News Releases

News Releases

Horry County Animal Control and DHEC Partner in Response to a Rabid Cat in Horry County

Sept. 28, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The presence of a large, unmanaged colony of cats that included a cat that recently tested positive for rabies has led the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Horry County Animal Control to partner to assist area residents with stray and feral cats found on their property and prevent the spread of rabies — a fatal, preventable disease.

The rabid cat, which was found near Tweety and Quiet avenues in Conway, South Carolina and tested positive Sept. 12, was part of a large colony estimated at 100 cats.

“Given the discovery of this large colony of cats, one of which tested positive for rabies, DHEC and Horry County Animal Control have determined it is in the best interest of the public to offer property owners help with feral cats,” said Terri McCollister Rabies Program director.

Horry County Animal Control has agreed to help local residents with neutering and vaccinating seemingly healthy stray and feral cats that are captured or trapped by a property owner. For stray and feral cats showing signs of illness, do not touch them; keep watch so you will know where the sick animal is located; and call Horry County Animal Control for assistance.

If you capture any healthy cats on your property, there are a few options for you to have them vaccinated.

  1. Contact Horry County Animal Control by email at, to schedule a rabies vaccination or sign up for the Trap Neuter Vaccinate Release (TNVR) program.
  2. Reach out to a local veterinary facility to schedule a rabies vaccine.
  3. See for low-cost vaccine clinics near you.
  4. Find a facility participating in World Rabies Day on September 28, 2023.

Stray and feral cats serve as a significant source for rabies exposure. An exposure is defined as direct contact (e.g., through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal. If pets in the area have received any unexplained

injuries or have been seen interacting with stray or feral cats in recent weeks, please contact your veterinarian’s office for wound care and to discuss rabies vaccination needs.

It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease.

The cat from Horry County is the first animal in that county to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 66 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Eight of the 66 rabies positive animals submitted for testing this year have been cats. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. Of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina in 2022, none were from Horry County.

Contact information for local Public Health offices is available at For more information on rabies visit or



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