Last weekend Orangeburg County, South Carolina officials responded to a tip about an unoccupied home on Honeysuckle drive. When Animal Control officers arrived they saw several cats looking out the windows and found the house structurally unstable with no one living there. The home was in such bad condition it was condemned by the County Building and Codes officer.
Sixty-three cats and four dogs were found on the property. The homeowner was located and surrendered the cats to Orangeburg County Animal Control and Shelter. From what I’ve heard they were able to find homes for the dogs, but the shelter is struggling to find rescues to take in some of the healthier cats. Cage after cage occupied any clear space at the shelter, including the puppy room (which thankfully wasn’t full of puppies).
On Wednesday, the Charleston Animal Society mobile clinic arrived with a team of three veterinarians experienced in hoarding cases. Within thirty minutes of prep work, the first of the cats were being examined. Many are healthy, but many are suffering from tapeworms (caused by fleas in the home), upper respiratory problems and eye issues caused by high levels of ammonia in the home. All were examined, checked for microchips and tested for infectious diseases. Unfortunately, 10 cats tested positive for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and at least one tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
For the Love of a Paw, along with Aiken Humane Society and the Palmetto Animal League have already taken or plan to take 40+ cats from the Orangeburg shelter. Hopefully, those cats will soon have new forever homes. Homes where the homeowner doesn’t get in over their head and take on more cats than they can handle.
Chasity Avinger with For the Love of a Paw rescue reported they’re in desperate need of disposable cat litter boxes and small towels. If you would like to donate, contact Avinger at her law firm at 803-854-0115. Donations can also be sent to P.O. Box 1377, Santee, SC 29142, or through their Facebook page.
Just to show how well cat advocates band together, a cat lover in Texas donated $2,500 to the rescue effort and a local Food Lion grocery donated bags of litter from a local distribution center. A big shout out also goes to Tiger Mike, the owner of Lazy Creek, who is helping feed the cats.
Suzy’s Zoo has reached out to help the FeLV and FIV kitties, but no final arrangements have been made, so that’s another concern that needs addressing. The Orangeburg shelter is still in need of help, not only for these cats but for others already at their facility. If you can help in any way, from fostering to rescue to donating supplies, please contact the shelter at (803) 534-0045 and ask them what is needed at this time.
The cats aren’t up for adoption at this time, mainly due to health issues and socialization problems. The shelter is not taking in community cats at this time until the crisis is over. Updates will be posted to their Facebook page.
As for the hoarder, no names have been released because Orangeburg County Animal Control officers are gathering evidence to present to the solicitor for charges of animal cruelty and neglect.
If any of the rescues who have taken these cats into their rescue need help, leave a comment and where to send relief.