Horse in abuse case killed by SUV

A pony remains in the pen that held a horse that escaped Sunday and was hit by a car on Old Dairy Road in Summerville. Officials with LEARN horse rescue want to buy the pony from its owner.

A horse that was part of an abuse case earlier this year escaped from its pen on Sunday and was killed by an SUV, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Berkeley County Animal Control investigated on Tuesday and concluded that the incident was “purely accidental.”

“We are not taking any type of enforcement action since this situation does not appear to be an act of neglect,” said Berkeley County Planning Director Eric Greenway, who manages the Animal Control department.

At 9:35 p.m. Sunday, a 2008 Ford SUV was traveling east on Old Dairy Road in Summerville when the horse ran into the roadway, according to the incident report. The 21-year-old driver, the only occupant of the vehicle, was not injured but her vehicle had an estimated $2,000 in damage.

The horse belonged to Dwight Benjamin McCloud of 1181 Old Dairy Road, who in March was charged with seven counts of neglect of four horses.

Two severely starved and injured horses were taken in by LEARN horse rescue. LEARN also wanted to take the other two, which were less malnourished, but they were left in the care of McCloud under the condition that they be monitored by Berkeley County Animal Control for six months.

McCloud pleaded guilty to five of the charges in Berkeley County Magistrate’s Court and was fined a total of $5,462.50 in April. The two other charges were dropped.

Berkeley County officers went to McCloud’s home to investigate on Tuesday, Greenway said.

“Any time an animal gets harmed it’s a sensitive situation, but given the history with this particular piece of property, this one’s a little more so,” he said.

After the investigation, he issued this statement: “It appears from the investigation that the incident was purely accidental and was not the fault of Mr. McCloud’s failure to properly care or provide for the animal’s welfare.”

Elizabeth Steed, founder of LEARN, said she was devastated by the death of the sorrel gelding.

“I feel responsible, like I should have done more,” she said.

She said she offered McCloud $500 for the remaining pony on Monday, but he did not respond. A friend donated an additional $500 toward the effort Monday night.

“The horse that was hit Sunday was still there,” she said. “I offered to have somebody bury the horse if he’d sell me the pony.”

She also believes the county should have taken custody.

“If you look at the history, his admission that he was not financially able to care for the horses and the conditions that they were in, I think, are probable cause to seize the horse,” Steed said. “We don’t want to be an adversary of Berkeley County Animal Control, but we can’t be a resource if they don’t do some basic law enforcement. Per their statute, there are grounds for them to remove the animals from his care. That’s basic law enforcement.”

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713.