Charges in South Carolina Abuse Case Could be Upgraded

Animal abuse charges against James Trexler will be upgraded from misdemeanors to felonies if a Richmond County grand jury hands down an indictment in his case.

According to Kelly Graham, spokesperson for the Richland County, S.C., Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (HSPCA), Fifth District Assistant Solicitor Jill Andrews will seek the indictment during court proceedings on Wednesday.

James Trexler, a former South Carolina Department of Agriculture assistant commissioner of administration, is currently charged with five counts of misdemeanor ill treatment of animals found on his property by HSPCA investigators last month.

"The solicitor wants to upgrade the charges because of the terrible conditions the horses were living in," Graham said.

Trexler was suspended from his position with the Department of Agriculture in February. He resigned on March 5, according to Department spokesperson Becky Walton.

Hazelene Trexler, James' mother, faces 28 misdemeanor animal abuse charges, and brother Terry Trexler is charged with 23 similar charges in South Carolina. Both are free on bond. According to Graham, the pair also posted bond in Georgia, where they face additional animal abuse charges.

Meanwhile, Graham said, the total of 45 horses seized from Trexler property in are doing well, gaining weight, and might be moving on to qualified foster homes soon. Now, she says, HSPCA is coping with the cost of caring for the horses.

"The bill for the first two weeks was $14,000," Graham said.

Plans for a fundraiser are underway, she said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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