Worst Animal Cruelty Case? 24 Dead Animals Found Inside Soldier's Fort Jackson House

Apr 24, 2017 05:15 AM EDT

Kurt Hafner, an Army staff sergeant at Fort Jackson, was arrested after carcasses of 24 dead animals were found inside his apartment in northeast Richland. He was charged with 24 counts of ill treatment to animals.

According to The State, the carcasses were found when Hafner was being evicted in his house, which was described by the police as filthy -- the floors were covered with feces, garbage and Hafner's belongings. Investigator Joseph Clarke said it is the worst animal cruelty case he's ever seen.

"This home was in disarray, to say the least," Clarke told  WISTV. "There was a lot of fecal matter from the K-9 that we found deceased. There was personal papers, residual ammunition and personal property belonging to the suspect. The house was in tremendously bad shape with a really bad odor of decomposition."

Among the dead animals are bearded dragons, poisonous snakes, turtles and a dog. The report added that the beagle-mix was found draped in a sheet. Most of the animals died as they were trying to escape their deplorable cages.

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According to Sheriff Leon Lott, based on the investigation, the animals have been left in the house without food and water since February.

As per Japan Stripes, the property managers decided to evict Hafner after he refused to let crews inside his unit for a routine maintenance. Before the eviction, neighbors had been complaining about the bad smell reeking from Hafner's unit. Hafner was taken into custody at Fort Jackson.

In many states, abandoning an animal is a criminal offense. However, most only offer misdemeanor charges that include fines and a short period of imprisonment.

According to ABC News, in 2003, five men were arrested after 150 animals from a wholesale pet business were found dead in a warehouse in Mount Vernon, New York. For the horrible act, they only paid a $1,000 fine and spent a year in prison.

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