Anderson County deputies have taken four siblings into custody after three puppies were stolen from Anderson County PAWS.
Deputies said, on March 12, two men and two women entered the shelter and spent several minutes in the dog section.
"They talked with our adoption counselors at the front desk. They walked in got three dogs and walked out through one of our unauthorized areas through the dog park and left with the three dogs," said Jessica Cwynar, director of PAWS.
Cwynar said the group picked from three different cages and picked three different dogs. The dogs were a black and white terrier/American pit bull mix, a black and white American blue tick/heeler mix and black and white border collie/retriever mix.
She said one of the puppies had already been promised to someone else.
"It bothers me that they didn't take the time. Our adoptions fees are low, some of the lowest in the Upstate," Cwynar said.
On Tuesday, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said the suspects had been identified as Kenneth Lewis, 22; Randle Lewis, 20; Cassidy Lewis, 19; and Taylor Lewis, 17.
Lt. Sheila Cole said the suspects are siblings from Greenville.
According to Pickens County online jail records, Cassidy Lewis and Randle Lewis were both charged with petit larceny and third degree burglary on March 4 for another incident.
Details of the Pickens County incident were not available at this time.
According to Cole, warrants have been signed on all four subjects for petit larceny, and they were in custody on Tuesday afternoon. They appeared before a judge Wednesday morning for bond hearings where they were given PR bonds and told to stay away from PAWS until the case is over.
Perry Sprayberry, Cassidy Lewis' fiance, said he defends her as she thought she was doing something right by taking the puppies from the shelter and giving them loving homes.
"If we see a stray on the side of the road or whatever, you know she'll always want to stop and pick it up," Sprayberry said.
He said he didn't know about the incident until later receiving a text from Cassidy.
"She had the right intentions but just went about it the wrong way," Sprayberry said.
Sprayberry said Cassidy told him the puppies are in good homes.
"The people that have them right now are taking care of them and loving them and feeding them," Sprayberry said.
And on Facebook, one of the suspects allegedly commented on why they took the puppies. In one post, a profile under the name Taylor Lewis commented, "We saved those pups they had been in those cages for at least a month and one had no water."
But Cwynar said that's not the case. She said just because dogs are in a kennel does not mean they're being abused, and they make sure the animals have the proper amount of food and fresh water.
Cwynar said they would like to have the puppies back, and whoever has them does not have the records on the dogs.
"It bothers me because now those people have no justifications of where those animals came from or any procedures that have been done to those animals," Cwynar said.
Cole said the puppies have not been recovered at this time. She said investigators are attempting to determine the location of the puppies and recover them.
Sheriff John Skipper thanked the community for help in the case, saying they were able to quickly identify the Lewises from all of the tips they received.
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