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Laurens woman arrested for starving dog

Elizabeth James

A Laurens woman accused of starving a dog for a month as it languished on a chain at her residence has been arrested by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and charged with ill-treatment of an animal.

Elizabeth Lena James was arrested Thursday evening and booked into the Johnson Detention Center. Laurens County Animal Control had already issued James a summons to appear in court on Sept. 10, but criminal charges could be filed only after an investigation by the LCSO.

The 6-month-old Rottweiler-Mastiff mix, now called Champ, was discovered by a passerby who called Laurens County Animal Control. He weighed about 50 pounds — less than half of what would be his normal weight of 110 pounds — when he was taken from the residence and rushed to Clinton Animal Hospital. Rescue Dogs Rock of New York City has since stepped in and taken the dog to a 24-hour emergency animal hospital in Irmo. The organization quickly raised more than $4,000 for the dog’s care through Internet donations.

“He will be monitored 24/7, is on IV fluids and meds an everything possible is being done to save his previous life,” the rescue organization wrote on its Facebook page.
In addition to severe starvation, Champ was infested with maggots and is inundated with hookworms, according to the Facebook page. He has also received blood transfusions and fluids.
LCAC Director Giles Gilmer said the dog was left in the care of James by her ex-boyfriend, but she did not care for or feed the dog because it belonged to the ex-boyfriend.

Champ at an Irmo animal hospital.

“From the information I received from her, it was not her dog, but she had possession of him for 30 days,” Gilmer said. “It was obvious that she was not caring for the dog.”

“He’s got a long recovery ahead.”
According to the Rescue Dogs Rock Facebook page, the dog’s former owner has come forward and identified him as “Ace.”
“The outpouring of support today for this sweet boy has been amazing,” the Facebook post from Rescue Dogs Rock read. “The messages have been flooding in all day which has helped restore our faith in humanity. We are as outraged as all of you are that this happened, in fact it makes us sick to our stomachs.”

The rescue organization posted again Friday morning that Champ’s numbers were still “way off,” and he will probably require another blood transfusion.

“Inhumane treatment of animals will not be tolerated on my watch” said Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds. “No
animal should have to go without food and water.”

A cash or surety bond of $15,000 was set for James Friday morning.


  1. Anne on August 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    This individual’s court appearance has been scheduled for Friday, October 19 at 9 AM at the Laurens County Courthouse. Over 500 people have expressed an interest in being at that hearing to make sure Champ gets the justice he deserves. You need to post the photo of what Champ looked like when he was found…I don’t believe people really understand the real depth of horror in which he was discovered.

  2. Pam Norman on August 20, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Elizabeth James is currently out on bond and I believe is charged with a misdemeanor. It is the opinion of many that the charge should be upgraded to a felony since her calculated, long-term, daily decision to withhold food and water from a chained animal meets the criteria outlined by the Code of Laws, section B: A person who tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon an animal or by omission or commission causes these acts to be done, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by imprisonment of not less than one hundred eighty days and not to exceed five years and by a fine of five thousand dollars.

    • Veronika on August 20, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Well said.

  3. John Windsor on August 21, 2018 at 7:41 am

    If Minnesota weren’t so far away, I’d come join the 500 people expected outside the court house. I do agree wholeheartedly with Pam Norman: the Laurens County prosecutor should upgrade this charge to a felony and press for the maximum punishment allowable. This vile excuse for a woman needs to suffer the lifelong disabilities that come from a felony conviction: permanent loss of voting rights, gun rights and recourse to public funds. Perhaps one beneficial result that might ensue from all this is that would-be animal abusers will realize their actions aren’t worth the consequences.

    I don’t know where the ex-boyfriend comes into play here. Why didn’t he take Champ with him? It seems to me that some kind of neglect or abandonment charges against him may be warranted.

    Many thanks to Sheriff Don Reynolds for his strong stand for Champ in this case. It sounds like you all have a really great sheriff.

  4. Ed Lee on August 23, 2018 at 11:43 am

    I agree that this despicable worthless woman should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and not just a misdemeanor charge. The good people in that area need to let the County Attorney know that a felony charge is all that will be accepted by the taxpayers of that community. That worthless piece of trash should spend years in prison, and hopefully the rest of her animals taken from her. She is obviously not fit to have any animal. And the owner of that poor dog should share in the blame, and should under no conditions get that dog back. I am so glad to see so many people who care for this dog and other animals.

  5. connie fiocco on September 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    We feel she deserves to go to jail … at least for a year or even more. We would like to see her go to jail for 3 years and no less. She is a cruel sadist who made an innocent, beautiful dog suffer unbelievable cruelty. Just a fine will NOT be suitable punishment. PLEASE GIVE HER SOME SUBSTANTIAL JAIL TIME AND SHE SHOULD REIMBURSE ALL MEDICAL EXPENSES BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENCE SHE INFLICTED ON THIS INNOCENT ANIMAL … ONE OF GOD’S CREATURES.

  6. Lynn Ronan on November 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    If she does this to an innocent dog, what is she capable of doing? She needs to spend a really long time in jail thinking about her actions. That is putting it nicely,

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