The owner of a dog grooming business has been arrested in connection with the death of a dog left in her care and for allegedly mistreating two other dogs.
Shelly Leanne Vinson, 32, 600 Maidstone Drive, Apt. 16, Boiling Springs, is charged by the Union Public Safety Department with two counts of ill treatment of animals.
The first warrant for Vinson’s arrest states that on May 8 she left two small dogs locked in her business, Classy Pet Grooming, 503 S. Duncan Bypass, Union. The warrant states the animals were left running free inside and that there was feces, urine and trash on the floor throughout the building. It also states that inside a kennel on the floor inside the building there was a dead dog which was bleeding from its mouth and nose.
The second warrant states that between April 23 and May 8 at her place of business, Vinson inflicted “excessive pain and suffering” on a dog left in her care. The warrant states the pain and suffering Vinson inflicted on the animal resulted in its while it was locked in a cage inside her business.
Union Public Safety Director Sam White said this morning that Vinson was taken into custody Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. White said Off. Dale Mitchell of the public safety department and Sgt. Roger Hill of the Union County Sheriff’s Office were looking for Vinson and found her at a Buffalo residence. He said his department had been looking for Vinson to take her into custoday since the warrants for her arrest were signed by Judge Wade Hampton on Friday.
Vinson’s arrest came five days after Off. Al Griffin was dispatched to Classy Pet Grooming on the afternoon of May 8 in response to a call from John E. Johnson who’d reported his dog was dead inside the building. The incident report states Johnson, 75, told Griffin that he’d brought his dog, a Border Collie, for a trimming, but before he could return for the dog, he got sick and suffered a stroke on May 2. Johnson said he was hospitalized until May 7 and that during that time he tried to contact Vinson but was unable to reach her.
The day after he got out of the hospital, Johnson, with the assistance of friend, went to Classy Pet Grooming to check on his dog, but finding no one there looked in through a window. When he did, Johnson saw his dog lying dead in a kennel inside the building and called police.
After talking with Johnson, Griffin looked in through the window and saw the dog which the report states appeared to be dead. Griffin also noticed two other dogs, described by the report as Shih-Tzus, inside the building at the front door. Two more dogs were found outside the building in a dog kennel.
Two women then arrived at the scene and told Griffin that they were there to meet Vinson. While being questioned by Griffin, the report states one of the women got a call from Griffin on her cell phone. When Griffin spoke to her about the situation, the report states Vinson said she was at her business earlier and had attempted to take Johnson’s dog outside on a leash, but the dog got away from her and ran down the hill beside her building. Vinson said her two dogs kept going down the hill so and then back to her so she followed down and found the lifeless body of Johnson’s dog in the bushes. She said she carried it back to the building, put it inside a kennel and then turned the air conditioner down low so it would stink inside.
Vinson said she’d attempted to call Johnson’s sister about the dog but was unable to make contact. She said she’d also contacted Triangle Veterinary Clinic, the Union County Animal Control officer, and a secretary with the public safety department about the dog before she found it. She added that she was out of town and was not coming to the business.
White said that while Vinson did call the public safety department, she did not tell them about the situation at her business.
Griffin then contacted White who came to the scene and using a key they entered the building together. They found the dog dead inside the kennel and White described conditions inside the building as “unsanitary” and that the interior “stunk to high heaven.” In addition to the dead Border Collie, White said there was dog feces and hair throughout the building, adding that the two Shih-Tzus were not only running loose but had no food or water. He said further described the interior of the building as “a very nasty place.”
The Shih-Tzus and the other two dogs were dogs were transported to the Union County Animal Control Shelter by the public safety department’s animal control officer. The Shih-Tzus were returned to their owner later that day after she came to the public safety department to claim and signed a property return form.
Public safety officer disposed of the Border Collie’s remains at the owner’s request.
Vinson was still in jail as of this morning.