June 15, 2018
Donna Keller Lee, 70, was arraigned this week on 39 counts of ill treatment of animals in connection with 133 animals that were removed from her property in the Effingham community back in November, according to officials with the Twelfth Circuit Solicitor's Office.
37 of the charges are felonies and the other two are misdemeanors. VARR Executive Director and Animal Forensic Specialist stated, “This case is a major step in the right direction for the Florence community and the state of South Carolina.“
The defendant was arraigned on June 12 and was released on a $15,000 bond.
Valiant Animal Rescue and Relief (VARR) worked with Florence County Environmental Services on the case. The animals, which were mostly small breed dogs, were taken into custody in late November of 2017. Many of the dogs had severe health issues including broken jaws, internal and external parasites, and malnutrition. Many had severe matting of fur that needed to be removed and many had to have complicated surgeries from years of breeding.
The animals were sent to an emergency shelter set up by VARR in Charleston in December so each of the animals could be processed and evaluated. During this time approximately 100 of the animals were been placed in foster homes while the remaining were transferred to other local rescues. Some of the animals are still being treated for issues like dental disease and heartworms under Valiant’s care, while the rest of the animals are now in forever adoptive homes. All the animals have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.
Michelle Reid urges that all flea markets in South Carolina, starting with Florence County, ban the sale of animals at their markets.
Valiant is funded strictly from donations and is asking the public for help in raising funds to cover the medical needs of these animals which has exceeded more than $50,000 over standard rescue costs like spay and neuter and vaccines. Donations can be made online at WWW.PAYPAL.ME/VALIANTRESCUE or VENMO.COM/VALIANTANIMALRESCUE or can be mailed to PO Box 13477, Charleston, SC 29422