17 May 2015
By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Vice President
Summer is tough at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. While the rest of the world settles into the sleepy tempo of summer, FOTAS volunteers and County staff shift into hyper-drive to address the inevitable onslaught of puppies, kittens and owner-surrender animals that crowd the intake wing and stress county resources to alarming levels.
This year, the seasonal surge of animals started early. The shelter experienced abnormally high intake during April, and May’s numbers promise to be equally dismal.
These homeless animals will come from the County, the City, Edgefield County, occasionally private rescue agencies already filled to capacity, but primarily, they come from private citizens. On average, the number of citizen-surrendered animals doubles during the summer months because of (are you ready?) vacations.
Vacations! It is a sad but true fact that there are people who surrender their pets to the County Shelter when they go on vacation rather than make proper arrangements for their care, consigning their confused and trusting pets to the stress of a shelter environment and a 50% chance of being euthanized. Unthinkably heartless.
Over the past year, the County and FOTAS, with the help of the community, made great strides in saving more animals and reducing the euthanasia rate, but until rampant overpopulation is checked and the horrifying intake numbers come down (a 10-year proposition under the best of circumstances, according to most experts), our goal of never having to euthanize another adoptable animal is out of reach.
In the meantime the County, with the help of FOTAS, is responsible for the care and disposition of the 4600-5000 unwanted animals that wind up in the County shelter each year. Paid for with taxpayer dollars, the County shelter has a legal obligation to accept all comers – it cannot refuse to accept an animal because there isn’t enough room. Quite frankly, it feels like sweeping back the ocean with a broom, especially during the summer months.
How can you help?
First and foremost, spay or neuter your animals, and talk your friends and family into spaying and neutering theirs. If you or they cannot afford the cost to spay/neuter, you may be eligible for County or FOTAS financial assistance.
Help us take care of the animals – volunteer at the shelter.
Become a short-term foster for dogs selected for transfer or a long-term foster for mamma dogs and their puppies until they are weaned and rehomed.
Most of all: adopt one of the deserving animals in the Adoption Wing. For every animal you adopt or foster, you save two lives – the pet you adopted and the pet that can be moved to the adoption floor from Intake.
Make a tax-free donation to the cause at www.fotasaiken.org.
Call us at (803) 514-4313 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and see how you can get involved. You won’t be sorry.
Take advantage of our outrageous May special: adopt an adorable “Pibble” for only $20 or a cat for $10. The adoption fees cover spay/neuter surgery, all inoculations and micro-chipping. It’s a tiny cost for taking home a new love.
Their lives are in our hands.
BY THE NUMBERS
Total received = 481 dogs and cats
Total adopted/transferred = 170 dogs and cats
Total euthanized = 201 dogs and cats
PETS OF THE WEEK
SAUL .. American bull dog — male — 6 mos. old — 34 lbs. — $20
ROSEANNE … Tabby — female — 2 years — 17.7 lbs — $10
All bully dog mixes $20 and cats $10 through May 31, 2015