NewsChannel 15 tours holding facility for cats taken from animal sanctuary

Horry County allowed members of the media to tour the building where 101 cats, taken from the Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary are being cared for until the owner's court case is decided. 107 of the cats were euthanized Thursday.

Elizabeth Owen was charged with ill treatment of animals last September after complaints about the number and condition of the cats being held at the Sacred Vision facility on Forestbrook Road. Owen requested a jury trial, so the animals remained in her care while the case was pending.

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, went into the facility undercover and held a news conference saying the animals were not being cared for properly.

That led Horry County Solicitor Greg Hembree to ask a judge to remove the animals from Owen's care, which Horry County did Tuesday.

The county said after the 237 cats and one dog were examined by licensed veterinarians, it was determined that 107 of the cats needed to be euthanized for a variety of health problems including: severe infestation of herpes and ringworm, anal maggots, severe gum disease and missing teeth, tumors/lesions, multiple abdominal abscesses, seizures, cracked/bloody pads on feet, etc.

Twenty-nine of the cats and the dog were returned to Owen after it was determined they were her personal pets.

Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said on Thursday Owen toured the Socastee facility where the cats are now being housed. They showed her how the county was caring for the cats.

During our tour Friday, we were shown the wide-open room where the cats are being kept. On each cage, there is a post-it note detailing the cat's current condition. Employees from the Horry County Animal Care Center are dividing time between the county's main facility in Conway and the holding facility.

For health reasons, the county didn't want the Sacred Vision cats to be mixed in with the cats currently at the shelter.

Owen's trial date has not been set. The cats cannot be adopted or returned to Owen until the trial is settled.

You can read our original story Sacred Vision here.