Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Ellyn Jamie Johnson, 33(1) 2 dogs die in her care

Myrtle Beach, SC

Horry County

July 20, 2009  
Ellyn Jamie Johnson, 33(2) 3rd dog dies in her care, 1 cat seized

Myrtle Beach, SC

Horry County

January 27, 2010  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Misdemeanor animal cruelty

(1) 2 labrador retrievers

(2) bulldog pup & 1 cat

(1) Convicted

(2) Alleged

 

Horry County police have arrested a 33-year-old Myrtle Beach woman on charges she left two dogs to die in a kennel at her former home, according to a police report.

Ellyn Jamie Johnson, 33, of 113 Riverbrook Drive, Myrtle Beach, was charged with ill treatment of animals, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. Johnson was released on $1,500 bail later that evening.

According to the police report, an Horry County officer was called by a 27-year-old man who went to 104 Partridgeberry Road to prepare the house for resale because it had been foreclosed.

The man told police that as he walked around the house he saw a tarp and when he removed it, he found two dead dogs, which appeared to be black Labradors, inside a dog crate, according to the report.

The officer wrote in his report that neighbors said Johnson's husband is serving in Iraq and Johnson had been seen at the house "a couple of times over the last four months." The neighbors told police Johnson owned some cats, but they were not found inside the house.

Update 1/26/10:  A Conway magistrate sentenced a Myrtle Beach woman to 10 days in jail and fined her $1,092 after he convicted her of leaving her two black Labradors to die in a crate at her former home.

Johnson was found guilty after a bench trial before Magistrate Brad Mayers, who sentenced her to serve 10 days and jail and fined her on the misdemeanor charge of ill treatment of animals.

“Both of those Labs were extremely close to me,” Johnson testified. “As far as me doing anything to harm them in any way . . . that’s just not me. It’s not in my blood to harm animals.”

Johnson testified she gave the dogs to a man who lived in Loris, but she did not have any of his information because her computer had crashed and she met him via Craigslist. Johnson testified she saw the crate appear in her backyard a day or two before she was charged with the crime.

“How do you think they got there?” Assistant Solicitor Larry Filiberto asked Johnson during the trial. “I’m not sure,” she said.

Filiberto showed Johnson photographs of the dead dogs because she said she never went to the crate and looked at them when they were found in her yard. She said a friend told her there were three hound puppies in the crate.

“They’re not my dogs. From what you just showed me in the pictures, they’re not my dogs,” Johnson said.

A month before the dogs were found, Johnson testified she bought a Bulldog puppy for her husband, but a neighbor was watching that dog while she moved. During the time of the incident Johnson said her husband was in Iraq working as a contract firefighter.

Two of Johnson’s neighbors testified they were suspicious about the dogs whereabouts and the dogs found in the crate in the backyard of her former home at 104 Partridgeberry Road were Johnson’s dogs. The woman had watched the dogs on several occasions, they testified.  “She had said she had given them away,” said Dawn Marie Whitten, a neighbor who testified the last time she had seen the dogs was in the fall.

Shelly Passaro, Johnson’s friend, said she questioned her about the disappearance of the dogs, which she last saw in January 2008 and heard barking in Johnson’s garage in February. She said Johnson told her in March she had given the dogs away because she was forced to move because her house had been foreclosed.

“I’m glad it’s over and she’s getting punished for it,” Passaro said following the hearing. “It’s unthinkable. I have not talked to her since the day she got arrested.”

Horry County police charged Johnson after they were notified about two dogs found dead in a crate in her yard on July 20. Officer Andrew McSpadden testified he found the dogs inside a crate not big enough for two animals and there were no food or water dishes in it.

He said the cause of the dogs death was due to “neglect and the absence of food and water and the lack of proper shelter.”

  (Photo courtesy of the J. Reuben Long Detention Center - Johnson's mug shot)

Johnson said she got one of the dogs for her daughter’s second birthday and a year later got the second dog for her husband for Valentine’s Day, she testified. The dogs were ages six and seven.

“I’m an animal lover. I did everything I possibly could to find the animals a proper home. I don’t understand how the animals got to my property and why,” Johnson testified. “Anybody could have walked onto my property.”

At the end of the trial, Johnson told Mayers she didn’t understand she was having a trial and would have brought witnesses to testify on her behalf. When Mayers questioned her about the witnesses, Johnson could not provide their full names to him.

“Your testimony is not consistent at all. [Johnson testified] 'I don’t know how my dogs got back on the property’ and then you say they’re not your dogs at all,” Mayers said. “None of it makes any sense.”

Update 3/2/10:  A Myrtle Beach woman is awaiting a jury trial after she was charged in January with allowing a third dog in her care to die. That death occurred two days after she was convicted of the same charge for the deaths of two other dogs, according to officials with the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Johnson's case will be prosecuted in magistrate court, and she could have an initial appearance in court at the end of this month, solicitor Greg Hembree said. No specific date is set for her trial.

  (Photo courtesy of Tom Murray/The Sun News - Johnson in court)

Johnson has requested a trial before a jury, according to officials.

Johnson, of 113 River Brook Court, was charged in January with second-offense ill treatment of animals, police said. She was set to appear before a Conway magistrate, but she requested a jury trial.

Johnson's case has not been scheduled for trial.

In January, Conway Magistrate Brad Mayers convicted Johnson of the same charge in the death of two other dogs. Mayers ordered her to pay a $1,092 fine and sentenced her to 10 days in prison on the previous charge.

Johnson was released after five days and given credit for working while being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

But on Jan. 27, while Johnson was serving her prison sentence, police found a brindle bulldog dead inside Johnson's apartment, a day after she was convicted in the July deaths of a pair of Labrador retrievers while she lived on Partidgeberry Road.

In the latest charge, police found the puppy and a cat inside Johnson's apartment after officers obtained a search warrant for her apartment based on a call from the landlord about a foul odor in the unit, police said. The cat was taken into custody for treatment.

Both animals were uncaged inside the home and the dog was found dead in an upstairs bathroom, according to a police report. Neighbors reported hearing the dog, believed to be a puppy, crying and scratching inside the apartment.

Johnson's estranged husband, Alex Johnson, went to the house that morning to get the boxer, Jersey, when he found the dog was dead.

Another dog named Bentley was missing, but one of their daughters said the poodle was dead.

During a bench trial on Jan. 26, Johnson testified she would not harm animals and denied the dogs found dead in a crate in her yard in July were hers. She told the judge she gave the dogs to a man who lived in Loris, but she did not have any of his information because her computer had crashed and she met him via Craigslist.

Johnson testified she saw the crate appear in her backyard a day or two before she was charged with the crime and when she saw photos of the dead dogs inside the crate she said they were not hers.  "I'm an animal lover. I did everything I possibly could to find the animals a proper home. I don't understand how the animals got to my property and why," Johnson testified during her first trial. "Anybody could have walked onto my property."  But neighbors and one of Johnson's friends testified those dogs were hers.

Johnson testified during the trial that in June she got the bulldog puppy for her husband, who was in Iraq at the time of her initial arrest and from whom she is estranged.

Reference:

The Sun News