ASPCA Assisted in South Carolina Neglect Case Involving More Than 1,700 Animals

August 1, 2017

Kathryn Destreza, ASPCA Director of Investigations, pictured at a previous/unrelated case.

After receiving numerous complaints that animals at a local pet store, Roy's Aquarium, were being neglected, Beaufort County Animal Services in South Carolina initiated an investigation in mid-July, reaching out to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the ASPCA for assistance. On July 18, a search warrant was executed during which investigators discovered more than 1,700 animals—including fish, reptiles, birds, gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs—living in deplorable conditions at the store.  

Many of the animals exhibited signs of neglect; some had no access to food or water. ASPCA responders assisted local authorities and veterinarians in documenting forensic evidence and providing critical care to stabilize the animals.

“Upon arriving at the facility, it was clear that these animals needed our immediate help and intervention,” said Kathryn Destreza, Director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Because the community voiced its concerns and the local authorities took swift action, these animals are spared further suffering and neglect. We’re pleased to be able to lend our expertise and resources to assist the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services with the investigation.” 

Following the search warrant, the animals were transported to a temporary shelter and cared for by ASPCA responders while Beaufort County Animal Services led efforts to place animals with area rescues and shelters. On Sunday, the ASPCA helped load more than 80 animals, including hamsters and guinea pigs, onto a transport vehicle managed by Charleston Animal Society. Placement efforts are still underway, and the ASPCA is expected to wind down our operation as the last group of animals is placed by Beaufort County Animal Services.

Beaufort County Animal Services reports that many of the animals seized from the store will be made available for adoption at an event at Petco on August 19 in Bluffton, South Carolina.

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