Georgetown man pleads guilty to dumping dogs, sentenced to 10 years

McConnell in bond court last year (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) --{}The man accused of binding the legs and muzzle of Dara, a black-lab, and leaving her to die in a canal, has been sentenced to ten years in prison.

Bobby Joe McConnell pleaded guilty to two counts of ill treatment of animals in a courtroom Monday.

"I said I was guilty since day one," he said.

Dara has been cared for at Saint Frances Animal Center since July 2 when she was found by a person fishing in the canal. On July 5, two other dogs were found at canal, but were dead.

Solicitor Ricky Todd said only one dog was found duct tape "in the same fashion" as Dara.

"It was established it was not connected in anyway other than being at the same scene," Todd said.

Judge Hyman called McConnell's actions "the act of an evil heart."

The two dogs belonged to McConnell's mother-in-law and daughter and stayed in the backyard.

Public defender Ronald Hazzard said McConnell was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005 and was on medications and was under the influence of alcohol when he "committed the ghastly act."

Director of the board for Saint Frances Animal Center, Bradley Floyd asked the maximum sentence and that the non-profit reap half of the $10,000 in fines McConnell would have to pay, plus be reimbursed for Dara's care, that totaled $1,872.40.

The Judge also granted Saint Frances custody of Dara.

"We were there when she was brought in and we actually are the ones who took the duct tape from off her feet and it was very heart breaking. The dog did not deserve this," executive director Wendy Goude said.

After the sentence was handed down, Floyd said they are thrilled by the judge's sentence and that they do plan to figure who is responsible for the third dog found dead in the canal.