent sociopaths, and we believe they should be registered in a public database just like child abusers,â€ Bitz said.