According to a September 13 report by Anderson Independent Mail, about a dozen animals are still under quarantine after a parvovirus outbreak closed Anderson County P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Worth Saving), the Anderson, South Carolina shelter for a week. Click here for the National Cat Reporter article that will bring you up to date on this tragedy.
During this time, the death of a vaccinated cat named Gloria, who was in the shelter on a bite hold, went viral on social media. More than 50 animals were euthanized, most of them kittens, Shelter director Jessica Cwynar said Monday. The shelter has since reopened and has around 96 healthy animals available for adoption.
Cwynar stated most of those “humanely euthanized” were kittens under eight weeks old, whom she said are too young to receive the vaccine to prevent the often fatal illness. The decision was made to kill almost every cat and kitten in two rooms after a kitten, a cat and a puppy tested positive and died. Then two more kittens died then others became what Cwynar describes as “extremely ill.”
Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns stated in an interview with the newspaper
“In cases where the virus is suspected, we always enact a quarantine, because otherwise, the alternative is that you are doing mass euthanasia that may be unnecessary. We’re very sorry that these kittens had to be euthanized as we dealt with this virus. We don’t wish for that to happen to the animals. It is terrible and hard on the staff.”
Mr. Burns, can you please explain why Gloria, a former Foster Paws Rescue cat who was saved from Greenville County Animal Care in August 2014, was killed. Gloria was at the shelter on a 10-day bite hold to watch for rabies after biting someone. She was lost after getting away from her adopter. She bit someone, who called animal control . Gloria’s bite hold began on September 3rd. However, the shelter was mid panleuk outbreak at that point- and when they decided to kill them all, they killed her too, because she was in the same room as at least one cat who broke with panleuk.
Gloria had been vaccinated and wasn’t sick. She was eating and behaving normally when she was killed last Friday, simply for being in the wrong room at the wrong time. Gloria had a rescue waiting to save her once her hold time was up and the shelter was aware of this, as well of the fact Gloria had been vaccinated. So why, Mr. Burns, was Gloria killed?
Her head was allegedly chopped off and sent off to test her for rabies. Was this even legal? Gloria was supposed to be in quarantine, yet she was in with the general population. If the shelter staff feels so badly about killing these cats, then why did they kill a cat who wasn’t even sick and who wouldn’t get sick because she’d been vaccinated?
What about the dogs at the shelter? Were any dogs “humanely euthanized?” Does anyone know? The shelter blames the outbreak on the increased number of animals who arrive at the shelter during the summer months, with kittens and puppies being born outdoors, then being brought in by their owner. Does this excuse Gloria being killed?
A list of Anderson County officials (including Rusty Burns) and their contact information can be found here.
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Readers, if you’ve had a “situation” with Anderson County P.A.W.S., please sound off in the comments. Keep in mind this is NOT the Anderson County Humane Society, which is a no-kill facility.