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South Carolina shelters declare a state of emergency as homeless animals pour in

Shelters across South Carolina have declared a state of emergency as homeless animals have been...
Shelters across South Carolina have declared a state of emergency as homeless animals have been pouring into shelters for weeks, according to the Charleston Animal Society.(Storyblocks)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Shelters across South Carolina have declared a state of emergency as homeless animals have been pouring into shelters for weeks, according to the Charleston Animal Society.

“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”

Charleston Animal Society officials said to solve this crisis, shelters across the state have joined together to launch “Summer Slam Emergency Rescue Operation.”

“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, CAS officials said.

“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,” stated Simmons.

Adding to the emergency is the veterinarian shortage and reduced staff due to COVID, CAS official said.

“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,” said Appleton.

The Charleston Animal Society listed the following ways people and groups 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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