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Judge says Anderson County must continue to care for animals seized from rescue

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A decision has been made by the judge as to the care of animals seized from an upstate South Carolina rescue, The State reported April 28.

The fate of the 92 dogs and 28 cats seized from Golden S. Rescue in Anderson County back on February 19 has been decided, at least until the trial.

Debra Sheridan, owner of Golden S., insists she's innocent, and went before a judge on April 21 to discuss care of the seized animals. Sheridan, charged with ill treatment of animals, has asked for a jury trial.

Sheridan, Anderson County P.A.W.S. staff, and many animal advocates attended the emergency hearing. The judge refused to make a ruling until he had time to study all documents relating to the case.

The decision was made April 28, by Magistrate S. Matthew Lollis, where Lollis ruled that the animals

"will remain in the custody of Anderson County PAWS because the defendant cannot adequately provide for the animals at this time."

Shelter officials had hoped the judge would allow the dogs and cats to go up for adoption. The shelter has little room left for any animals surrendered to the county as strays or unwanted pets. This has created a burden for P.A.W.S, both financially and emotionally.

It's difficult for anyone who works in a shelter environment to watch these animals living in a caged environment, while knowing there's little room for more animals. It's also not in the best interest for pets to remain in a shelter environment because of the greater risk of airborne illnesses or illnesses caused by stress.

Rusty Burns, Interim County Administrator, says the county will continue to prepare the animals for adoption, and will go back to court on the matter if necessary.

The added workload caused by the Golden S. animals has ended the shelter being able to host weekend events. The shelter must now remain closed on Saturday to allow volunteers and staff to attended to the overpopulation of pets now housed at the shelter.

Burns estimates the cost of caring for these dogs and cats is now at $60,000.

Anderson County P.A.W.S. director Jessica Cwynar had previously stated that between one-third and one-half of the seized animals were microchipped, indicating these dogs and cats once had owner's who cared enough to have the chip implanted.

Cwynar also denied Golden S. access to their animals more than two years ago after Sheridan failed a background check.

Sheridan stated to The State Monday night that she isn't pleased with the ruling since it will end up costing her even more money for their care, should she get the animals back.

According to Sheridan, she had reached out to the Anderson shelter for help. Instead of helping her, Sheridan says Anderson County is spreading lies and she'll prove it when her day in court arrives.

Examiner articles have kept the public updated through every step of this case. Those articles are listed under suggested by the author following this latest story.

Readers, please leave a comment below on whether or not you think the judge ruled in the best interest of the animals.

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