Karen Vandiver began her day like any other.
Each day the Summerville resident takes her dog Yorkie for a mile walk around the neighborhood. But as she set out for one Saturday evening along Central Avenue about two weeks ago, she smelled something that concerned her.
Vandiver, 54, noticed a “dead animal smell” coming from an abandoned home at the corner of road.
“When I looked over there I saw that there was a dead dog. It was about the size of a Collie” she said. “The fur looked really good and healthy, it was like a multi-colored dog, it had white, tan, black and kind of thick fur, but then I saw that the head was cut off.”
There were at least three decapitated animals found outside of the abandoned home that evening. A Richmond County Sheriff’s Office report on Dec. 15 states three “dog pelts” were collected and disposed of at a local landfill after they had been discarded and decomposing on the southeast side of the property, from Milledge Road.
The deputy reported the animal carcasses to be visible from the roadway and had a “strong odor,” noting that they were likely no more than a week old. There were no bones, no blood, or organs present, according to the police report. The animals did not “appear to have met their demise at the incident location,” the police report states.
The deputy did not find the scenario “alarming” due to Animal Services’ findings of animal carcasses “in various stages of decay on a daily basis,” according to the police report.
Arden Garraod, 65, who lives across the street from the 2208 Central Drive residence , made the call to Animal Services that Saturday evening. As authorities visited the home Garraod saw them removing at least three animal remains from a shrub in the yard.
“It looked almost like three to four dogs,” he said. “And like someone just skinned them. No blood or guts hanging out, it was all just hide.”
Vandiver said the incident has her concerned about the safety of area pets and their owners.
“ Apparently somebody is hurting animals out here and I don’t know who and I don’t know why but it is heartbreaking,” she said. “I can’t imagine who can do that to an animal. That’s a sign of a bigger issue.
If you’re going to do that to an animal then honestly what’s next?” she asked.
Her second concern regarding the findings stemmed from a similar incident in July during which Vandiver and her husband, Russell, stumbled upon remains of a dog found near a sidewalk along Central Avenue in the same state of those found two weeks ago.
“It was right there as you stepped off the curb and it was pretty messed up, and missing its head too,” Vandiver said. “But this was back in the summer and we didn’t think nothing of it until this happened.”
Her hopes is that the sheriff’s office and Augusta Animal Services work to find answers. Jim Beasley, a spokesman for the city, said that Animal Services turned the investigation over to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael McDaniel said Wednesday the department was no longer investigating the matter.
“I would like to see better communication between the two agencies in trying to figure out what happened to these animals, and why did it happen, and who did this, or are they doing other things we need to know about,” Vandiver said. “That’s my main concern.”