Beaufort woman arrested after police find malnourished cats, dead rats in now-condemned home

Crime & Safety

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – The Beaufort Police Department arrested a woman after authorities discovered 18 cats in “extremely poor health” and dead rodents inside of her home.

Rhonda Osborne, 51, turned herself in on Friday, accused of hoarding cats inside of her home.

According to the BPD, it’s patrol division was notified on Wednesday by Beaufort County Animal Services (BCAS) of numerous reports of possible animal cruelty at a home in the 500 block of Pine Court North.

When Beaufort Police and BCAS attempted to talk to Osborne, they were met with an “overwhelming odor of urine, ammonia and rotting trash emanating from the residence.”

Rhonda Osborne

Investigators obtained a search warrant to enter the home, finding “unsanitary and unsafe” conditions.

The police department said some of the cats were in rusting cages full of fecal matter; some apparently had been in the cages for an extended period and could not fully use their legs.

“The caged cats suffered from malnutrition and apparent ammonia burns from the urine that collected in the cages,” Beaufort Police said. “Roaches and fleas infested the cats’ bedding and living areas and some of them were too weak to lift their heads.”

Officers also found dead rats and a turtle with a broken shell that was “clinging to life” in foul-smelling water in a bathtub.

“The condition of the residence was so unsanitary and unsafe that city of Beaufort building and codes enforcement officials deemed it unsafe for habitation and declared the residence condemned,” the department said.

Osborne is facing jail time and fines. The animals were taken by animal control to the Port Royal Veterinary Hospital.

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