Giving Thanks at the Aiken County Animal Shelter

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for those of us at FOTAS — a time to take stock of our blessings; to consider the remarkable progress we and the County have made in making the world a better place for Aiken County’s homeless, abandoned and abused animals; and in particular, to celebrate the many people who have contributed to our success and made this journey so meaningful.

Thanks to our committed partner, Aiken County, for making it possible to save the lives of thousands of homeless animals in the County.

Volunteer Joanne Goble with recently adopted Retriever mix GLENDA

Thanks to Paige Bayne, the County’s Enforcement and Animal Services Director, Bobby Arthurs, the Shelter Manager and Chief Animal Control Officer, Dr. Lisa Levy, the Shelter’s veterinarian, and all the Shelter staff for their dedication to increasing the opportunities for each adoptable animal to find a forever home.

Thanks to the army of volunteers who make the work of FOTAS possible—everything from manning the front desk, walking and training dogs, managing canine play groups, working special events and fundraisers, fostering dogs, organizing transfers, manning off-site adoption events, working on publicity and social media, to financial records and bookkeeping.

Finally, thanks to you, the Aiken Community, for your extraordinary generosity and support. You have made it possible for FOTAS to help the County provide the best possible care for shelter animals and to find them forever homes. As a result of all our collective efforts, FOTAS was one of ten recipients out of thirty-three thousand charities in South Carolina recognized by the secretary of state as an “angel” charity for its effective and efficient service in the community.

That’s a very big deal.

Abby Grant, who won the Adopt a Shelter Pet Coloring Contest in the Aiken Standard, plays with a kitten at the shelter.

But there’s still so much to do. Intake at the shelter has exploded— in the last six weeks over 700 animals were surrendered to the shelter. The strain on the system, our resources, volunteers, and staff is huge, and eventually the system will not be able to keep up. It just can’t.

The answer to reducing these extraordinary intake numbers is to reduce the homeless population by fixing every pet. Adopting a pet into the family requires commitment and responsibility for shelter, food, and medical care for the pet’s entire life.

Sure, sometimes awful things happen to good people and they are forced to do the unthinkable and give up a beloved pet, but surrendering an animal to a public shelter must be the very last resort. We are pleading with folks to network with their friends and family, use social media, do everything they can to rehome their pet into a safe and healthy situation. No matter how good FOTAS and the county shelter are, a pet surrendered to the shelter is at risk because there are just so many animals that can be absorbed into an already pet-saturated community at any given time.

Please join us in our fight to reduce the homeless population of pets through spay/neuter and educating the public about pet responsibility. Thank you, and God bless you and your family during this holiday season.

Their lives are in our hands.

— By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice President



By the Numbers
In the last six weeks, more than 700 animals have been received by the Shelter as strays or surrendered pets.


Pets of the Week

Domestic Shorthair, female, brown Tabby, 2 months old, 1.8 pounds – $10


Boxer mix, male, brown & white, 2 years old, 63 pounds – $35