Couple charged with animal abuse, unlawful conduct toward child

Courtney Heatley and Philip Heatley

A Berkeley County couple was arrested Thursday after a welfare check on an elderly woman found children living in unsafe conditions and multiple dead animals, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Philip Daniel Heatley, 23, and wife Courtney Lynn Heatley, 22, are each charged with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and 24 counts of ill treatment of animals, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to two years in prison.

On June 29, deputies received a tip that there may have been a vulnerable elderly adult living at 141 Honey Bee Drive in Moncks Corner, according to spokesman Michael Mule. They conducted a welfare check and confirmed that Philip Heatley’s grandmother, who is her mid-80s, was in no danger.

The woman told them she believed there was a dead dog in her shed and gave consent to search the property. Deputies discovered the carcasses of numerous animals and obtained a search warrant. They found the remains of a dog, ducks, chickens, a goat, a pony, rabbits and several other unidentified animals.

Deputies called in Animal Control and the Department of Natural Resources. The Heatleys and their 5-year-old and 8-month-old baby were found to be living in deplorable conditions in a small camper on the property, Mule said. Both children were taken into emergency protective custody.

DNR also charged Philip Heatley with game violations, Mule said. The Heatleys are being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.