YORK COUNTY, S.C. — York County deputies said Tuesday they are investigating a dogfighting ring after a 71-year-old woman was attacked by one of the pit bulls Saturday outside of a home.
The woman attacked is the great aunt of the suspect in the case, Ronald Edward Faulkenberry, 38, who is facing dozens of charges in connection with the evidence found by deputies.
(Ronald E. Faulkenberry)
Deputies said they got a 911 call about a dog attack near a home on Sawmill Road in Hickory Grove. When they got to the area, they found the woman lying on the ground after being attacked by a pit bull.
She was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Charlotte.
Authorities said the woman was a family member and was taking care of the dogs for the owner. One of the dogs had gotten loose and attacked the woman while she was taking care of the other dogs.
As deputies continued to investigate, they found several dogs were at two homes on Sawmill Road, both of which are owned by the victim.
A sergeant at the scene said he also saw an animal-fighting pit and two “break sticks” used to separate dogs.
There was also evidence the dogs were being trained on one of the properties.
Eight dogs were without proper water, six female dogs, which violated the spay ordinance, 12 dogs without proper shelter and 12 dogs did not have proof of rabies shots, according to police reports.
Several dogs had scars consistent with dogfighting.
Faulkenberry was served 58 warrants for the following charges:
- Animal fighting
- Ill-treatment of animals
- 11 violations of the county restraint ordinance for the dogs chained to poles in the ground
- Eight charges for the dogs that did not have adequate water
- Six violations of the York County spay ordnance, which says female dogs need to be in a kennel away from other dogs or stray animals if she hasn’t been spayed
- 12 violations for the dogs without proper shelters
- 12 violations of the rabies ordnance
“I knew they had a couple of dogs. But you never hear anything around here. You never hear trouble, and you never hear a peep out of them. They’re good neighbors," said a neighbor.
Another neighbor said he heard screams and ran to help the woman. Others said they saw several first responders pull up to the home moments later.
Neighbors said the woman lives next door to the home where the incident happened.
“I’m just praying for her. That’s all we can do. I hope she’s OK," a neighbor said.
“This incident speaks to the viciousness and violent nature of raising animals for the purpose of fighting and unfortunately caused very serious and unnecessary harm to an innocent and unintended victim. This activity is cruel, unnecessary and criminal,” Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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