A Myrtle Beach couple pleaded 'guilty' Wednesday to 54 counts, between the two of them, of animal mistreatment.
Debra Goulding, 54, and William Goulding, 51, were ordered to pay the humane society $1,420 and they cannot have animals for 27 months. If they do not, they will spend 30 days in jail for each of the 54 counts.
That amounts to 810 days for Debra and 810 days for William.
The couple was arrested Sunday after police said they discovered dozens of cats with infections and some dead inside a mobile home.
According to a police report, they were charged with mistreatment of animals after more than 25 cats were found inside their mobile home at Shell Cove Mobile Home Park living in unsanitary conditions.
Police said they found several dead cats inside along with other cats that had severe eye infections so severe their eyes were closed shut.
Police also said the home had feces on the floor in places 6 inches deep. When officers lifted a recliner in the home, 4 cats ran out, the report said. Police found a dead cat that had been caught in the leg rest of the recliner.
News 13 spoke to the neighbor who saw inside the house.
She said she has lived in the neighborhood for more than four years, and always thought the home was abandoned.
When she heard someone was living there, she said she was concerned and went over to check on the neighbor.
"I was horrified by the smell and what I saw," she explained.
"The outside door was shut but the inside door was open a little bit and I knocked and I knocked and nobody answered, and I opened the door and hollered in and I heard the TV, and no body answered. And it was horrifying," she described.
She said immediately, the smell took over, but what she saw was shocking.
"There was cat **** up to my knees in two different pans by the back door, cats sleeping in pots, cats sleeping in the sink. I was like 'Oh my golly there's like cats everywhere in here and it smells horrible.' And I took a big breath thinking I'm going to go back where this TV is and I'm going to find somebody that's dead back there.' There's no other reason I could see that there was this much cat **** in this house unless somebody is passed away like this," she explained.
She said she had smelled the odor before, but not as strong.
"I wasn't sure of where it came from, but I've been here for 4 years and every summer the smell is like that. That breaks my heart. That breaks my heart. I don't understand why people hoard cats like that," she said.
With a hope of saving some of the cats, she called police.
The Grand Strand Humane Society took possession of the cats for medical evaluations. 14 cats were so sick they had to be euthanized.
The remaining cats are said to be in fair condition at the Grand Strand Humane Society. Workers say they hope the cats will be well and ready for adoption soon.