There are new developments in a story I’ve been following here in SC. PETA sent an undercover investigator to work 5 days a week for 6 months at an Horry Co cat sanctuary. PETA then released a compilation video made during the undercover investigator’s time at the sanctuary and stated the cats were living “in squalor and consistent deprivation of everything that is natural to them”. They wanted the county to bring cruelty charges against the sanctuary owner.
Prosecutors on the case countered that inspections made by ACOs which included a vet and an assistant prosecutor revealed no “unbelievable atrocities”. In fact, the assistant prosecutor “said he personally looked at each of the more than 300 animals living in tiered crates inside the shelter and saw no evidence of abuse or neglect – or the filthy, cramped conditions PETA alleges”.
The owner had been charged with improper care of animals last September when PETA had approached authorities about the sanctuary.
After PETA went public with their video and allegations last month, a judge issued an order to seize the cats and Horry Co authorities removed 237 cats and 1 dog from the sanctuary owner this week. The numbers break down as follows:
- 107 cats killed
- 101 cats being treated for medical problems by the county
- 29 cats returned to the sanctuary owner
- 1 dog returned to sanctuary owner
Regarding the 107 cats who were killed:
The county said the 107 cats euthanized by a licensed veterinarian was suffering from multiple medical conditions including severe infestation of herpes and ringworm, anal maggots, severe gum disease and missing teeth, tumors/lesions, multiple abdominal abscesses, seizures and cracked and bloody pads on their feet.
I am having trouble reconciling the assistant prosecutor, a vet, and some ACOs finding no evidence of neglect while personally examining 300 cats with the words “anal maggots”. I can see perhaps missing gum disease on some cats and even possibly abscesses and bloody feet (although I wouldn’t think the vet performed a very thorough exam if these things were missed on most or all of the affected cats), but the idea that animal professionals specifically investigating claims of neglect and lack of medical care are going to miss anal maggots seems unlikely to me. I didn’t see the abscesses or maggots in the PETA video either.
All this leaves me wondering where exactly the truth lies in this case. On the one hand, this woman allegedly allowed cats in her care to suffer and literally rot in cages. On the other hand, she is apparently a good enough owner to pass a vet inspection and get 31 pets back. What do you think?