Rescue group defends itself against criticism

Rescue group defends itself against criticism

GRANITEVILLE, SC (WFXG) - L.E.A.S.H founder Lars Swearingen III admits he is a bit rough around the edges.

"I rub people the wrong way," he said. "And I step on toes every single day. And we do it for these dogs. Because these dogs need a voice."

He's been on the defensive since postings showed up on Craigslist and social media, accusing the group of "pan handling" in their quest for donations to fund their work.

"Keyboard commando, come on out," he said. "Get your hands with the dogs...see what we've got. Then, say what you need to say."

The organization started an online campaign for donations so they could move the dogs to a new, larger space; their current land lease is expiring soon.

Swearingen, his wife, and young daughter live in a camper on their current property. He said anyone who thinks they're misusing donations should take a walk in his shoes.

"I haven't lived inside a house in a year now," he explained. "I haven't slept on a real bed in a year. That's nuts."

He even invites the community to make direct donations to the dogs' veterinarian or even buy them supplies online.

"We actually encourage it more so to be donated directly to the vet," he said. "We have almost $2000 every month in vetting bills."

Swearingen said the community is welcome to come out anytime to see for themselves where all that money is going.

"Contact us," he urged. "Our email address is on our page. Our phone number is on our page. Our address is on our page. Come check for yourself. We have an open door."

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