MYRTLE BEACH — Animals in Horry County that have been mistreated or abused by their owners and are turned over to animal authorities have a good chance to survive and live the rest of their lives protected from the things they suffered before, according to officials.
That could be the case for two dogs brought to the shelter this week if a judge rules that the woman charged in their mistreatment can’t have them back, said Kelly Bonome, assistant director of the Horry County Animal Care Center, on Tuesday.
Jacqueline B. Moore of Conway has been charged with ill treatement of animals in general, and torture for allegedly leaving them behind when she moved from a house near Conway that she was renting, according to police.
Bonome said that authorities are seeing more animal abuse cases than they did five or 10 years ago. But she’s not sure if it’s because more people are abusing their animals now or if the training to spot abuse has become so sophisticated that it is identified more often.
Also, she said, “What was acceptable 10 years ago is not necessarily acceptable today.”
Occasionally, one will be brought in with issues too severe for it to be saved. But others find people awaiting them who are dedicated to giving them a better life.
“Once we make a commitment to work with them,” Bonome said, the animals will find services available to them that are not offered to other animals that end up at the center.
For instance, Bonome said she recalls a dog brought in last year with its collar embedded in its neck. “It was just horrific,” she said.
But that dog now has been rehabilitated and adopted.
In this week’s mistreatment case, police were first called to the house by a neighbor who told them he feared the dogs had been abandoned. Police saw the two dogs -- one confined in a small cage and covered with its own feces -- and contacted the owner, ordering her to move the animals.
When they returned two days later, the two dogs were still at the house. There was no evidence that either had been fed and there was no food or water near the caged dog, a white, long-haired terrier. The other, a pit bull, appeared weak and hid under a porch from authorities.
The police charged Moore and took the dogs to the Animal Care Center, where they are on a legal hold awaiting Moore’s trial.
Bonome said that since abused animals are usually ordered held for a trial, authorities have more time to work with them and can do things, such as deworming, that can take months and couldn’t be done without the extra time.
“Generally,” Bonome said, “we move the animals at too fast a pace.”
Bonome said sometimes it can be difficult for authoritiesto determine if an injured animal has been abused or if its problems are the result of something else, such as being hit by a vehicle.
Some abused animals arrive with long-term issues, and Bonome said keepers find it better to have them transferred to a rescue group where they will get more one-on-one attention and specialized care for an extended period.
Those that spend lengthy visits also the Animal Care Center also get the time needed to find a new family. The center tries to find sponsors for its long-term visitors, place them with a groups or lower fees to make it easier for them to be adopted.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.