Local dog breeder gets fine for nuisance charge
A local dog breeder was ordered to pay a fine during a court hearing earlier this week after pleading guilty to a nuisance charge brought forward by the county, according to Aiken County court records.
Bob Schwegler, owner of Angel Kiss Farms, accepted a plea deal that resulted in a $465 fine with no jail time.
The charge was made after complaints were made to Aiken County Animal Control regarding the conditions of 141 dogs kept at Schwegler’s Moore Road property. The nuisance charge was issued due to the animals living in unsanitary conditions.
According to locals who worked with rescues to remove over 100 dogs from the property last December, many of the dogs were in “filthy” condition, shy around people and had seemingly never received veterinary care. Some were infested with ticks and worms.
December’s rescue was not the first one. Aileen Daly, of Aiken, rescued a Bernese mountain dog named Toby from the property about five and a half years ago.
“It was kind of described to me as a hoarding situation with the ones that did not sell from the litters,” Daly said.
When Daly took in Toby, he was a little more than 6 months old, extremely shy and had a “massive” lesion on his shoulder that required a $1,000 surgery.
“He had a look on his face like a dog that was in pain,” Daly said. “His left leg from the shoulder down was half the size of his right leg.”
Daly said her vet told her the lesion was caused by malnutrition. She claims she searched for him on the farm’s website after his rescue and found he had previously been for sale for $2,000.
Although Toby was “scared of his own shadow,” Daly said his entire demeanor changed after having his surgery.
“It was like letting a horse out after it’s been locked in a stall for six months,” Daly said.
Schwegler, who has around 30 dogs remaining in his possession, also agreed to scheduled well-being checks from Animal Control for the dogs for one year as part of his plea deal.
During his court hearing on Jan. 9., Schwegler said, in an audio transcript of the hearing, there were plenty of “extenuating circumstances” that were “beyond his control.”
When asked if he owned 141 dogs, Schwegler responded: “Let’s rephrase that. The owner had 141 dogs. I just happened to be the husband, custodian and indentured servant. And I don’t want to go any further than that.”
Schwegler was referring to his wife, Jaci Schwegler.
Other charges related to animal welfare made by the county against the Schweglers go back more than three years, according to Aiken County court records.
In 2016, Jaci Schwegler was charged with animals creating a nuisance, to which she pleaded guilty.
In 2017, Jaci Schwegler was charged with vaccination of dogs/cats against rabies. She was found guilty in trial.
Bob Schwegler pleaded guilty to a charge for domestic animals at large in 2015.