DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - Three rescue dogs who went missing on Christmas Eve were all found dead in the same area outside of one Darlington County family's home.
The Price family said the dogs were found in open farm land near U.S. 401 and East Lynches River Road outside of Lamar. They said all three dogs - Scooter, a long-haired German shepherd, and Thelma and Helen, two yellow lab puppies - were found dead within 100 yards of one another.
"Not a very good Christmas present, not at all," said Suzie Price. "Just be aware of your surroundings. Like I said, animals to me are like my children, and three dogs at one time, I mean this is heartbreaking. I'll be honest with you, it is heartbreaking."
Monday afternoon, three days after the dogs went missing, the family filed a police report with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office. The same day, Price's husband, Billy, spotted the dead dogs while flying his two-seat private airplane over their home.
Price said the first feelings were shock, sadness and disbelief, especially when she took the dogs to the vet Monday night.
"We had them examined and it looks to be poisoning," Price said. "Scooter, the long-haired German shepherd, yesterday the only visible thing was hemorrhage from the mouth, which is pretty indicative of poisoning from what I understand."
Price explained the blood found on the dogs' bodies is from vultures gnawing at them. She said when the dogs were taken to the vet to be examined, there were no signs of bullets or animal fights.
"A lot of people move to the country so they can have animals," Price said. "I love animals, my husband loves animals. You hope you can enjoy their lives."
That's why the Price family took in six rescue dogs, but are now left with just three.
"If they get run over by a car that's one thing, but this is totally different," Price said. "Whether it had been intentional or not, like I said, I think it's all connected."
The Price family is offering a reward to for information into what happened to their animals. Those who know anything should contact the Darlington County Sheriffs Office.