SC cats abandoned and left to die: Officials won’t act because rent is paid until December 10

There’s an emergency situation taking place in Lancaster, South Carolina that has cat advocates very concerned. Cats have been abandoned in a home on Daystar Road and are slowly starving.

UPDATE: Six of the cats were taken by the cat’s owner to Lancaster County Animal Control. A rescue is needed to get them out and fosters or adopters are needed after that happens. Since they’re considered “owner surrenders” they may be killed for space at any time.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Screenshot of cat behind chair

The house was rented out for several years. The property owner recently received a report from the neighbors that no one had been at the home for over a month and the neighbors were concerned. The property owner later went to the rental home where it was discovered that the home was trashed badly and 18 cats were left in the house with no food or water.

There are no litterboxes and the cats or living in their own feces. Animal Control was called and said that because the renter has paid until December 10 there’s nothing they can do on their end. Animal Control recommended to the property owner that feeding of the cats. Because they are still considered their property until after December 10, the cats may not be allowed to be removed from the property without an official order.

Click here for a video taken of the cats in the home (Facebook video so it will be slow to load)..UPDATE: SORRY, video has been deleted at YouTube and is therefore non-functioning here.

The electricity is turned off so the cats are living with no heat, no water, and no food. Since cats are considered property, they can’t be removed from the home without going through the proper channels. Click here for the Lancaster County government website.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Why can’t food and water be provided until the time the cats can be removed from the home? Or an animal rescue or even Animal Control take over their care until something is decided.

I hesitated to write this article because I’d hate for the people to lose their cats if they planned to return. After learning the electricity had been turned off, this SCREAMS of animal abandonment and is a crime. Perhaps the police are trying to build a case. Perhaps they just don’t care…

I do believe if authorities wait until December 10 they’ll go into the home to remove more than a dozen dead cats who died a slow and agonizing death.


Lancaster County Animal Shelter
118 Kennel La., Lancaster SC 29720
803-286-8103 Fax: 803-286-7907
Email: animal@lancastercountysc

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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31 Responses

  1. Elisa Black-Taylor says:

    Update for Wednesday night There were 16. 6 were adopted prior to the remaining 10 being taken to the shelter. 1 was adopted from the shelter, 9 are being fostered and one is loose in the shelter.

  2. Elisa Black-Taylor says:

    Update on Tuesday night is 5 kittens are in foster care and will go to a Maryland rescue next week. Three adults will need forever homes. I’ll post more once I hear anything.

  3. Louise Burns says:

    It’s unfortunate that the video was ever put up on facebook, it alerted renters who now so far have dumped 10 cats at ac…

    • Elisa says:

      Don’t think that way Louise. We’d have had another Julianne Westberry with a bunch of dead cats. I doubt whether the owner of the cats would have returned had word not gotten out about the cats being abandoned.

  4. Louise Burns says:

    It’s unfortunate that the video was ever poo UT up on facebook, it alerted renters who now so far have dumped 10 cats at ac…

  5. Elisa says:

    The landlord and her son are working hard to get the cats out so stop bashing them. They’ve contacted officials. You can be arrested if you enter and remove property.

  6. Louise says:

    PROPERTY OWNER has been told they CANT enter house till after DEC 10..
    CATS considered property in that state!!!!!!

  7. Aloma Kirby says:

    I would fight hell and half of Georgia to take care of those precious starving cats. I saw no food bowls or water bowls in the video, so where is evidence someone has provided these for the cats? Sorry, but anyone who has access to that home is just as guilty of neglect as the one who moved out if they don’t show compassion for these cats. To hell with so called “laws”, you have moral obligations to care for God’s creatures. If you don’t, then shame on you all. The road to hell is paved with “good intentions “. Act now, for crying out loud!!

  8. James Russell says:

    Better yet what’s the Renters name?
    Sounds like a Slum lord to me if they knew these animals were in there and the Renters have moved out
    They should have went inside and has the animnals removed. Just another lancaster county AC Excuse not to do there job. This was a clear case of abuse.

  9. M. E. King says:

    This is pure BS and the officials letting it happen need to be charged with animal cruelty. They can most certainly get an order to enter the property under emergency situations and remove the pets. It shouldn’t have taken more than 24 hours to go in there and remove the cats. I am ashamed of the way domestic pets are treated in America. For all the fluff our laws protecting them are barbaric.

  10. Louise says:

    UPDATE: 6 of the 18 cats have been turned into the Lancaster Animal Shelter by the owners and will be put down due to overcrowding in the shelter! Help find a home for these cats!
    Lancaster County Animal Shelter
    118 Kennel La., Lancaster SC 29720
    803-286-8103 Fax: 803-286-7907
    Email: animal@lancastercountysc

  11. Tammy says:

    I’ve heard of plenty of cases where animals were removed from a home due to neglect or abuse.. How is this any different?

  12. Louise says:


  13. Albert Schepis says:

    Doesn’t make sense. So, as long as rent is paid or an abode is intact or whatever, it’s okay to starve animals, especially legal pets? No I don’t think so. Also, what about when an animal is in a parked car with the windows up, and it’s okay now to bust a window to get them out (having not found the owner and reported it to police and with their okay)? None of that falls under any of this? Imminent threat of harm if left neglected is the justification, right? I’ll have to say as always, we’re talking about South or North Carolina folks. That’s the deal. Doesn’t matter what the rest of the country thinks, whatever is “normal” for the local yokels just is and we have to lump it. (shades of District of Columbia).

