HOLLYWOOD — Charleston County authorities acting on a tip from a surveyor removed nearly 80 live animals and 27 carcasses from filthy, makeshift pens behind a house Wednesday afternoon.
Richard Gilliard, 64, the owner of the property at 7295 S.C. Highway 162, is facing charges of ill treatment to animals, Sheriff's Maj. John Clark said. Family at the Gilliard home declined to comment. Gilliard told deputies that he sells the animals, Lt. Jack Scarborough said.
Scarborough cited the overall poor living conditions of the animals as reason for intervention. Some of the rescued animals went to the Charleston Animal Society's facility on Remount Road.
The animals appeared to have been fed, said the society's Director of Outreach and Communications Kay Hyman. "Unfortunately, the living conditions were so bad it was in the animals' best interest to pull them out," she said.
The pens stank of feces and were constructed of particle board, wood, pieces of fencing, chicken wire and tin. They were littered with aluminum cans, bricks, an old bicycle, a basketball hoop and other trash.
Scarborough said authorities removed guinea hens, goats, chickens, pheasants, quail, white pigeons, ducks, rabbits, dogs and a cat. There were some baby animals in the group. There was some discrepancy Wednesday night on the specific head count of each type of animal because some already had gone to foster homes.
Authorities also found the carcasses of 25 quail, one white pigeon and one duck, Scarborough said.
Gilliard cooperated with deputies and even helped round up some of the animals, which took most of the afternoon.
Animal control officers and members of the Charleston County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad helped round the animals into large, blue carriers that were loaded onto trailers around 5:30 p.m.
Hyman said the chickens had to undergo testing and shots. A pheasant and the rabbits and ducks were taken to the Charleston Animal Society's facility.
"We put a big baby pool in here and they are in heaven. It's really good to see," Hyman said.
The fine for ill treatment of animals is $1,087 for each species, Clark said.
Authorities found at least nine kinds of animals on the property, he said.
The total number of citations issued to Gilliard wasn't available Wednesday night.
The Sheriff's Office also will be investigating whether Gilliard could legally sell the animals, Scarborough said.