SC Pound Director Suspended After Cat Suffers Botched Surgery

Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.
Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.

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.)

28 thoughts on “SC Pound Director Suspended After Cat Suffers Botched Surgery

  1. Well, that did it. As my mum used to say, better out than in. Poor kitty. What I’m thinking likely happened, there’s not enough brain bleach to remove.

    Dear Sylvester: I am so, so sorry you suffered through this. Please get better.

    Does anyone know if there’s a fund raiser to help with this guy’s vet bills?

    1. Hey I’m the cats owner it’s very nice to see he has recovered, in lee county you can’t expect much out of the courts they have swept it under the rug, but he is doing super well and I appreciate you wanting to donate to his vet bill but it all has been tooking care of again thanks so much……

  2. Betcha whoever did the neuter is not a licensed vet . . . I so hope that Sylvester heals and can go home to his family. And I hope that the family doesn’t let this go away quietly. That director ought to be fired, first for allowing such things to happen and next, for covering it up. DISGUSTING!!!

    1. No, it seems to be being swept under the rug and all quiet. I have sent info to WISTV for an investigation and to keep up with this story. Have to have more than me requesting I guess. If anyone would like to send a request to the station here is the link. Then to see the submit a story or info is in the center of the page below the headlines

  3. i use to work at this shelter and I cant tell u how many times I shedded tears from the abuse this woman would give the animals there …i will not get into details on here but I know u can imagiene what went on there ….i worked there almost a year and a half and when something went on she would tell me and my daughter if we wanted our job there we needed to keep our mouth shut ……soo many times i wanted to say something and one day i walked out and went to the courthouse bout her and the story they gave me was unreal …well i got a call from them for me to come back to work not for the snake that worked there but for me to care for the animals and to hang in there till the new shelter was built …well after about 2 weeks she did something else i did not agree with and i quit …went and filed a report on the place and lee county did nothing to her but patted her on her back and never did anything …i hope justice is served

    1. Thank you for trying to get the abuse stopped Sue. The thing I am most curious about in light of Sylvester’s story is whether you saw any animals suffer unusual complications post-neuter like this cat did. –

      1. This shelter does not usually spay/neuter the animals. There is no veterinarian on staff there. My understanding is it was just the Director, maybe another paid employee and volunteers. I can assure you Dr. Currie did not do this. He is an awesome vet. I used him years ago when I lived there, my mother, relatives and friends still use him and they think he is wonderful. This shelter is getting ready to send a dog to a “wonderful rescue up north who saw his photo and is going to train him to detect seizures in a 9 yo boy”. I have never heard of a therapy dog being adopted many hundreds of miles away without anyone meeting him, temperment testing, etc.

  4. I’m disgusted by our legal system toward animal abuse! The problem is easily resolved: Fire the bitch and closely monitor actions at the shelter!

  5. Wonder if they had the science teacher from Georiga come UN to do some educatuon? These AC/shelters lie all the time.

  6. Unless things have changed, under SC laws , if you are the owner of the cat , you can neuter the cat. No DVM license needed. I learned this very early into my career in veterinary medicine.

      1. Wow,, really. I have never heard that and I have worked for vets. I know it says that techs can perform feline neuters under direct supervision of licensed vet. I will have to talk to the vets, as I am sure they know the law. That is horrible. I wonder what anesthesia this poor kitty had, as my understanding is anesthesia is a Class III controlled substance

      2. Apparently, the cat had no anesthesia. The students held the cat down for the “procedure”. One student was bitten in the process.

        This is animal cruelty indoctrination, there is no way around that fact.

      3. I’m still looking for details on the owner can neuter thing. I can say , under the veterinary practice act , techs are not allowed to perform any procedure that permanently alters the appearance of an animal ie: pulling teeth and doing ear tips have both been called into question. BUT, animals are considered property. Gives wide leeway ,there. The old ,”stick their head in a boot” thing was legal, if it was your own cat.

  7. I wonder why the ALDF doesn’t get involved in these cases? Unfortunately the only org I know that does is PeTA and their answer is to kill em all.
    If ALDF got involved in bringing a law suit against the cities/counties that allow this I would hope we could make meaningful changes in the broken shelter systems. Getting hit in the pocket is about the only thing they understand.

  8. I am the boy that owns Sylvester it has not been swept under the rug she has been fired I am very happy to say Sylvester is still alive and once again active if u need to contact me at anytime please feel free to call me at 803-486-4155

  9. Thanks everyone I am very upset that not a lot was done against her but one thing I will say is I will continue my work at the shelter because that’s what god has called me to do . I will continue to update if anything changes I am very glad she is no long there and I did love her is used to call her grandma and she used to pick me up sometimes or just take me for ride to Sumter or the vet I never thought she would hurt a fly after knowing her for 6years I started to see the abuse to other animals one time she couldn’t get a dog to die she had to stab it 15 times and it still wouldn’t so she then dragged it into a bathroom and waited to animal patrol left and then finished the situation. I do not like see any harm done in animals and that is why a group of us have decided to start helping the communities animals. Again thanks for everything if you have any questions you are more then welcome to call or text me 803-486-4155

  10. i’m totally sick of it already! What’s it gonna take to clean up this shelter mess?

  11. Hey everyone, It is so sad that I announce that Sylvester passed away this past month. Sylvester passed away on a snowy day in his room with lots of toys and heat. He loved to watch out the window. He was a good cat. May he forever be remembered.

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