Georgetown man accused of binding dogs, tossing in IP Canal

One man is facing charges for binding three dogs and tossing them in the International Paper Canal in Georgetown County earlier this month.

Bobby Joe McConnell, 47, of Georgetown is charged with three counts of ill treatment of animals according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s office. He is being held at the Georgetown County Detention Center on $15,000 bond.

One black lab found by fishermen on July 2 was muzzled and bound with duct tape, but survived. The dog, named Dara, is recovering at Saint Frances Animal Shelter.

Wendy Goude, director of the shelter, said the black Labrador retriever had exploratory surgery that revealed more damage from abuse. When the dog was initially brought in, the swelling led shelter officials to believe she was pregnant.

Dara’s spleen was removed during surgery and significant bruising indicated severe kicking or beating, Goude said. Additionally a few masses were found and sent out for biopsies.

Two other dogs were found dead on July 5 and necropsies showed they had been dead for days.

Several tips led investigators to McConnell, said Lt. Neil Johnson with the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses told authorities McConnell had told them how he was going to dispose of the dogs. The information helped police establish a timeline of McConnell’s actions before the July 2 discovery of Dara and after the discovery of the two dead dogs a couple days later.

Dara had belonged to his daughter, while one of the deceased dogs was his mother-in-laws, Johnson said. The owner of the third deceased dog has still not been identified and it’s not clear whether McConnell lived with the owners of the dogs and no one answered the phone at McConnell’s residence.

Saint Frances announced an online auction featuring an 18 by 24 oil on canvas painting by artist Angela Askins Tiller Wednesday. Tiller donated the painting and all proceeds will benefit Dara and the dogs at the shelter. The opening bid is $300 and bids are accepted in $50 increments.

For more information, visit the shelter’s Facebook page by searching for “Saint Frances Animal Center”

The shelter had a $2,500 reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case. It is not known whether the money has been claimed.