Still no trial date set in Berkeley County dog abuse case

By Ava Wilhite

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) A year has passed since the remains of more than 200 dead dogs were discoveredon the property of Loney Garrett. Forty-five dogs were rescued and all but twohave been adopted.

"It was hard to hear about the case but then when I actuallyhad one of the dogs it hit home a little harder and it is heartbreaking,"said Tina Russo-Kinney.

The moment she saw Buddy in a photo she knew it was adoption atfirst sight.

"He was rescued and was severely underweight, he had an issuewith his eye and his eye had to be removed, he doesn't seem to mind," saidRusso-Kinney. {}

Officials say Buddy was among the dogs discovered in poor healthon Garrett's property in February 2013. Garrett was charged with 43 counts offelony animal cruelty. Garrett posted bond shortly after the arrest and iswaiting for trial.

"Unfortunately it really does take a long time for thesecases to be adjudicated, sometimes several years," said Kim Kelly, South Carolina Statedirector for the Humane Society of the United States.

Kelly says the Garrett case met requirements for felony charges,but often animal cruelty cases are charged as misdemeanors.

"Often times those who are accused of animal cruelty facepretty minimal fines or jail time in these large scale cruelty offenses and itisn't a really strong deterrent," said Kelly. {}{}

Kelly says proposed legislation would increase the fines and jailtime for perpetrators and is currently in front of the house judiciarycommittee.{}

Animal Rescue and Relief turned over all their evidence in thecase to the Berkeley County solicitor'soffice. A trial date has not been set.{}