Local animal shelters face unprecedented overcrowding

Community support needed to save lives, find caring homes for pets
Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore wants to give a shout out to Daniel Island residents.
“Daniel Island has been incredibly supportive and right now, more than anything, the biggest thing you can do is make room for one more (animal),” he said.
That plea comes as local shelters recently declared a state of emergency due to unprecedented overcrowding. According to Elmore, the lives of thousands of animals in shelters across the state are at stake.
“This year our South Carolina shelters for the first time declared a state of emergency because of the traditional end of summer slowdown in adoptions, the veterinary shortage that has created a backlog of spays and neuters, and then of course, COVID,” Elmore said. “And we’re entering the peak of hurricane season, so all of these things ... have just created a perfect storm.”
Now through Sunday, Sept. 19, Charleston Animal Society and Berkeley Animal Center, along with other local shelters, are participating in Clear the Shelters, a nationwide effort to help find homes for pets in need. All shelters are offering special reduced or waived adoption fees to help ease the current animal overpopulation crisis.
In addition to adopting a pet, residents and businesses can lend a hand by fostering a pet in their home or office and reaching out to friends, neighbors and colleagues to help find permanent homes.
Heather McDowell, spokesperson for the Berkeley County Animal Center, said, “Right now we are at full capacity with a lot of animals in foster care. We could not help as many as we do without our amazing fosters.” 
The Berkeley Animal Center opened a new 11,500-square-foot facility at 131 Central Berkeley Drive in Moncks Corner last June, which houses about 200 animals inside, plus horses, pigs and goats outside. McDowell said the organization will help about 6,000 animals this year. In addition to adoptions, the shelter is in need of fosters, volunteers, and donations.
No Kill South Carolina
Berkeley Animal Center is a participating shelter in No Kill South Carolina, an effort started six years ago by Charleston Animal Society with the goal of saving all healthy and treatable dogs and cats that arrive in South Carolina shelters. 
“It’s a large collaboration by shelters across the state and we’re making great progress,” Elmore said. “We’ve seen 30,000 fewer euthanasias and we’ve seen over half a million more lives saved since we launched the effort in 2016, which is all funded by the Petco Love foundation.”
Charleston Animal Society, located at 2455 Remount Road in North Charleston, is the oldest animal protection agency in South Carolina and one of the first in the nation. Since 1874, the organization has been caring for homeless animals, from hamsters to horses, and helping to prevent animal cruelty. 
The organization cares for nearly 20,000 animals each year and its comprehensive veterinary medical department can treat up to 
300 resident animals at one time. 
In addition, the agency rescues animals from natural disasters and cruelty cases and works with local law enforcement to investigate and shut down animal cruelty operations. 
Teaching compassion
Part of Charleston Animal Society’s vision is that all people and animals are treated with respect and kindness. Its humane education program uses animal interactions in schools, communities and shelters to teach children empathy for animals.
“It’s about teaching compassion to all living creatures, whether humans or animals,” Elmore said. “Our kids are just bombarded with violence ... and the environment for kids growing up is not always compassionate, so first and foremost we teach compassion and we use animals because they are such a motivating tool in education.”
Show kindness toward animals and help clear shelters and make South Carolina a no kill state by adopting, fostering, or donating to local animal shelters. For more information, visit Charleston Animal Society at charlestonanimalsociety.org or Berkeley Animal Center at animalcenter.berkeleycountysc.gov.
“This is a community issue,” Elmore said. “These animals come from our community and it will take all of us together to solve the problem.”

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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