Originally created 03/09/02

Boy, 17, animals rescued



SALLEY - A mentally impaired 17-year-old was rescued from a feces-covered home this week in a case that culminated Friday with the confiscation of 182 dogs from the residence.

Animal control authorities said the house on the 1000 block of Union Hill Road in Salley was a puppy mill.

Aiken County Animal Services charged Kathleen Humes, who they say is the mother of the boy and the owner of the puppy mill, with keeping animals in unsanitary conditions.

Shirley Harden, the chief enforcement officer for animal services, said she expects more charges to follow. She said Ms. Humes has been charged with keeping unsanitary conditions at least two other times by authorities.

"This woman doesn't care about animals," Ms. Harden said. "This is her way of making money."

Ms. Humes was reportedly verbally and physically combative during the confiscation of her animals.

Friday's action by animal control began in the early afternoon and was expected to stretch into the early morning hours. The confiscation was preceded by a Thursday decision by the South Carolina Department of Social Services to remove the child from the home.

Ms. Harden said DSS acted on a tip. The organization then contacted the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and animal services.

Animal Control Officer Eddie Kennedy visited the home Thursday and videotaped the squalid conditions. Animal feces covered walls, floors and other surfaces in the home, which was in disarray.

Mr. Kennedy identified a soiled bed as being the one in which the teen-ager slept.

Ms. Harden said some of the animals confiscated would have to be destroyed because of disease, but many could be spared. She said the decision would be made after consulting with a veterinarian.

Aiken County Animal Services was assisted Friday by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and law enforcement from Edgefield County and the city of Aiken.

Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 648-1395 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.