    • Elisa Black-Taylor says:

      I can’t help but ask the question if it were dogs abandoned in the house would authorities move faster. Dogs are left abandoned but they tend to get help more quickly than cats do.

      I really hope a lot of people contact the local government and remind them this is animal cruelty and they’re not doing enough to help.

      From what I’m hearing the shelter is filled to capacity and a lot of animals are killed for space there. So we’re really pushing rescue or fosters to step up to help once a solution is found.

      • Albert Schepis says:

        Yes good point. When it comes to cats there’s the two extremes: people either love or hate them, but the law and decency dictate that all pets and or animals should be regarded and cared for equally and fairly.

      • M. E. King says:

        I was going to point out the same thing. I have always said if Tiger had been a puppy on the end of KL arrow she would have been prosecuted for animal abuse without hesitation.
        Our local shelter kills any cats that act feral which is most because cats react different to stress but they’ll plead for someone to take a livestock killing dog into their home so it isn’t put down.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Albert this story is surprising and plain odd. Surely the landlord (the property owner) would contact local shelters and make arrangements for the cats to be taken away and hopefully rehomed in his own interests. And why hasn’t Animal Control got the power to step in with the police to take charge of the cats? I can’t believe the law forbids them stepping in under these circumstances.

      • M. E. King says:

        Cats are personal property but the usual procedure is to take the animals and hold them with food, board and health care billed to the known owner until there is a hearing , surrender or court order.
        While anyone in rescue knows it’s important to document the conditions before helping there is no law I can find allowing a cat to starve in a house because the rent is paid. Landlords have 24 notice of entry and emergency entry of their property in almost every state. These notices usually only need to be posted on the doors of the home/apt. I have no idea what’s going on here but it sounds like a shelter that doesn’t want to take the cats more than anything else.

  14. Call your local news,go to City Hall,do something!!!

  15. I can’t believe this..left to die because landlord has his rent til Dec10????somebody needs to get on the local news channel,go to the City Hall,so something!!sickening.

  16. Cat's Meow says:

    Rumor has it that allowing your living “property” to starve to death qualifies as a felony.

    Maybe the landlord needs to inspect the house and leave a window open with a trap attached to the opening? Or at least place food and water just inside to keep them alive until after Dec 10 when the “authorities” are willing to intervene?

    Or possibly contact the Health Department? Surely there is a health issue here?

    Seems to me that this became a case of intentional abandonment as soon as the power was turned off. The landlord needs to contact an attorney about the laws concerning this situation.

    Too bad a burglar hasn’t at least broken a window or jimmied the door open so the cats can escape. I pray for those cats. 🙁

  17. Marianna Burt says:

    Third paragraph is a bit confusing — to whom did AC recommend feeding the cats or taking them? The landlord? I’m sure the landlord can permit someone as his/her agent to go in & tend to the cats. Perhaps more can be done — your SC readers should contact Lancaster County manager & county attorney to demand action. Guess the county is afraid of getting sued but that really makes little sense — they would have the defense of necessity.

    • Elisa Black-Taylor says:

      The landlord’s son. There are a lot of people working on this and hopefully, it will be resolved in the next day or two. I think the plan is to get the sheriff’s office involved and they can contact animal control and it can move forward from there. The sheriff’s office may even be building a case and don’t want anything to come up to get it thrown out of court. Like an animal abuser will face any punishment ever. It rarely happens in SC. The case is plea bargained or the abuser given a small fine.

    • Elisa Black-Taylor says:

      I went in and adjusted that third paragraph. I didn’t give the exact address because people would likely break in or cat haters would break in to kill them. I don’t like giving out addresses in articles unless I have it on public record to back me up.

    • Louise says:

      UPDATE: 6 of the 18 cats have been turned into the Lancaster Animal Shelter by the owners and will be put down due to overcrowding in the shelter! Help find a home for these cats!
      Lancaster County Animal Shelter
      118 Kennel La., Lancaster SC 29720
      803-286-8103 Fax: 803-286-7907
      Email: animal@lancastercountysc

  18. Susan Gort says:

    What the hell is wrong with our government???!! A helluva lot!!! There has to be some obscure law on the books about caring for abandoned animals. But knowing the government I hold little hope! It’s all about passing the buck to someone else. Talk about lame-brained officials!!! Common sense has gone the way of the dodo bird and most of the earth’s beautiful species.

    • Linda M. Boots says:

      Someone needs to step up and rescue those starving cats! That’s Inhumane treatment if they KNOW there is no water or food for the cats and they are trapped inside with no escape possible! I’d go get them out and let the people sue me, or try to arrest me for saving the cats! There is NO EXCUSE for no ACTION! SPCA? Where are you?! Whoever paid the rent is responsible for the cat’s welfare and should be held accountable! DEMAND ACTION! NOW!!! C’mon Cat Lovers, Rescuers, Judges, Policem SOMEbody with Courage and the Guts to do What’s Right for these innocent, helpless living beings!

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