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Private Berkeley County animal shelter concerned about animal control policies

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

The director of an independent animal shelter in Berkeley County has been struggling to maintain almost 40 dogs at her facility after Berkeley County Animal Control changed their policy about picking up stray dogs.

"I work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day,” Danielle Bellknap, Director of Furlife German Shepard Rescue said. “We don't get breaks."

If the 40 dogs didn’t give her the title already, Bellknap calls herself a dog lover, which is why she's never had a problem taking in dogs that needed rescue.

But lately, her number of rescues is getting out of hand.

"This amount of dogs is a lot,” said Bellknap.

That's because as of February, Berkeley County Animal Control has stopped responding to reports of stray dogs.

She's letting the burden fall on her shoulders.

“The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, they know of us and they know of the property and they have called on us to get these dogs,” said Bellknap.

A spokesperson from Berkeley County Animal Control said they will go to pick up the animal if it's injured or if it poses a threat to anyone. They'll also go to get the animal if it's contained and they can easily get to it.

But Bellknap says that as of 2 days ago, that hasn't been her experience.

"We actually had a lady that had a dog on a chain that she caught. Animal Control would not come and get that dog."

Again, she says that happened just two days ago. The spokesperson from Berkeley County Animal Control also said their policy is standard for other County-operated animal control agencies.

But Dorchester County Animal Control told me they will respond to any report of a stray dog, regardless of the condition it is in.

Now, Danielle is asking for more from Berkeley County.

“There's got to be either more animal control officers, the county putting the funds together and supporting these animal control officers, there's got to be a different system,” said Bellknap.

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