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Cats rescued from deplorable conditions
Woman faces charges
Cats watch out a window as Bulloch County Human Enforcement rescues 16 felines from an Ellabell residence Thursday. Two dead cats were also removed from the home.

An Ellabell-area woman faces eighteen counts of inhumane treatment of animals after humane officers removed several cats from her Live Oak Loop home Thursday.

Bulloch County Humane Enforcement supervisor Joey Sanders said officers rescued 16 live cats and removed two dead ones – an adult and a kitten – from the feces-laden home after neighbors complained of the smell and expressed concern for the cats.

Several cats sat in a window sill, watching others being carried out and waiting their turn to be rescued.

Caroline Burney was not at the scene Thursday afternoon when officers carried out a number of felines. Sanders said she had reportedly been hospitalized Saturday due to being thrown from a horse. Burney was not immediately able to be reached for comment Thursday.

The dead adult cat appeared to have been dead for a couple of days, and a deceased kitten was likely dead for several days, Sanders said. There was no available food or water in the house, and power has been off since April 3. Another person, not Burney, reportedly dropped off a bag of cat food inside the house Wednesday, but did not enter due to the stench, he said.

Neighbors, aware that Burney had not been home several days and who complained of the odor, contacted Bulloch County Humane Enforcement. Officers, accompanied by Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies, arrived at the home Thursday afternoon and, after finding the disturbing conditions, began placing surviving cats in carriers that were loaded onto a trailer for transportation back to the Statesboro-Bulloch County Animal Shelter.

Burney also faces a citation for improper disposal of an animal carcass. Sanders said.

The cats suffered from dehydration and upper respiratory illness.  Officers entering the home wore face masks to protect themselves against the smell and possible airborne illness and bacteria, he said.

Burney will be served with the citations and will face a hearing in Bulloch County Magistrate Court, he said.


Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.