The newly completed intake wing officially opens at the Aiken County Animal Shelter


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Folks at the Aiken County Animal Shelter are always striving for the best. They take in about 5,000 to 6,000 cats and dogs per year.

The good news is the kill rate at the shelter has dropped dramatically over the last ten plus years. That rate dropping from over 90% to under 5% and now there’s a new addition to keep the progress going.

“What drove me is the faces. Their faces. Their faces are here and they’re here at no fault of their own. And they deserve a life just like we do,” said Jennifer Miller, President of Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS).

Tails were wagging at the shelter Friday as the ribbon was cut to officially open the newly completed intake wing.

Miller said, “It’s a proper shelter. It has a great HVAC system and it has a waste management system. And we want to follow standard shelter practice and now we can follow standard shelter practice.”

Funds ran out in 2014 when the shelter was built, but now all of the 30-intake kennels are enclosed.

“Through the voters of Aiken County gave us Capital Project Sales Tax four in 2018, two years ago, and this is our first major project from that sales tax to be completed,” explained Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker.

“A healthy animal is an adopted animal. It’s stressful to come to a shelter so you be able to take proper care of them and now we can so I’m very, very excited for the animals at the shelter,” said Miller.

Bunker said building the intake wing was a big team effort, “The animal shelter is run through our animal control organization. It’s a part of code enforcement so obviously, they’re very active in this. The county engineering staff have been active. Friends of the Animal Shelter, FOTAS, is, of course, a key part of our team. And then we had some really great support from Cary Perkins of McMillan, Pazdan, Smith, who had been our designer and also from Nathan Stewart from Stewart Builders who was the general contractor for this.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some animals were surrendered to the shelter due to owner financial difficulty but there is a silver lining according to Miller.

She said, “Animals don’t spread COVID. As a matter-of-fact animals spread happiness. So, we were really lucky that people came to adopt to get some comfort. More people were being at home and they could bring their dogs or cats home and get joy and love from the animals. So, it was really a great thing for animals to go and help people in our community.”

There are plenty of animals up for adoption at the Aiken County shelter. Click or tap here to learn more.

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