While the 55 animals seized from his property sit in limbo at a shelter, the 80-year-old man suspected of neglecting them asked for time to hire a lawyer before a judge decides whether to return the livestock and pets.
County Magistrate Judge Thomas Lynn reluctantly granted Carroll Haseldon's request, noting that the Charleston Animal Society must, in the meantime, care for the dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, horse, goat, pig and other animals taken from Haseldon's Halfway Creek Road home in Huger. The shelter also recently took in 20 dogs and 10 kittens from Mississippi River flood victims.
Sheriff's deputies said Haseldon's animals will incur charges of about $600 per day while in custody, a cost Haseldon must shoulder if the judge decides to return them to him. Lynn reset the hearing, which will determine whether Haseldon can adequately care for the animals, for Tuesday morning.
Haseldon denied his guilt and said, "I've not got as many animals as they say I've got." Lynn told him not to address the court until he appears again Tuesday.
Haseldon declined to comment after the hearing.
Sheriff's deputies responding to a domestic dispute call Tuesday arrived at his house in rural Huger. There they found about 30 chickens and the other animals, court records shows.
Sheriff's officials plan to charge Haseldon with ill treatment of animals and no inoculation of pets, each of which carries a fine of nearly $1,100, plus burying dead animals, which carries a $125 fine, according to sheriff's Maj. John Clark. Investigators also plan to consider county ordinance violations, Clark said.
Deputies and animal control officers, with help from the Charleston County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, spent much of Tuesday afternoon and evening rounding up the animals to take to the Charleston Animal Society. Lucy Fuller, medical director there, said the animals showed signs of malnourishment and neglect.
She described the Remount Road shelter as "absolutely overloaded" by this case and Southeast flooding assistance.
In the Haseldon case, Fuller said, she hopes to get custody of the animals and to put them up for adoption. She, like Haseldon, returns to court Tuesday.