NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) - Some pets are being left to die, abandoned by owners who cannot pay for their homes.
Because foreclosure filings in South Carolina are up more than 100-percent so far this year compared to last, authorities are seeing a new group of forgotten victims -- pets left behind by their owners.
As a warning, some of the video might be pretty graphic.
Bone and skin is all that's left of a three-year-old Chihuahua. Her body was found sunken into the grass near a Newberry County home with no one in it.
"She did not make it. Renal failure had already set in from starvation and dehydration," says Deena Hallman of Newberry County Animal Control.
There's no telling how long the dog had been left abandoned when animal control found her.
Little Cherokee was a bit luckier. Alive, after being found near another vacant home with no food and no water.
"A rib cage, spine and a pelvis, all they have on them right now," says Hallman.
Some of the dogs were even found chained to trees, deserted by owners struggling to pay for their homes and forced to leave, abandoning their pets.
"I don't know if they're being evicted from their trailers or just not being able to afford them. But they're leaving these dogs behind and no one's coming back and taking care of them," says Hallman.
Newberry County Animal Control estimates one out of every five pets at the shelter was left behind by an owner who moved out of their home.
Recent figures suggest those numbers are climbing as well, with foreclosure rates and evictions in South Carolina soaring.
"If you're moving, evicted or there are financial issues, which there are going to be more and more cases like that now, there's a shelter to take animal to versus leaving it there to die," says Hallman.
Authorities in Newberry County are pursuing criminal charges of animal cruelty and neglect against several owners who've left pets behind.
If you're interested in helping, contact Newberry County Animal Care and Control at 803-321-2185 or use their website.
Reported by Dan Tordjman