Dog Case Returned to Fairfield

WINNSBORO (May 6, 2016) – The court hearing for Billy Ray Huskey, 48, of Mitford, that was scheduled to be moved from Fairfield County to Lancaster on May 9, has now been moved back to Fairfield County, Assistant Sixth Circuit Solicitor Riley Maxwell said on Tuesday. The move came after many County residents expressed concerns about why the hearing was being moved out of county.

Huskey, the man witnesses have said dragged a dog behind his Dodge Ram pickup truck on Sunday morning, Dec. 13, 2015, was arrested on Jan. 30, and charged with a felony for ill treatment of animals.

A week after learning of the dragging incident, the Hoof and Paw Benevolent Society posted a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the dog’s injuries. On Jan. 5, three weeks after the incident, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office issued an incident report on the dog’s injuries and a press release announcing that it would investigate the incident. In late January, two people who said they witnessed the dragging, came forward and made statements implicating Huskey, Fairfield County Sheriff’s investigator Lt. Lee Haney said.

Maxwell told The Voice on Tuesday that the case will now be heard in Circuit Court in Winnsboro the week of May 16; but, he said, he was not yet sure of the exact day it would be held during that week.

Sources from both the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and from the Solicitors Office have said for weeks that Huskey made a statement about the dragging incident after he was arrested and that he plans to plead guilty. Sources also told The Voice last week that Huskey had worked out a plea agreement with the Solicitor’s Office for a misdemeanor charge. Assistant Solicitor Melissa Heimbaugh declined to talk with The Voice, saying she didn’t feel comfortable talking with the media about the case. But Maxwell, her supervisor, said Tuesday that there is no plea deal yet. He said the felony charge is still pending until Huskey actually pleas in court.

“There is no plea until there is a plea in court,” Maxwell said. “If he pleas, that will be a sentencing hearing. If he does not plea, then the case will go to trial.”

“We are happy the case is being brought back to Fairfield County where it happened,” said Kathy Faulk, a member of the Hoof and Paw Society that has been working closely with the Solicitor’s Office and has sought to keep the case in the spotlight. “But we would like to see more than just the felony charge brought against Mr. Huskey.

“This dog, suffering horrible injuries from being dragged behind a truck, was dumped in the woods off Camp Welfare Road that Sunday morning along with two other emaciated, diseased dogs, all of whom, we understand, belonged to Mr. Huskey and his family,” Faulk said. “A lot appears to have happened to those dogs over a long period of time. There needs to be justice for what happened to them.”

While all the dogs were found and rescued, one of them died just a few days later from his condition, said Dr. Robert Knight who cared for all three dogs after they were brought to Fairfield Animal Hospital in Winnsboro. The dragged dog, who has undergone numerous surgeries, and the other surviving dog are still in Knight’s care and he reports they are making remarkable recoveries.