After seeing a story on the news about overcrowding at the Lee Co pound in SC, 12 year old Luke Giddings began volunteering at the facility. In the course of caring for a cat named Sylvester, the pair became best friends:
“Really, we bonded when I was giving him his medicine,” Luke said. “He was mad at me. Then, he just finally got over it and he was one of the most loving animals to me.”
The Giddings family decided to adopt Sylvester but the Lee Co pound director, Doris Winstead, said he had to be neutered first. After the surgery, Sylvester stopped eating and using the litter box and was very lethargic. Ms. Giddings contacted Doris Winstead to ask for details about the surgery. She says Ms. Winstead advised that Sylvester had been taken to a local vet, Dr. Ken Currie, and a tumor had been found and removed during the neuter. Ms. Giddings called Dr. Currie’s office to let them know she was bringing Sylvester in right away for a post-op check as he appeared to be very sick. Dr. Currie said he’d never seen Sylvester before, let alone performed neuter or tumor removal surgery on the cat.
Dr. Currie did examine Sylvester and was unable to definitively determine whether the cat had been neutered as the swelling was so great. Sylvester had a gaping wound which was infected and still bleeding.
Ms. Giddings says she asked Ms. Winstead again who did the surgery on Sylvester but she refused to say. Ms. Giddings filed a report with the police and the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating. Ms. Winstead has been suspended from the Lee Co pound. Media outlets have been unable to reach her for comment.
I hope SLED not only looks at Sylvester’s case but every other animal who has been “neutered” and/or shipped up north by the Lee Co pound under Ms. Winstead’s direction. If crimes have been committed, I hope the issue isn’t swept under the rug as we so often see in cases involving “just animals” and the “good people who do a hard job” who abuse them at so-called shelters.
Twelve year old Luke has been crying over his beloved cat who was needlessly butchered. I wonder if he’ll ever volunteer at a pound again or adopt another shelter pet. I hope Sylvester is able to fully recover in the care of his family and that no more pets will meet this same fate in Lee Co. I hate to think of the ones who went before.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)