Giving Thanks

30 November 2014


By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Director

2014 has been an incredible year, and we at FOTAS have much to be thankful for and many thanks to give.

Thanks to Aiken County for its commitment to save the lives of thousands of homeless animals and reduce rampant overpopulation of unwanted dogs and cats. The strength of its commitment and the success of our partnership is evidenced by the new, state-of-the-art public animal shelter on Wire Road that opened in March, giving all those abandoned, abused and unwanted dogs and cats another chance to love and be loved by responsible owners.

Thanks to the Aiken Community for its extraordinary generosity of spirit. The community’s financial support has made it possible for FOTAS to supplement the County’s resources and its ability to provide the best possible care for shelter animals, increase adoptions and transfers, provide spay/neuter financial assistance to County citizens in need, and attack the problem of overpopulation of unwanted animals.

Thanks to all 242 FOTAS volunteers who make the work of FOTAS possible – everything from manning the front desk, walking and training dogs (91 volunteers walked dogs during the last 3 months), working special events and fundraisers, fostering dogs, organizing transfers, manning off-site adoption events, working on publicity, social media and financial record and bookkeeping responsibilities, and coordinating FOTAS-Fix-a-Pet and Lenny’s Brigade animal pick-ups, surgeries and returns.

It’s almost impossible to fully express our gratitude for all the support, commitment and generosity we have received in this daunting effort, so we will let the results speak for themselves.

As of the end of October, the shelter has seen a 14% reduction in intake, a 43% increase in adoptions and transfers, and (hallelujah!) a 34% reduction in euthanasia rates. By the end of 2014, FOTAS will have organized and funded 32% more spay/neuter surgeries than it did in 2013.

That’s a big, big deal. We and all of the animals you have helped save in the past 10 months say, “From the bottom of our hearts – thank you.”

But there is still so much to do. Although the percentages have improved, they represent unacceptably high numbers: the County still had to euthanize 2133 cats and dogs so far this year.

There is a way you can help us continue our work and express your gratitude and love for the people and organizations who have made a difference in your life: purchase a personalized tribute plaque to be hung inside the public area of the County Shelter, or a personalized paving stone to be installed on the walk outside the main entrance.

Bill and Caroline Simonson honored their dog Chen with this message: “Our big boy, companion & protector, thank you for bringing such joy into our lives.”

Mike & Jody Amacher honored the memory of their dog Baxter with this message: “In memory of our happy-go-lucky boy with a warm and loving heart!”

The tribute plaques and honor pavers make terrific and unique holiday gifts. They can be purchased through January 31, 2015 at, or contact us by email at for more information.

Also, through January 3rd, you can adopt a dog for just $35 and a cat for only $10.  What a bargain for a fully inoculated, micro-chipped and spayed/neutered pet!

Adopt and give the gift of love and the security of a home to a four-legged friend this year.  Remember, their lives are in our hands.


Oct. 2013 Oct. 2014
Total animals received: 467 381
Total animals rehomed: 134 181
Total animals euthanized: 364 228



ROMEO   American bull dog, male, 1 year old, 36 lbs,  $35.00

MOLLY   Domestic medium hair, female, adult    $10.00