Laurens, SC — Three women were arrested on charges of animal abuse after sheriff’s deputies found more than 80 dead animals on their property.
Rebecca Keith, 58, and her two daughters, 33-year-old Amanda Keith Woolf and 31-year-old Sara Janette Keith, were arrested Thursday and charged with ill treatment of animals and failure to bury animals properly.
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office had gone to the home on Love Joy Lane to serve an eviction notice when they smelled a foul odor. The deputies then found more than 80 dead animals scattered throughout the home and property.
“It was all sorts of animals — dogs, cats, birds and even baby deer,” Lt. Judy Stiles said. She added that some of the carcasses were found in the refrigerator and freezer.
The three women had been living at the property since October, and Stiles said some of the animals had been dead since then. Dogs and horses that were running around in poor condition were transported to a local rescue farm.
Woolf said the animals were “like family” and her family “didn’t want to leave them behind.”
“We’ve already had to leave so many behind,” she said. Woolf also told Spartanburg’s WSPA-TV that a veterinarian said it was OK to keep the animals in the freezer. Property landlord Jason English said power to the home had been cut off a long time ago.
“My nightmares have nightmares about what we saw,” he said.
The family also said there were only 20 animals, and not 80. They have since been released from Johnson Detention Center on $5,000 bond have moved out of the house.
Court records show that Sara Keith was sentenced to 20 days in jail earlier this month for “ill treatment” and “overworking” of animals.
The three women were previously cited for animal cruelty in 2006 when Woolf’s home in Travelers Rest caught fire and burned down. Dozens of dogs were seized from the home at that time.