Laurens Police make cruelty, neglect charges


Child Neglect, Ill Treatment of Animals Alleged.



Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - WLBG on-line


Laurens City Police have charged two adults with Neglecting children. They and a third adult are charged with Ill Treatment of Animals. Arrests were reportedly made Monday in the cases.

31-year-old Michael Anthony Beheler and 29-year-old Shanda Leigh Miler of 1025 South Harper Street, Laurens are charged with three counts of Unlawful Neglect of Children by Legal Custodian. An investigation of Sgt. Billy Sellers is cited in allegations that they neglected three minor children Monday by failing to provide adequate living conditions. The three minor children were reportedly exposed to numerous health hazards while in the care of Mr. Beheler and Ms. Miller including a large amount of animal feces throughout the living quarters. Flea and ringworm infestations were also cited. It’s also alleged there was an overall lack of basic housekeeping at 1025 South Harper.

Mr. Beheler, Ms. Miller and 57-year-old Sherry Lorene Rodriquez of Linda Drive, Laurens are each facing four charges of Ill Treatment of Animals. Warrant allege that there were 14 canines in their direct care. Four of these dogs were reportedly found severely malnourished, leading to one of the dog’s death. Warrants allege the remaining animals were infested with fleas, ringworm and other medical ailments.

Michael Anthony Beheler and Shanda Leigh Miller remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $15,000 on the Child Neglect charges and $2,000 on the four Ill Treatment of Animal warrants. Sherry Lorene Rodriquez has been released on bonds totaling $2,000 on the Ill Treatment of Animal cases.




On Friday, Nov. 22, around 2 p.m., Laurens County Animal Control responded simultaneously to 2 separate locations in Cross Hill that resulted in multiple animal seizures at each location along with multiple misdemeanor and felony level charges.

Although the responses were simultaneous, the incidents were unrelated. An officer responded to a location on JohnGrant Street, Cross Hill, for a welfare check. Upon arrival the officer first observed 3 dogs that were severely malnourished with no clean water or food.  They were tethered using heavy chains.  

Further investigation revealed a total of 7 dogs on the property. Only 3 were of acceptable weight. The chains on these animals were so heavy that on one dog, the chain caused a severe laceration to the neck.  

All 7 dogs on the property were seized and several had to be transported to a local animal hospital for treatment where 2 of them remain. Multiple local citations were issued and this incident has been referred to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for consideration of further charges.

The second location was on Aberdare Dr Cross Hill where we were requested to respond by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for multiple animals living in deplorable conditions. When we arrived, we found 16 cats and one large dog living in a single wide mobile home that was littered in feces and urine, fleas, trash and rotten food. The amount of roach bug and spider infestation in the home was terrifying. Surprisingly, all the animals were of substantial weight.  

A total of 12 cats and one dog were taken from the residence. The other 4 cats were able to escape capture into the wooded area behind the home. We will continue to try to get those animals to safety, as well. 15 citations for violations of the Humane Care ordinance were issued and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office obtained felony warrants for Ill Treatment of Animals in this case.

Our shelter was already beyond capacity before these cases; and with the seizure of 20 additional animals, our officers worked well into the night along side the agents from neighboring counties who graciously stepped in to assist Laurens County Animal Control and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office to get these animals to safety. These were just 2 of the 3 felony abuse/neglect cases we responded to in the past week. Animal cruelty and neglect continues to be a problem in Laurens County.  

There is NO excuse for starving an animal in Laurens County.  There is no excuse to not provide animals in your care the basic needs of adequate shelter from the elements, food and constant access to fresh water.  If you need help reach out to our shelter.

The Laurens County Animal Control department is committed to the prevention and aggressive prosecution of these cases.  We are most thankful for Sheriff Don Reynolds and his deputies who demonstrate this same passion on a daily basis. We hope that Solicitor David Stumbo and his office will share in this commitment in the felony cases for prosecution and seek maximum sentencing in Animal Cruelty cases. Only then will we start to see a solution to this problem.

Our shelter remains full and we need adopters, fosters and rescues.  Donations can be made at the shelter, 79 Mount Vernon Church Road, Laurens, SC or by mail: Laurens County Animal Control P.O. Box 238 Laurens, SC 29360.You can view our available animals at which is updated live as animals come in or are adopted out of our shelter. Also on that page there is a donations list and a link to our Amazon Wish List.Please understand that the Laurens County Animal Shelter is not the same or in any way related to the Laurens Humane Society. We are separate entities. 

In addition to these cases, we had another case this morning where we seized 13 more dogs.  Please help us adopt out some of the animals that can be adopted to make room for the court case dogs.



Geoff Brown, 

Laurens County

Litter/Humane Supervisor

864-984-6812 Office

864-681-3179 Direct Line


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