CHESTERFIELD CO., SC (WJZY) - The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue has been given custody of 15 birds, four calves and two dogs – seized Monday by police in Chesterfield County, SC who discovered the animals living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Charges of ill treatment and abandon/neglect, both misdemeanors, are pending against the animals' owner, Keith Jones, 50.
Additional charges are likely because the birds were brought from Tennessee without health certificates, said Jim McGonigal, director of animal services and litter control in Chesterfield County.
A criminal court hearing has been set for May 3, 2016 and the state veterinarian's office is investigating because the birds were brought across state lines without the required health checks or paperwork, he said.
Chesterfield County sheriff's deputies were investigating a report of trespassing on the property when officers saw the animals living in “filthy, nasty conditions,” and alerted animal services, McGonigal said.
Officials found the 15 birds – nine chickens, five turkeys and one guinea hen – living in wire cages that were so small their heads were being pushed up against the wire which resulted in the turkeys' snoods falling off and the guinea's horn was worn away, CWR Director Jennifer Gordon said.
Many of the birds have missing toes and sores on their feet, indicating they were never let out of their cages.
All of the birds are “caked with mud and feces,” she said, and one turkey is missing a foot. He may be a candidate for a prosthetic, she said.
All four 4-month-old calves – which veterinarians say are at least 50-100 pounds underweight – were living in a 10x10 pen and have worms and parasites.
Gordon said they were “ obviously living in an incredible amount of feces.” There were also two King Corso mastiffs living in cages who have mange and infected skin lesions.
A judge awarded custody of the animals to CWR on Tuesday.
The animals are at the rescue's South Carolina quarantine facility undergoing exams while volunteers wait for health test results. The dogs and two calves will be transferred to fellow rescue Izzie's Pond in South Carolina, Gordon said.
Gordon said she expects all the animals to make a full recovery and is excited for them to feel grass under their feet for the first time.
“I'm confident they'll all do well with supportive care,” she said in a written statement. “Everything else is mostly mental abuse. Missing toes and missing snoods is not a quality of life thing that is going to affect them long-term.”
To donate for the animals' care or inquire about adoption, visit www.cwrescue.org.