$1000 reward offered for ID of dogs killing donkeys in Blythewood

Melanie Chastain received Jerry, a miniature donkey, as a birthday present 20 years ago when he was 6 months old. | Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – It was on her birthday 20 years ago that one of Melanie Chastain’s friends gifted her a six-month-old miniature donkey, something she had been wanting. Chastain, who lives on ten acres off Loner Road in rural Blythewood, said she named the little donkey Jerry and has loved him to pieces ever since.

“He was my best friend,” she told The Voice.

On Nov. 6, a little after 7:30 a.m. that happy world came crashing down when Jerry was brutally attacked and killed by two dogs who had entered his fenced pasture behind Chastain’s back yard.

This map shows the primary area where dogs have been roaming and attacking donkeys. | Map by Ashley Ghere

Since then, Chastain has learned that another donkey on a farm on Fulmer Road, about a quarter of a mile from her house, received non-fatal injuries in an attack on Aug. 15, by three dogs, two of which were described by the Fulmer Road donkey’s owner as resembling Chastain’s description of the dogs that later killed Jerry.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, two dogs, described by the Fulmer Road owner as different from the three-dog pack that injured his donkey earlier, attacked his donkey, this time fatally.

Chastain has also learned that because these dog attacks are not classified as animal cruelty (which involves humans in some way), they fall under the jurisdiction of Richland County Animal Control, not the Sheriff’s Department.

The Voice obtained an incident report about Jerry’s attack from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and requested animal control’s incident report on Jerry as well, but was told that report would have to be requested through a Freedom of Information request. The Voice has submitted the request.

After what she describes as little to no help from county officials to investigate Jerry’s attack or to try and track down the dogs responsible, Chastain began conducting her own door-to-door investigation of the attacks.

On the evening of Nov. 24, Thanksgiving day, she reached out further, posting information about Jerry’s horrific death on Facebook. She shared photos with The Voice that show the lower part of Jerry’s face ripped away, his throat torn, and flesh torn from his body.

“All this in only a few horrific minutes,” Chastain said. “I can still hear in my mind Jerry’s terrified screams as the dogs ripped him apart. What happened to Jerry is almost more than I can bear.”

Chastain recalled the attack. She said she rushed from her house into the little donkey’s pasture, facing her own danger as she tried to fight the dogs off Jerry.

As the dogs ran from the scene, one dog that Chastain described as a mixed breed – white with some brown or black on his head and on the rear part of his body – ran out of Jerry’s fence to the right and out of sight.

“The other dog, a tan pit bull with splotchy coloring, ran to the left,” she said, “but became temporarily entrapped in a section of the fencing long enough for me to get a few pictures with my cell phone before the dog ran off toward Blythewood Road.

“I ran over to Jerry, but it was too late,” Chastain recalled last week during an interview with The Voice.

As she walks through the neighborhood now in her quest to gather information about the dogs, she says neighbors and strangers in the area between Loner Road and Holly Bluff neighborhood off Blythewood Road share information about their own encounters they’ve had with roaming dogs that they say match the description of the dogs that killed Jerry.

The Voice obtained a doorbell video from a woman in Holly Bluff that she says was recorded on Aug. 23, two days after the attack on the Fulmer Road donkey. The video shows two dogs that appear to match the description of Jerry’s killers, roaming through yards of Holly Bluff. Another dark colored dog is with them in the video.

At least two other families in that area own miniature donkeys and have told The Voice that they are now fearful for their donkeys’ safety.

Ron and Jennifer Hart, who live in the area, own two miniature donkeys and are offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the positive identification of the dogs involved in the fatal attacks.

“The more people I talk with, the more I learn about these dogs,” Chastain said. “I feel it’s a responsibility to make people in our area aware of what’s going on. Dogs that can kill a miniature donkey that is bigger than them can do other harm as well.

 “It’s something I have to do for Jerry,” she said.


  1. Mike Hawk says

    Rip it’s head off!

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