Aiken County, S.C. (WJBF) – A record-setting number of animals are being surrendered at one local shelter.
Since May, the Aiken County Animal Shelter has taken in more than 500 dogs and cats. Now that the facility is at max capacity, employees are asking for your help.
Nearly 300 cats and dogs are currently being housed at the facility and everyday more animals are dropped off, but the shelter’s not getting any bigger. The Aiken County Animal Shelter Manager Bobby Arthurs tells WJBF NewsChannel 6 besides both dog and cat food, cat litter and toys – this shelter really needs fosters to help relieve the over-crowding.
“It seems like, this year, puppies and kittens just exploded.” Arthurs told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Summertime is always busy for shelters, but the unexpectedly high number of drop-offs has left the Aiken County Animal Shelter in a crisis.”It’s been very rough.” Arthurs said. “544 animals dropped off last month alone and the numbers are just increasing from last month into this month.”
The Aiken County Animal Shelter Manager says they take-in around 5,000 animals every year, but it looks like this year they will beat that record.
“We need foster homes. We have so many puppies, our shelter is full. Our adoption is full right now. We have puppies and dogs waiting to come up [from holding pods] for adoption,” said Arthurs.
Employees and volunteers are working overtime to take-in puppies and kittens. Still the accommodations at the shelter are tight, so most of the 4-legged friends have to double up on bunking just to have a place to rest their heads.
Yet, Arthurs says the animal over-population problem in Aiken County has an easy fix. “Now’s not a good time to surrender an animal at the shelter… any shelter, I’m sure. Now’s a time to be a responsible pet owner. Now’s the time to make sure your animal is vaccinated, [that they] have their rabies vaccines. Now’s a good time to adopt and if you can’t afford an animal it’s not a good time to get one.” He said.
The shelter exhausts all options before it considers euthanizing an animal. Which is why its rate is low, only 35 percent last month.
The facility has started several new programs in Aiken County, including “Play for Life.” Volunteers train dogs by letting them interact with each other in an enclosed play area.
An effort Arthurs says is making both the puppies and adult dogs more adoptable. “It’s really funny when I see a blue or grey Pit Bull laying in a pool with a blond Labrador,” Arthurs said. “It’s a really cool thing to see.”
In response to the crisis, the Aiken County Animal Shelter is offering a special on kittens through July 16th. Neutered or spayed, up-to-date on vaccines, and micro-chipped for only $10 dollars.
You can also find a forever friend this weekend at the PetSmart store in Aiken on Saturday.
To make a donation, become a volunteer, adopt an animal or just learn more about the Aiken County Animal Shelter, click here.