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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – (Tuesday, February 14, 2023) – On February 9, 2023, Berkeley County Animal Control officers responded to a hoarding situation at a residential property near Harristown Road in St. Stephen, where they discovered dozens of cats in deteriorating conditions on the property, dubbed a “Cat Sanctuary.” Cats were located living inside a rundown trailer and outside the area.

Officers seized 49 cats still alive but in poor health. An additional 23 cats were found deceased inside structures at the site. The cats were taken to Berkeley Animal Center, where 10 cats were forced to be euthanized due to their sickly condition. The remainder of the cats are in the care of Animal Center staff and in stable condition.

The shelter is seeking adult cat food as well as monetary donations for medical costs and other emergency care needs for the cats. Please consider donating HERE (enter “sick cats” under “reason for donation”). The cats will be available for adoption once they are nursed back to good health. Cat food can be dropped off at 131 Central Berkeley Drive in Moncks Corner.

“Berkeley Animal Center staff is committed to conducting the proper care necessary to ensure these sickly cats are restored to good health and receive the medical attention and affection they so desperately demand at this critical time in their lives. We know this is a dire situation and that unfortunately, not all the cats rescued from these deplorable conditions could be saved. We cannot change these cats’ past circumstances and lack of quality care, but we can do our best to provide them all they need to survive and thrive going forward. We thank our fellow rescue groups for partnering with us and sharing this same mission.” -Heather McDowell, Berkeley Animal Center Director

Additionally, 15 cats were transported to Massachusetts-based rescue groups MSPCA-Angell and Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS), two organizations Berkeley Animal Center has been working with since last year. On the day of the seizure, MSPCA also sent staff to assist with the cats’ treatment at the shelter. Additionally, Charleston Animal Society provided a veterinarian to aid with the care.

“We needed to move quickly as the cats are in pretty rough shape. They were rescued from a dire situation and are lucky help arrived when it did.” -Mike Keiley, MSPCA-Angell Director of Adoption Centers and Programs / NEAS Executive Director

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office has cited Suzanne Marie Melton, an owner of the Cat Sanctuary, with 20 counts of inhumane treatment of animals.


-Prepared by the Berkeley County Public Information Office-