The city’s animal services department has not investigated a December incident in which animal remains were found at an abandoned home.
Some Summerville residents reported the three dog remains found at 2208 Central Dr. to Animal Services on Dec. 15, which turned the case over to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to investigate. The sheriff’s office said it was “an animal control issue.”
A 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, blood or organs present and the animals did not “appear to have met their demise at the incident location,” according to a police report.
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” and the three dog pelts were collected and disposed of at a local landfill, according to the police report.
The sheriff’s office closed the case shortly after the incident.
Crystal Eskola, the assistant director for Animal Services, could not confirm whether the department did an investigation at that time.
Reports on the incident from both agencies found that the three dogs had been skinned and only the fur and skin had been left behind.
When asked last week whether Animal Services investigated the incident, Lakeisha Howard, a paralegal with the Augusta Law Department, confirmed there was no investigation.
“At this time, there is not an active investigation by Animal Services,” she said.
The department has since advised residents “to keep their pets confined and not to freely roam,” Howard added.
Karen Vandiver, a resident of the Summerville area, was disappointed about the way the incident was handled. She said a sheriff’s officer assured her that the situation would be investigated by Criminal Investigations Division.
“I am disappointed that law enforcement doesn’t appear to take this seriously as it is,” Vandiver said Wednesday. “Research is clear about individuals who intentionally harm animals. Often this behavior escalates to harming people. We have seriously disturbed people walking around our community. I would like to know why this case was dropped.”
Both agencies said they were unable to find other reports of such “suspicious activity” in the area.
“Animal Services Department has verified that the number is zero,” Howard said in an email Tuesday.
Leigh Strong lives on the opposite side of the road from the abandoned home. She said residents of the area have been waiting weeks for an investigation.
“It’s very scary,” she said. “We haven’t felt free to take our dogs out walking or even in the yard to run.”