By Elisa Black-Taylor
There’s an animal hoarding situation coming to an end less than an hours drive from where Laura and I live. I’m not even sure whether I should call it hoarding since almost all of the animals were dead. It happened in Laurens, SC-a small close-knit southern town. I heard about this on the news, and did an article which can be found here.
CAUTION: DO NOT READ THIS WHILE EATING!
This incident involving animal hoarding is different than any I’ve ever heard of. When I caught the story on the late news, it told of how Rebecca Keith and her daughters Amanda and Sara were keeping dead animals inside the home and on the property. Not only were there dogs and cats, there were birds, deer and horses. There were animals found in the freezer and refrigerator, which was really horrible since the electricity had been cut to the house a few months ago. Apparently the ladies couldn’t pay the power bill or the rent. This is how they were discovered in the first place. Lauren’s County Sheriff’s Department had served an eviction notice given by landlord Jason English. The situation was discovered on the return visit by law enforcement to be sure the ladies were preparing to leave the property. They could smell the dead animals and investigated.
The ladies are debating the fact that at least 80 animals were found dead inside the house and outside around the property. Apparently there were still some live animals living there, since there was feces and urine on the floor. Several malnourished horses had to be transported to a local horse rescue, and animals were found dead in bowls and garbage bags found on the property.
Now for what I find strange. The three women had been transporting the animals with them whenever they moved from one residence to another. They couldn’t bear to part with any of their beloved pets. So instead of burying them, they put them in bags and such and kept them in freezers. They told a news reporter for WSPA7 that they couldn’t bear to part with them, so they would move the dead pets when they themselves went to a new residence. They also say there were only 20 dead animals on the property instead of 80 as told by the local media. Some of the animals had been dead for more than seven months.
I don’t know what their explanation is for all the animal carcasses found outside. The ladies said on camera that their veterinarian told them it was legal to keep dead animals in the freezer. I hope he wasn’t aware how many were frozen, or that the house had no electricity. The conditions of the freezer/refrigerator were horrible. Maggots and flies covered everything, and this is also where the family kept food they were eating.
The women were arrested for mistreatment of animals, as well as improper disposal of an animal. They have now been released on bond and were allowed to return to the home just long enough to gather personal possessions. The property owner is now left with the nasty job of cleaning up the property.
This isn’t the only time the Keith women have been trouble with the law for animal cruelty. The home they were living in back in 2006 was destroyed in a fire. At that time, emergency personnel discovered a hoarding situation/mistreatment of animals and the ladies were arrested for that offense.
I know this story is upsetting. I haven’t covered the horror stories on PoC for a long time, as the readers decided awhile back they don’t want to read about animal abuse any more than they have to. But this story is different. I’ve never heard of keeping dozens of dead animals just because the owner can’t bear the part of leaving them behind when they move. It was jaw-dropping to hear the ladies explain to news reporters of how it was an act of love to keep the dead bodies near them. These ladies seem convinced there’s nothing wrong about what they did. They also offered no explanation for what killed all of the animals outside the house. Most likely neglect.
What do the readers here think of this case?