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Rock Hill shelter hopes to find homes for cats before move

A local non-profit animal shelter will host a three-day adoption event this weekend with hopes of clearing out its current location before its move later this month.

Charlene Rodriguez, director of the St. Francis Animal Rescue Center, said they still have about 80 cats available for adoption or temporary care, known as fostering.

"We wanted to see how many kitties we could get homes or fosters for," she said. "By March 16 we will be closing the current location. Up until then, people can come adopt and foster a kitten."

The event is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The shelter opened in 2003 after Rodriguez noticed stray cats at her apartment complex. She decided she wanted to get them off the streets and find help.

The shelter has been at 1167 E. Main St. for about four years, but multiple break-ins and concerns over the cats' well-being have prompted the move.

The shelter has been broken into at least five times in the past two years, she said. Three of those break-ins allowed more than 20 cats to escape.

The most recent break-in was reported by Rodriguez on Monday.

Someone took a metal grate off a back window and left a door open, according to a police report. At least three cats escaped.

"It's happened so many times that somebody must think it's worth doing," she said. "I don't know if they think it's fun to watch us walk the neighborhoods and look for lost kitties."

Several kittens have not been found, she said.

In addition to the security issues, Rodriguez said the shelter had too many cats for its space. In the past, Animal Control had asked for upgrades such as better ventilation in the building and a screen between the young cats and older cats, both of which were completed.

The new shelter will have more space, and the cats will be caged for the first time.

Rodriguez did not disclose the new facility's location.

Door prizes include gift baskets for the kittens and dinner for two at a local restaurant, Rodriguez said. Adoption fees are $25, or a person can choose to foster a cat. Under a foster agreement, a person takes care of a cat for a minimum of 60 days, which will give allow the shelter time to open its new facility.

All of the cats are up-to-date on their shots, and most of the cats are spayed and neutered, she said. Those that aren't will come with a certificate for a free spray or neuter service.

"They'll be saving a cat's life, as well as giving it a wonderful home," she said.