A complaint from a Virginia woman in February about a chihuahua she wanted to adopt started the ball rolling against Golden S Rescue of Easley, South Carolina and the director of the rescue, Debra Sheridan. A view of Yelp.com makes it obvious that there have been problems for quite some time and this isn't the first complaint.
On February 7th of this year Anderson County Animal Control and the Anderson County Sheriff's Department went to Golden S Rescue in response to the complaint from the Virginia woman, and seized a number of animals, including Cowboy, an emaciated Great Dane that reportedly could not even stand. A dog his age and breed should weigh in at around 120 pounds, however Cowboy weighed less than 80 when checked by veterinarians. Debra Sheridan was cited for ill treatment of animals at that time and was told that she had ten days to get treatment for her animals and clean up the property. According to records, no changes were made, no animals were taken to the veterinarian or given medication. Animal Control and deputies returned on February 19th, seized 119 more animals and arrested Sheridan on a variety of counts.
Ms. Sheridan is well known to Anderson County. According to Anderson County Court records, she was arrested or cited in September of 2012, March of 2013 and April of 2013 for charges ranging from not properly vaccinating her dogs for rabies to unsanitary conditions to ill treatment of animals. She currently has court dates in the system for some of these charges as well as the new charges filed in February.
When Anderson County PAWS took in all of the animals seized from the Golden S property this year, they had to find room to put them where they would not be intermingling with animals already housed at the shelter. This placed an undue burden on PAWS and caused them to have to close for an entire week in order to properly evaluate and care for all of the seized animals, and has since placed a severe strain on the Animal Control system in Anderson County. Relief is needed so that PAWS can take care of their normal intake and find places outside of the shelter for these animals. According to many shelter workers and veterinarians, long-term care inside of a shelter is just not a good environment for any animal. They need regular human interaction and PAWS just doesn't have the space or personnel to care for that many pets on a long-term basis.
Because of this, an emergency hearing has been scheduled for Monday, April 21st at 9:00 a.m. at the Ronald P. Townsend Building, 2404 North Main Street, Anderson to give PAWS custody of all the animals seized from Golden S which will allow PAWS to work with approved rescues, fosters and adopters to get these animals out of the shelter and into good places where they can heal.
Sources close to PAWS say that Debra Sheridan has asked for a jury trial in the matter, and has requested the seized animals be returned until such time as this matter can be resolved in court. In addition, until such time as these charges are legally resolved, Sheridan is not prevented from acquiring more animals. Animal advocates throughout the Upstate are asking that animal lovers attend this hearing and show support for giving PAWS custody by wearing orange or orange ribbons.
If you would like to adopt an animal from PAWS shelter and help ease the overcrowding they are currently experiencing (and save a life!) please call 864-260-4151 after 12pm or email Randi Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations of pet food and other items can be dropped off at the PAWS facility located at 1320 Highway 29 South, Anderson.