Crime & Courts

‘We miss her terribly,’ Richland County woman seeks justice after poisoned dog dies

File photo of a border collie
File photo of a border collie USA TODAY

The death of a beloved pet can be traumatic.

When that pet died because it was poisoned, it’s hard to imagine the range of emotions.

That’s what one Richland County woman is experiencing. Valerie James had two dogs intentionally poisoned, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Darcy, a 2-year-old border collie, died.

For all of the things James is feeling, she wants one thing the most – justice.

James posted a reward on Facebook. She is offering $2,000 for information that “leads to the successful prosecution of the individual(s) responsible.”

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an animal death. But Darcy, and Reilley a Labrador retriever who survived the poisoning, are much more than animals to James.

“These two dogs were family members and we do not take this lightly, nor should you,” James wrote. “We miss her terribly and need your help.”

According to the incident report, the sheriff’s department responded to James’ Rosewood Drive residence on Oct. 23. She said Darcy’s poisoning occurred on, or about, Oct. 20, a week after she claimed Reilley was poisoned.

James said Darcy lived in a large fenced-in backyard next to Concord Oaks Apartments and Overbrook Drive.

Darcy was a healthy dog that developed an illness rapidly and had a seizure, according to the incident report, adding Darcy had no history of seizures.

James rushed Darcy to the emergency veterinarian, but she wasn’t able to be saved and died within hours.

The veterinarian said Darcy’s death was suspicious, according to the incident report. A toxicology report has been ordered.

According to the incident report, Darcy had hot dogs in her stomach, which James said was suspicious because she does not purchase hot dogs and has none at her residence.

James told deputies that it’s common for people to poison dogs using hot dogs, because it’s a food that dogs will eat.

The sheriff’s department said the hot dogs were hollowed out and had been stuffed with some other substance that poisoned the dog.

That might have been what happened to Reilley on Oct. 13. That’s when James said he was rushed to the veterinarian, suffering from the same symptoms as Darcy, James wrote on Facebook.

“He was a much larger dog, and he luckily survived after three days of medical treatment,” James posted on Facebook.

No suspect was named in the incident report, as the investigation began in pursuit of an unknown person.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.