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By Heather Walters
An animal cruelty case out of Green Pond has sparked outrage across the Lowcountry, prompting local authorities to reopen their case against the accused woman and her boyfriend.
The ordeal began on March 24th, when a teacher at Hendersonville Elementary School called the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. According to a report filed with the sheriff’s office, a 10-year-old boy told that teacher that “something bad” had happened at his Green Pond house. The report states that the boy’s pregnant dog defecated inside the house. This caused the boy’s mother – Niffatina Coppadge – to force the boy to take his dog outside. There, the woman fired multiple shots at the dog, nearly hitting the boy, the report states. Then, the boy claims his mother’s boyfriend burned the dog and buried it.
Authorities went to the boy’s house on Bowers Road in Green Pond, where the mother originally denied the claims. However, authorities found a burn spot in the backyard. There, they dug and uncovered the dog’s carcass. Then, the woman claimed it must have been a “stray” dog.
Coppadge is listed as a New York native who is living with her three children in Green Pond.
The Colleton County Animal Control office then launched an investigation into the incident. Consequently, the Colleton County Animal Control Office says Coppadge is being fined $480 for her part in shooting the dog. That is the maximum amount allowable for the animal cruelty charge under county law. The animal cruelty charge is also a magistrate-level offense, meaning Coppadge will not serve any jail time, according to officials with the county animal control office.
Those same officials could not specify whether or not the boyfriend of the accused is being investigated for his part in allegedly burning the dog and then burying it.
Meanwhile, the Colleton County Department of Social Services is refusing to comment as to whether or not there is an open investigation involving this house. There are three children living in the house – including the 10-year-old boy who brought forward the complaint. An original incident report does not state that the children were removed from the house for protective custody. Officials with the local DSS were called to the house by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office; however, local DSS officials will only issue a “no comment” as to whether they are actively involved in this investigation.
On Friday, April 7th, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office announced it is reopening its investigation into the animal cruelty case. “At the request of the Colleton County Animal Control, the Sheriff’s Office will be assisting with the investigation to determine if any further charges are warranted,” Lt. Tyger Benson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said in a written statement.