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Over 100 animals found in deplorable condition transferred to safety of Charleston Animal Society
12/28/2015 4:50:43 PM

108 animals were rescued last night by Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and Charleston Animal Society in what may be the largest animal cruelty rescue operation ever in Charleston County.  As of last night, 72 rabbits, 32 cats and 4 dogs were taken in by Charleston Animal Society.  Authorities are returning to the scene today to continue rescuing more animals from the deplorable conditions.

Medical staff and veterinarians began assessing and treating the animals immediately last night as they began to arrive at the Animal Society.  Once the scope of the operation was determined, Animal Society staff were deployed to the scene to assist Charleston County Sheriff’s Office who led the rescue operation.

“The animals were kept in deplorable conditions and most were ill or injured,” stated Joe Elmore, Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer.  “This continued animal hoarding is needless cruelty committed by a known repeat offender and we strongly encourage law enforcement officials to bring full charges against the perpetrator,” stated Elmore. Donations to Toby's Fund for medical needs will help us to treat the animals from this horrific case.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), animal hoarding is a complex issue that encompasses mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns.  Animal hoarding is an inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care – often resulting in animal starvation, illness and death.  In the majority of cases, animal hoarders believe they are helping their animals and deny this inability to provide minimum care.

To adequately deal with the massive influx of these ill and injured animals, Charleston Animal Society has placed a temporary moratorium on the intake of animals unless they are deemed dangerous by animal control officers, injured or gravely ill.  All other services are open and the public is encouraged to visit the adoption center and make room for one more.

“Multiple animals can quickly overwhelm folks, but they need to be aware that adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care are required by South Carolina law,” stated Elmore.

There are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder:

·       They have numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in their care.

·       Their home is deteriorated (i.e., dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in the wall and floor, extreme clutter).

·       There is a strong smell of ammonia, and floors may be covered with dried feces, urine, vomit, etc.

·       Animals are emaciated, lethargic and not well-socialized.

·       Fleas and vermin are present.

·       The individual is isolated from the community and appears to neglect him- or herself.

·       The individual insists that all of their animals are happy and healthy—even when there are clear signs of distress and illness.

Criminal prosecution of animal hoarding can be a difficult process and may not be the most effective route, since hoarders are often emotionally troubled rather than criminally inclined.

“The bottom line is that if you feel like someone is in over their head with animals and that the animals might be suffering, please call your local law enforcement agency to get both the person and the animals much needed help,” stated Elmore.


Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Mary Sheffield Submitted: 12/28/2015
This is why I am moving out of SC and back to a state that has definitive laws protecting animals and enforcing them through jail time and fines. I find the District Attorney's lack of compassion towards these animals, and his lack of anger towards this female hoarder who been doing this for YEARS, unforgivable. But why am I surprised that animals are on the bottom rung along with the women in this state. After all, they do have the worst laws in all 50 states for violence against women. Why not throw helpless animals in that pile too?

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