“Don’t let her sweet demeanor fool you,” said Florence County Environmental Services Director Herbie Christmas. “The conditions those poor dogs were living in were beyond anything I’ve ever dealt with in my professional career. She was aware of their suffering and she didn’t do anything about it.”

An Effingham woman was indicted this week on animal cruelty charges after puppies were removed from a commercial breeding operation located on her property.

Environmental Services Director Herbie Christmas says 70-year-old Donna Keller Lee was indicted this week on 39 counts of animal cruelty. Of those, 37 are felony charges.

Image Credit

Lee was booked into the Florence County Detention Center around 2 p.m. on Tuesday and released on a $15,000 bond thirty minutes later.

“She was pretty smug,” said a detention center employee. “I can’t go on the record, but that lady was cursing and causing a ruckus. We thought we were going to have to put her in the restraint chair.”

Here’s more from WBTW:

In November, Florence County Environmental Services worked with Michelle Reid, an animal cruelty consultant and animal forensics expert, and Valiant Animal Rescue team members to remove 133 animals from Lee’s property in Florence County.
According to Reid, the animals had medical issues including intestinal parasites, infections, and ringworm when seized from the property.

Image Credit

All of the animals removed from the property were taken to rescues in the Charleston area. Many are in foster homes or permanent placement. 

“Some of these animals were so weak from hunger, they couldn’t even lift their heads. You had mothers attempting to nurse their pups, but they didn’t have any milk because they were so severely malnourished,” said Herbie Christmas.

But that wasn’t the worst of it, either.

“She knew about this and she didn’t lift a finger,” said Christmas. “Her excuse was that she was broke and unable to buy provisions for the animals. Well, we don’t buy that because she could have easily allowed the animals to be adopted out by any of the organizations in the area. Or for that matter, these were champion bloodline show dogs. They could have been given away.”

Image Credit

Should she spend the rest of her pathetic life in prison?