CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A 49-year-old Conway woman has been found guilty of animal cruelty Wednesday after the Conway Police Department found her chow with a chain embedded in its neck during a traffic stop Feb. 24.
Sarah Hemmingway Lewis was found guilty during a court hearing Wednesday, and was ordered to pay $218 in restitution to the Horry County Animal Shelter.
She will not get her animals back.
Catina Hipp, spokesperson for the Conway Police Department, said an officer conducted a traffic stop along 5th Avenue and Blossom Street in February and spotted a dog with what appeared to be a chain embedded in its neck.
The officer called an Animal Control officer with Conway Police to check on the dog.
Upon arrival, the officer confirmed the dog did have a long chain embedded in its neck, and seized the dog.
The dog was taken to the Horry County Animal Care Center for further medical evaluation, and the dog received surgery for its wounds.
Kelly Bonome, operations manager for the animal care center, says besides still being scared the dog is doing well. She expects it to make a full recovery.
Lewis was not home when WMBF News went to seek comment in response to the allegations of police.
Her step-daughter, Regina McKnight, says Lewis must not have noticed how bad the dog's injuries were.
"She's up under a whole lot of stress and she's the only one to take care of the dogs. I mean sometimes I come by and check on them but I didn't never know the chain was just that deep," said McKnight.
McKnight describes her step-mom as a good person who would never maliciously mistreat her dogs.
This case marks the third animal cruelty case in Horry County in recent weeks, prompting officials to review the punishments on the book for such violations.
"They're looking at the City of Conway's ordinances to see if there's something that needs to be done, if we need to adjust any of the fines or any of the guidelines that are outlined in the ordinances right now," said Hipp.
Officials with the animal care center urge anyone who sees mistreatment of animals to call police. Owners are also encouraged to seek help from the animal care center.