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Defenders for Children designated 2022 an “Angel” charity

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – A Greenville charity is being honored for its commitment, but its founder says there’s more work to be done and they need your help.

Defenders for Children is one of 10 charities on the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Angel List this year, a select group of nonprofit organizations that give the majority of their spending directly to charitable causes.

At Defenders for Children, this money is used to buy electronic arrest dogs for law enforcement.

“In 2010, we started the Defenders for Children Organization because the level of child abuse in this beautiful community was very high,” said founder Toni Clark. “We heard about these wonderful tools… a dog that had the ability to find hidden electronic evidence.”

The first dog they placed was Queue, who works with deputies from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. They’ve since added four more dogs to law enforcement in South Carolina and another in Georgia.

Queue is specially trained to locate electronic devices such as micro SD cards that could contain evidence that MPs can use in investigating human trafficking, child pornography and sexual abuse.

“They’re trying to hide the devices, so the K9s are a valuable tool,” Clark said.

Sergeant Michael Rainey is Queue’s handler. He said they ran 100 searches together, and Queue found more than 75 devices.

Rainey said she even found micro SD cards no bigger than a fingernail hidden in cell phone charging blocks.

Clark said every piece of evidence is crucial.

“A forgotten device can mean the life of a child,” Clark said. “We cannot afford to have any equipment missing.”

Because of this, Clark wants every law enforcement agency that deals with child crime to be provided with a dog. She hopes people will remember Defenders for Children this Giving Tuesday.

“Our motto is gifts are great, but life without child abuse is so much better and there are so many children who need life without pain,” Clark said. “That’s what we really need to focus on.”

You can donate directly to Defenders for Children by clicking here.

You can also attend the group’s Miracle Bash, a community event benefiting Defenders for Children and sponsored by Southernside Brewery on December 1st. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and lasts until 9:00 p.m. There will be dozens of Christmas trees, 40,000 lights, Christmas face painting and live music.

The event is free to attend, but a $40 donation gets you a VIP pass and access to two drink menus, a candy bar, appetizers from Southernside and The Cook Station, and more. For full event details click here.

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