Felony Dog Abuse Case Awaits Trial

WINNSBORO – The case against a Winnsboro man charged with shooting a dog is awaiting trial, while the dog – an 8- to 10-month old schnauzer – has made a full recovery and is also awaiting the end of legal proceedings before moving into a full-time home.

According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Brian Floyd Smith, 41, of Chestnut Street, was arrested on March 23, a day after deputies responded to his home on reports of a man in the process of shooting a dog. When deputies arrived on March 22, Smith, armed with a shotgun, was spotted in his front yard. The shotgun was not loaded, but after questioning, Smith reportedly admitted to shooting a dog the previous afternoon, on March 21.

Smith reportedly told deputies he shot the dog, which had only recently been coming around his property, because the pup had attacked his mother’s Chihuahua a week earlier. Smith said he shot the dog with birdshot and left the injured dog in a doghouse in his back yard. Smith never contacted Animal Control, according to the incident report.

Lt. Lee Haney, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, said the dog was actually shot with buckshot, not birdshot, which inflicted serious injury to the pup. Haney said when Animal Control officers arrived at the scene later that afternoon, the dog was still in the doghouse behind Smith’s home. The dog suffered from what appeared to be a broken front leg, Haney said, and had buckshot wounds in its side and in both front legs.

The next morning, Haney said, the dog was taken by Animal Control to Carolina Place Animal Hospital in Fort Mill where its treatment ran up a $1,500 bill. Davis Anderson, Fairfield County Deputy Administrator, said the money to cover the bill was contributed by an out-of-state donor.

Smith was arrested and charged with felony ill treatment to animals. He is awaiting trial in the Sixth Circuit Court. The schnauzer remains in the care of the Animal Hospital, Anderson said, until the end of the trial. If the rightful owner is not located by then, he said, the pup will be put up for adoption.

A misdemeanor charge against a second Winnsboro man of dogs running at large was thrown out of Magistrates Court last month after County Animal Control failed to appear for the trial.

Jeff T. Truesdale, 50, of Forest Hills Drive, was issued a citation on April 11 after his pit bull broke free from its chain in his yard and attacked a neighbor’s dog. The neighbor’s dog, according to the incident report, suffered superficial wounds. The pit bull reportedly charged a Sheriff’s deputy on the scene and the deputy deployed his taser to fend off the animal. The pit bull was later restrained and taken by Animal Control.

The case came before a Magistrates judge on May 4, but was dismissed when no one from Animal Control appeared. Anderson said the case came to trial two days after David Brown, former Director of Animal Control, resigned, and the department was in transition.

Tuesday evening, Anderson said the job had been accepted by James H. Hill III, Assistant Director for Richland County Animal Care for the last six years.