FOTAS needs your Christmas spirit

By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice-President

“Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.”
Henry Ward Beecher

It’s the time of year when the spirit of Christmas thrives. It’s a time of gratitude for our family and friends. It’s a time to rejoice our faith. It’s a time for love.

It is also a time for charitable giving, and if your mailbox is anything like mine, it’s filled with requests from worthy local charities for year-end contributions. They all do good works, but you can’t give to them all. How do you decide?

I am going to take a leap of faith here; that if you are reading this column, you care about the plight of abused, abandoned and homeless animals. If that’s true, then FOTAS, the private partner of the Aiken County Animal Shelter, is a perfect choice for your charitable urges. Here’s why.

FOTAS provides critical assistance to more animals than any other organization in the County: 5000 Shelter animals a year.

FOTAS funded 160 kennel decks at the Shelter, the Cat Adoption Building, 2 cat condos, a grooming tub, an additional hot water heater, a surgical autoclave, supplemental medicines and supplies, and fenced play yards. FOTAS funded veterinary assistant courses for Shelter staff to increase their animal care skills. FOTAS is currently funding the addition of a medical isolation pod. If the medical needs of an adoptable animal are beyond the capacity or capability of the Shelter, FOTAS pays for outside veterinarian services.

FOTAS goes the extra mile to find every animal a home.

FOTAS aggressively markets the adoptable animals through print and social media and purchased a van to transport animals to off-site adoption events. FOTAS supplements the adoption fees for active Military Personnel and veterans and pays for heartworm medicine for HWP dogs adopted from the Shelter.

FOTAS developed a network of rescue partners in other parts of the country and organizes and pays expenses for transfers of adoptable animals. FOTAS recruits foster families (and funds their provisions, if necessary) to provide interim care for animals approved for transfer and longer-term care for animals in “a family way.”

FOTAS addresses the cause of high Shelter intake: rampant overpopulation of dogs and cats.   Since 2013, FOTAS has paid for over 2000 spay/neuter surgeries of community cats and pets owned by County citizens with financial need, and is currently developing a vigorous Trap-Neuter-Return program for free-roaming community cats.

FOTAS recruits and trains the volunteers who do much of the above.

Bottom line: FOTAS saves more animals than any other organization in the County.

Since its inception in 2009, the Shelter’s live release rate has increased from a dismal 5% to a better (but still sad), 70%. That’s literally thousands of animals.

Last month, the South Carolina Secretary of State recognized FOTAS as an “Angel” charity—one that spends 80% or more on its charitable purpose. That means you get a big bang for every buck you donate to FOTAS.

The Aiken Community has been generous to FOTAS, but there is still so much to do. Please send your much-needed donations to FOTAS, PO Box 2207, Aiken SC 29802.

Their lives, all 5000 of them this year, are in our hands