CHESTERFIELD CO., S.C. - The Chesterfield County Animal Shelter is still under investigation after rescuers discovered dogs, shot dead, in a nearby un-permitted landfill. Sheriff Sam Parker tells us that the county adopted a lethal injection euthanasia policy about a year ago.
So if dogs and cats are being shot, where are the lethal injection drugs, purchased with tax payer dollars, and how are they being used? Several days ago, we submitted an open records request to Sheriff Sam Parker, the county council and the county attorney.
We have asked to see euthanasia records for the last 12 months, including purchase orders and administrative logs. Under South Carolina law, the county has 15 days to reply.
The sheriff will not return our calls. County council chair Matt Rivers and Vice Chair Lenora Powe tell us they did not receive the request. County attorney Heath Ruffner will not return our calls. And we have an email into administrator Denise Douglass but have not heard back.
We did speak with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. It tells us the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter has a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration and is authorized to purchase and use Schedule III non-narcotics. DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick explains, "Primarily because there is not a vet on site or on staff. Those schedule III non-narcotics can be obtained directly from a manufacturer, however they are still subject to the same security and record keeping requirements as any other controlled substance."
Sheriff Sam Parker told us over the phone last week, when he was still taking our calls, that he wasn't sure if the shelter kept those records.
But every three years, DHEC inspects for them. Chesterfield County Animal Shelter got its authorization in June 2009. DHEC has not yet inspected them and has no indication of what specific Schedule III non-narcotics the shelter purchased.
The medical team at DHEC figures Chesterfield may be purchasing euthanasia drugs called Euthasol and Ketamine. Ketamine is also known as "Special K," a popular recreational drug with a high street value.
Animal shelter director and convicted felon Brian Burch, identified as a "sergeant" on a county website even though he is not a sworn officer, Lee Carnes, Kip Gulledge and Eric Donahue remain on administrative leave.
There is also word that the sheriff has started charging adoption fees at the shelter. Dogs are now $20 and cats are $10. We tried to ask the Sheriff to confirm but again, haven't heard back.