Sheriff: animal cruelty suspect arrested
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds has announced an arrest and has explained his department’s role in county animal control following the discovery of two dog carcasses at a residence near Clinton.
His department was accused of a slow response to a citizens report of dead dogs and a third under-nourished dog at 3940 Springdale Drive.
This is the Sheriff’s Office’s arrest announcement, and Reynolds’ Facebook post:
On February 18, 2017, Deputies with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service from the Laurens County Humane Society in reference to deceased dogs being located at 3940 Springdale Road, Clinton.
Upon the Deputy’s arrival at this location, he walked to the back yard of this residence and observed two dead dogs inside separate dog houses. The deputy stated in his incident report that the dogs appeared to have been dead for at least 1 or more months based on the decomposition of the animals. After observing the deceased animals, the deputy then spoke with a male who he identified as Markevious Simpson.
Simpson provided information to the deputy that he moved to the residence 2 weeks prior to our arrival and he was there to help care for his ill grandmother. Simpson also stated that he did not know that there were two deceased dogs in the back yard. He then told the deputy that his grandmother had a German Shepard but neither he nor the deputy observed the dog at the residence during this time.
On February 23, 2017, Investigators with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office returned to the residence to speak with the home owner of this residence. Upon their arrival, they again spoke with Markevious Simpson.
At this time, Simpson admitted to officers that the two dead dogs actually belonged to him. Simpson then escorted investigators to a wooded area where he discarded the remains. While investigating this case, Investigators learned that Laurens County Animal Control Officers had went to the residence on February 20, 2017 and February 21, 2017 and observed the deceased animals. The responding Animal Control Officers stated to investigators that they did not pick up deceased animals but returned on today’s date to pick them up because of the uproar on social media. (3) Warrants for Ill Treatment of Animals were obtained, and (1) warrant was obtained for Providing False Information to a Police Officer. Markevious Simpson was placed under arrest and transported to the Laurens County Detention Center.
His bond was set at $5000.00 cash/or surety each for the Ill Treatment of Animals warrants and a cash/ or surety bond of $475.00 was set for Providing False Information to a Police Officer. At the time of this release, Markevious Simpson remains in the Laurens County Detention Center.
Reynolds: “Information about an animal cruelty situation began actively circulating throughout the county last night. Pictures from the scene revealed two dead dogs that were neglected and this situation was not only sad, but unacceptable.
“I was first notified about this situation yesterday (Feb. 22). As many of you know, we were dealing with an incident yesterday involving a robbery, chase and a deputy discharging his firearm to disable the vehicle. SLED was called in to investigate and, unfortunately, that situation had me and several within the department tied up for hours.
“Markevious Simpson was arrested this morning (Feb. 23)for animal cruelty and for giving false information to law enforcement. Although many have questioned why this took so long, you must realize the need for due process.
“I appreciate WSPA and WYFF reaching out to me for information regarding this incident. I love animals myself and am glad to know that justice has been served in this situation. However, there is a much larger problem that must be dealt with going forward to better position the county in dealing with such issues.
“When I took office in January, I was approached about taking animal control under the Sheriff’s Office. It is currently under the Public Works Department. I made it very clear that I would be willing to accept the responsibility for animal control if, and only if the Sheriff’s Office would be allotted appropriate funding for manpower and equipment.
“Being denied the appropriate funds needed to properly staff the department for animal control, I refused to accept it.
“The Public Works webpage describes the Laurens County Litter / Humane Office as ‘a sub-section of the Rural Collection section and serves the citizens with a two-fold purpose - one being litter and the other being animal control. This is a four (4) employee department that involves all of the 'unincorporated areas' of the County. The Officers are assigned different areas of the County and on a daily basis the officers report to the Public Works Department. The main duties of this department is to respond to animal related and Public litter calls. The Officers conduct investigations of cruelty and other problem situations.’
“Animal control officers need to be trained, certified law enforcement officers. Animal control needs to be a 24x7 service. Neither are currently the case in Laurens County. I will not create a liability for the county by arming uncertified personnel and expecting them to put themselves and others in harm’s way. In order to provide the service that the you deserve, the Sheriff’s Office needs both the responsibility and the funding for animal control.
“Given the proper resources, we would be able to provide the services that you expect and deserve.”