CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A court hearing is scheduled for Friday in a case where dozens of malnourished and underweight animals were rescued from a Charleston County home in the 6400 block of Halfway Creek Road.
According to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, authorities began an investigation on the property on Tuesday after being called out on a previous case. When deputies arrived, they saw nine to 10 dogs chained to trees that did not have water and insufficient shelter.
A sheriff's office report states that when deputies walked around the 8 to 10 acre property, they discovered many animals in poor health, no water, no shelter and only moldy bread to eat.
Authorities say they also discovered an underweight horse whose hooves were severely overgrown that it affected its ability to walk. An incident report says that the horse's pen did not have any natural grass and there were no signs of hay or feed.
According to investigators, a dead 5 pound snapping turtle was found in a cage that officials believe was starved or dehydrated to death.
The 53 rescued animals were taken in by the Charleston Animal Society.
"They have skin disease, they have eye problems, they have external and internal parasites," said Pearl Sutton, director of operations Charleston Animal Society.
The animal shelter was filled with severely underweight dogs, meowing cats, birds dying to take a bath, a goat and a horse 200-pounds underweight from the home.
"There's no reason ever to let animals get into this shape," Sutton said.
The animals appear to be victims of a severe case of animal neglect, and though Sutton has seen many in her day, that doesn't ease the blow of this latest case.
"You never get over it," Sutton said. "No matter how many times you see it. It always just tears you apart when you have to see how these animals have suffered."
Sutton says it didn't have to be this way.
"We have food banks, we help people with spaying and neutering," she said. "So, it's always wrenching to see an animal come in that's been living this type of life that slowly day by day their withering away to nothing."
But now some of these lucky animals are headed onto something better. No arrests have been made, but charges against the owner are being considered.