UNION, S.C. - Sheriff David Taylor says reports of animals killed, stolen or maimed in Union County have already more than doubled in 2014 with four months left in the year.

Taylor says the cases don't seem related. The most recent incident may have been the cruelest. Two Great Danes inside a fence on property well away from the road were shot and killed with a crossbow last weekend. One died under a shed, the second in the back corner of the land.

Animal rights groups said any increase in cruelty complaints may not mean people are meaner. Instead, the Humane Society of South Carolina says people are more likely to report cruelty, instead of simply turning away.