Crime & Courts

South Carolina Woman Gets Jail Time For Animal Neglect

Colleton County woman ran nonprofit “rescue …”

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A South Carolina magistrate judge sentenced a Summerville woman to ten days behind bars on animal neglect charges in a case involving the horrific treatment of animals by a woman purporting to run a rescue sanctuary.

Kimberly Brianne Couture, 42, was sentenced by magistrate judge Elbert O. Duffie after she pleaded guilty last month to 39 counts of failing to provide care to animals and one count of failing to properly dispose of a deceased animal. Couture’s plea followed several hours of testimony by veterinarians, animal control officers, a shelter volunteer and a horse rescue representative.

Duffie sentenced Couture to ten days in jail for one of the horses, ten days in jail for one of the dogs and a day in jail per animal for the remaining 37 animal charges – with these sentences running concurrently. He also imposed a $200 fine for the improper burial or disposal of a dead animal.

Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, on May 26, 2022 Colleton County officials obtained and executed a search warrant on a property rented by Couture on Running Creek Lane in Cottageville, S.C. This property was leased by Couture as a sanctuary for an animal rescue nonprofit, “Healing Hearts from Sole to Soul.”

When officers arrived on the property, they found numerous animals in deplorable conditions.



“Many of the animals were in very poor body condition and most were living in poor conditions, including piles of old feces, dirty water and little to no shelter for the dogs,” a release from Colleton County’s animal services division noted. “Additionally, the remains of at least two animals were found at the fence line of a neighboring property covered with used cat litter and other refuse.”

Animal control officials took custody of 61 animals including 20 goats, 15 dogs, 13 cats, six horses, one calf and two chickens.

Colleton animal services director Laura Clark praised the efforts of her staff and volunteers who “worked several hours per day for weeks to feed and provide medical care and improve the living conditions for the animals until they could all be removed and new homes could be found.”

As for the sentence, she said it sent a “strong message that failure to follow the state laws and county ordinances in Colleton County will result in consequences.”

This media outlet has broken several animal neglect and cruelty cases recently. Anyone with information on similar cases is urged to reach out to us in addition to contacting local law enforcement or their local animal control office.



(Colleton County)



Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at



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Laurin Burch Top fan May 28, 2024 at 4:16 pm

WTF is wrong with Colleton Co?

Tom May 28, 2024 at 4:28 pm

The punishment was nothing but a slap on the wrist. It should have been one month of jail time for each incidence of animal abuse running consecutive or better yet, let her serve her time living in the same conditions as the Animals she abused. Animal abusers are worthless human beings. Just like Kristi Noem.

Sheriff Buford T. Justice Top fan May 28, 2024 at 4:59 pm

Tom I definitely am with you on that one. She got off with a walk in the park! Ten days sitting on her Sorry Ass in the Colleton County Jail what a joke!

SubZeroIQ May 28, 2024 at 7:16 pm

Prison-pushers, have some imagination!
What good did 10 days, or longer or shorter time would, do for the animals with the wrong doers sitting idle in jail?
The punishment should have been some ACTIVE cleaning and feeding for the very abused/neglected animals with incarceration used only as a last resort upon PERSISTENT and UNEXCUSED failure to do the remedial work.
Jails/prisons are intellectual laziness worse than the woman’s physical laziness in neglecting the animals.

Tom May 29, 2024 at 11:24 am

Our system is not set up for that. And I would never let this person within ten feet of an animal again. Forcing her to care for them will only put them at further risk. They need care from someone who will care for them and love them. There is no rehabilitating a person like this. Punishment is deterrence. Jail time is deterrence but not ten days. If you know when you abuse an animal you are going to spend months in prison, which means you will probably lose your house, your car, etc. you may think twice; and even if you won’t think twice, seeing you sit your ass in jail for months may deter someone else. As I said, to me animal abusers are worthless human beings; so whatever punishment our system of justice doles out will not likely be enough for me.

Reginald Farr Top fan May 29, 2024 at 12:46 pm

Is there a back story? Was she granted money or given charitable contributions under the guise of looking out for animals but spent the money elsewhere?


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