‘My heart is breaking’: SC animal shelters declare state of emergency due to overcrowding

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 3:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2022 at 11:27 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Throughout the state, animal shelters are seeing an all-time high in animal intake numbers, causing shelters to declare a state of emergency for the second time in history.

The summer is always the busiest time for shelters, but this summer specifically, a combination of different factors has created an influx of dogs overcrowding shelters.

Some reasons for the influx could be the increasing population, home rental problems, kids going back to school, moving problems and flooding.

Joe Elmore, Charleston Animal Society President and CEO, brought Bo, a shelter dog since the beginning of August, to an interview to show how this emergency can really affect the animals.

“The state of emergency means that dogs such as Bo, don’t have a place in shelters because we’re all so overcrowded right now and they need homes,” Elmore said. “Well, what is the risk? The risk is that animals like Bo may not make it out alive at shelters across our entire state. We need people that come in and make room for one more in their homes and in their hearts for animals.”

Being the largest animal shelter in the state, the Charleston Animal Society has over 700 animals in the system at the moment with 60 dogs available for adoption right now.

“My heart is breaking for these animals,” Kay Hyman, director of community engagement, said. “They’re sitting in a cage. They want to be at your house, on your couch, in your backyard. They don’t want to be sitting in a kennel.”

Shelters like the Charleston Animal Society and Berkeley County Animal Center said more dogs are coming in than being adopted, which is where the problem stems from.

If unable to adopt, both shelters ask people to consider fostering. Tiffany Hoffman, Berkeley County Animal Center Event Coordinator, and her family are on their 28 foster dog.

“Fostering is so rewarding,” Hoffman said. “It’s like anything, you try it once and you are hooked.”

Using social media to promote is also very helpful in getting the word out about animals in shelters. The Charleston Animal Society is waiving all adoption fees and providing potential owners with $250 worth of food and supplies.

“We need to get 100 adoptions out this weekend,” Elmore said. “Cats and kittens also, but the ones that are most risk are the dogs because they don’t do well when they stay in shelters for a long time.”