Kangaroo, alpaca among more than 30 animals seized from trailer, officials say

A South Carolina man has been cited after more than 30 animals were found suffering from extreme heat over the weekend.
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 7:28 AM CDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - A Moncks Corner man has been cited after more than 30 animals were found suffering from extreme heat over the weekend, authorities said.

Justin Culley was cited for inhumane care and treatment of animals, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials with Berkeley County Animal Control say a trailer was found abandoned with a flat tire in the Tractor Supply parking lot in Moncks Corner on Sunday afternoon.

More than 30 animals were found in what officials call “inhumane living conditions.”

The animals were transported to H. O. P. E. Acres Rescue in Bonneau where they are being given medical attention.

The rescue saID the animals were covered in their own feces and were extremely dehydrated and malnourished.

The rescue took in one kangaroo, one alpaca, four chickens, eight ducks, two rabbits, seven pigs, 17 goats, two of which were pregnant, one sheep, one mule, two mini horses, one donkey and one horse.

One of the rabbits was found dead, but officials aren’t sure how it died, Capt. Lee Mixon with the Moncks Corner Police Department said.

According to state records, Culley has a business called Culley Farms, which is described as a mobile petting zoo.

Culley is denying the allegations, calling it defamation and that he is seeking legal representation.

The owner’s statement, provided Wednesday night, said in part: “Our business is being blasted and our name is being run in the dirt, and nobody even knows the situation. We do not abuse our animals, we love our animals with all our heart. Anyone who knows us and sees us regularly knows the care, compassion and effort we put into our animals.

“We simply had a flat tire on the trailer, plain and simple. The trailer was backed into the shade, jacked up with the tire off and disconnected at Tractor Supply where I felt they would be safe so that I could run around the corner to Mavis tire. The tire was mounted, balanced and I returned back to the trailer to a nightmarish scene.

“The animals were not seized, I voluntarily released the animals into their care under a temporary release. They also only took a portion of the animals, leaving us with many of our animals ranging from rabbits and pigs to ducks and chickens along with all of our domestic animals.”

Officials with H. O. P. E. Acres Rescue said they are overwhelmed with the number of animals they’ve taken in.

“When we got the call about abandoned animals being left on the hottest day of the year, we were devastated,” President of H.O.P.E Acres Rescue Tracey Sawyer said. “We are a volunteer-run organization, with very limited resources whose mission is to support Equines, but we all looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s go, they need us.’”

Sawyer said the team has been working to build temporary shelters, get emergency medical care and deal with other needs the animals have. The rescue is taking donations.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the incident.