Summerville Woman Sentenced to Jail for Animal Neglect


On May 21, 2024, Colleton County Magistrate Judge Elbert O. Duffie sentenced Kimberly Brianne Couture of Summerville, SC to spend 10 days in jail in Colleton County, South Carolina. On April 27, 2024, Kimberly Couture entered a guilty plea to 39 counts of failure to provide care to animals and one count of failure to properly dispose of a dead animal after hearing several hours of testimony by two veterinarians, three animal control officers, a shelter volunteer and a horse rescue representative.

Based on a complaint by a concerned citizen, Colleton County Animal Control obtained and served a warrant on May 26, 2022 at a property leased by Couture on Running Creek Lane, in Cottageville, SC. Once on scene, Animal Control found that 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. 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 took custody of 61 animals, including 15 dogs, 20 goats, 13 cats, 6 horses, 1 calf and 2 chickens.

“Animal Control Officer Martin did an excellent job of collecting, organizing and presenting a wealth of evidence in this case.” said CCAS Director, Laura Clark. “Our staff and numerous volunteers 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. This truly was a team effort.” Clark added, “We want to send a strong message that failure to follow the state laws and county ordinances in Colleton County will result in consequences.”

Couture leased the property on Running Creek as a facility for her rescue, Healing Hearts from Sole to Soul. Judge Duffie sentenced Couture to 10 days in jail for one of the horses, 10 days in jail for one of the dogs and 1 day in jail per animal for the remaining 37 animal charges and a $200 fine for the improper burial or disposal of a dead animal. Because he ordered the days to be served concurrently, Couture will spend 10 days in jail. Officer Martin, a nationally certified Animal Cruelty Investigator, responded to this sentence by saying, “In court, we don’t always get the verdict or sentence we like but every guilty charge is an animal that is now in a better home, being loved.”