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Woman to pay $225 fine in animal cruelty case

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S.C. News Exchange
DARLINGTON – The woman accused of leaving a dog in a bag for three days in the heat of June has been found guilty of ill treatment of animals.
Veronica Crawford, 29, was found guilty on Aug. 10. The court ordered her to pay a $225 fine or spend 30 days in the Darlington County Detention Center.
While the most shocking element of the case was the fact that the dog had been tied up in an orange laundry bag, the state did not prove Crawford put the animal in the bag. Instead the state charged her with the offense based on the condition of the dog, which was found in a state of extreme dehydration.
“Based on where the animal was located, where you definitely had the opportunity to provide the animal with water, there’s no indication you made any attempt to give the animal water,” said Magistrate Deatrice Curtis as she handed down the guilty verdict.
The state presented evidence and testimony that Crawford called the animal shelter on Monday, June 11, wanting animal control to pick up a dog that she didn’t want. She was told that they normally don’t pick up pets. An appointment was made for animal control to pick up the dog between 1 and 5 p.m. that Thursday since Crawford said she did not have transportation.
That Thursday, around 3 o’clock, Crawford called to see if the animal had been picked up because she didn’t see it in the yard. One witness said she sounded irate and told her the dog was in a bag, which Crawford disputed.
Another witness said he asked Crawford if it was a bag or a basket. He said that she confirmed it was an orange laundry bag.
“I told her I found the dog in a bag that day not that it had been in a bag for three days,” Crawford said.
Animal control officer Adam Dowling said, when he received the call about a dog in a bag, he quickly headed to Foxhall Drive. He said he spoke with Crawford and she said the animal was in the back.
“I saw the grass beaten down where the dog had been trying to get out of the bag. I asked if she knew how it got in the bag. She said she found it that way that morning,” Dowling said. He described the animal as mild-mannered but completely dehydrated.
His photos of the animal went viral online and made the incident national and international news.
In her defense, Crawford explained that she had been feeding the dog for about two weeks with table scraps, but she couldn’t continue since she has four children to feed. She said she called to have the animal collected. That Tuesday, she said the dog was still in the yard and she fed it. Thursday afternoon, there was no dog in her yard.
Crawford said the dog was found on the other side of her driveway and not on her property.
Crawford was the only one to testify in her defense, and, throughout the state’s presentation of evidence, she shook her head defiantly but didn’t ask the witnesses any questions. She continued to plead her innocence even during sentencing, “I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
The judge took into account that Crawford had no prior convictions and that this was a first offense. The maximum penalty for such a first offense is imprisonment of less than 60 days or a fine of $100 to $500, or both.