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South Carolina Animal Shelters Hold Emergency Rescue Program

 Staff Report for Island Eye News

The lives of thousands of animals in shelters across South Carolina are at stake, as homeless animals have been pouring into shelters for weeks. “Nearly every shelter in the state, including the largest shelters [Greenville County Animal Care, Charleston Animal Society, Horry County Animal Care Center and Columbia Animal Services] are at the breaking point and need help now,” said No Kill South Carolina 2024 Chief Project Officer Abigail Appleton, CAWA, PMP. 

“These lifesaving organizations are critically overcapacity and there’s no sign of it letting up, especially as the pandemic is surging again and folks are not getting out as much as they did earlier this summer” To solve this unprecedented crisis in SC, shelters across the state have joined together to launch “Summer Slam Emergency Rescue Operation.” This emergency event is being led by No Kill South Carolina 2024 (a program of Charleston Animal Society) and the South Carolina Animal Care and Control Association (SCACCA). “We are in unchartered waters, in a perfect storm. We have the end of summer slowdown in adoptions, the peak of hurricane season and the pandemic resurgence,” stated Shelly Simmons, President of SCACCA. To help with the emergency, everyone is encouraged to visit their local shelters now to adopt or foster animals at-risk. “This is a community crisis, not only an animal shelter crisis, just as COVID is a community crisis, not only a hospital crisis. Everyone has a role to play. For instance, citizens can help lost pets find their way back home instead of taking them to shelters, where they are far less likely to find their way back home,” Simmons stated. At the same time, businesses, veterinarians, rescue groups, governments, shelters and media can help. Specific ways each of these can help can be found at NoKillSouthCarolina. org. “We don’t declare a ‘State of Emergency’ unless the situation is dire and we know that if we work together, thousands of lives can be saved,” Simmons said. Adding to the emergency is the veterinarian shortage and reduced staff due to COVID. “Many shelters are waiving their adoption fees or significantly reducing them in an effort to get more people to take home a shelter pet. We’re asking all shelters to implement managed moratoriums and accept only animals in danger or who present a danger to others, until we get out of this State of Emergency,” Appleton said. 

How you can help 

• Citizens can adopt or foster animals or sponsor adoption fees 

• Businesses can become adoption ambassadors for animals 

• Veterinarians can help shelters through the backlog of animals with spay/neuter 

• Rescue groups can take in additional at-risk animals 

• Government shelters and animal control agencies can implement managed moratoriums 

Learn other ways to help at NoKillSouthCarolina.org.

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