Men Facing Animal Cruelty Charges After Floods - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/05/05

Men Facing Animal Cruelty Charges After Floods

For the past week, we've seen flood waters force people from their homes all across our region. Last Thursday, we showed you a herd of horses removed by animal control.

It happened in Tattnall County, outside Reidsville along the Ohoopee River. We talked with the horse owner who says the county took his animals for no reason.

Ray Aiken and his family lost more than a driveway on the riverbank during floods last week. Horses and dogs that lived at his son-in-law's farm are also gone.

"I'm not allowed to go near them and neither is my son-in-law and I think that's wrong," he said. "Just flat wrong."

Last Thursday, a WTOC camera covering the flood witnessed the county's seizure of the family's 11 horses and three dogs from the property. (See "Flood Shelters Set Up in Reidsville" video link to the side.) Animal control workers said then the animals were about to drown.

"Belly deep standing in water, eating hay in the water running on their sides," said Loretta Boyett with Tattnall Co. Animal Control.

But Aiken argues the water levels dropped before the animals were in harm's way. Aiken admits some areas were under water. That's why he took them to the high ground he says didn't get flooded.

But animal control now says several horses suffer a hoof rot called thrush that happened from standing in water for an extended period of time.

Aiken and his son-in-law now face animal cruelty charges. He says the county overreacted. "They come in here cause somebody took somebody else's word for it and there's no way to fight it," he said.

He says the family will fight to get their animals back.

Both men face two charges of animal cruelty. The case is scheduled to go to court sometime next month. We'll keep you posted.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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