A real mess at the Anderson County (SC) shelter

I read this story posted on the IndependentMail.com and it reads like an animal shelter soap opera. It’ll make your head swim.

The article notes a number of problems at the Anderson County, S.C. animal shelter. If we group them all together, it looks like this –

– The shelter takes in 14,000 animals each year.

– Recent advisory committee grade – D.

– Shelter workers attended a wedding of a co-worker “on their time off.” – (Not sure why this became an issue.)

– A debate apparently is ongoing about a waiting period, when the animals would be available only to county residents for adoptions, as opposed to rescue groups or families that live outside of the county.

– One rescuer who has taken some of the dogs out to be adopted elsewhere is described in a quote in the article as  “” “… probably not the smoothest person in the world,” Allen said. “He sounds pretty crusty, but he is not cruel.” “”

– “” – In the fiscal year that ended in June 2005, 7,745 animals out of 13, 236 that went to the shelter ended up missing or unaccounted for. – “”

And it goes on with more … And then there is this quote from the piece –

“” “Half of Anderson County is in love with the animals, and the other half is fighting pit bulls and chickens,” Allen said Friday. “No matter which side you take, you are going to get beat over the head.” “”

Like sands through the hourglass, and so are the days of our lives. ”

Can’t we just settle on a system where homeless pets are taken in, cared for and adopted out? Can’t we have the rescue groups work with county shelters – even if it means some system of background checks are used? Can’t we focus on educating the portion of the population that just hasn’t gotten the news yet on what happens when they continue to allow their pets to produce “oops” litters of puppies and kittens.

Of course, Anderson County is far from being the only county in the country with problems that are leading to the death of thousands of homeless pets each year within the county lines.

The more pets that are dying, the more I’m thinking about the following as a possible means to at least put a dent in the terrible number of deaths.

Institute systems where a higher fee – substantially higher – is charged to register an unaltered dog or cat. If someone is discovered with an unregistered pet or is found with a litter of puppies or kittens from an unregistered pet, they pay a fine and will be required to volunteer X number of hours at the shelter. They will be assigned duties such as cleaning kennels and observing any euthanasia procedures.

Now I know, from what I’ve read often on this topic, some people will suggest this is the wrong way to go. They will suggest a system of higher fees and of greater punishments for those contributing to the terrible death rate of homeless pets will push too many people to not register their pets at all and to not take their puppies and kittens to the shelter.

I understand that could happen. But these are the individuals we’re looking to target with better rules and regulations. As it stands now, they are freely and without punishment contributing to the problem every day in every shelter across the country. And millions are dying each year because of it. How can we hold them accountable for their actions.

I just have a hard time NOT holding the people accountable who are the major contributors to the death of millions of dogs and cats each year. Maybe my suggested plan is not the perfect solution. If so, I want to know how we can hold these people accountable – the folks who allow their pets to freely breed homeless offspring – and the puppy mill operators as well?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kym Sargent on August 26, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Unfortunately, no matter what solution is proposed or made into law…there will never be enough personnel to enforce.
    Also, I find AC on Animal Planet programs ARE NOT the usual AC you find operating out in Every
    town and county, USA.
    It’s a sad plight for animals. I am a member of a grass roots effort to curb the 97% kill rate at an area shelter. The shelter blames non responsible owners…yet the shelter throws roadblocks in the way of every effort we have made to try to get their animals adopted in lieu of the heart sticking vet who is contracted to run the local facility.


    • Posted by Tom Grady on August 28, 2010 at 8:03 am

      Heart sticking is horrible, as is the case for gas chambers.
      So many shelters have proven injection is a far more humane and safe approach.
      But, as I must note whenever I mention more humane methods of euthanasia, it is extremely sad that this is happening at all.
      Other than for dogs and cats who are suffering or have no hope of rehabilitation, with no other viable options, animals should not be losing their lives in shelters.
      There is a lot of blame to go around for this problem – including some poorly-run shelters, greyhound racing, puppy mills and of course people who refuse to spay and neuter and allow their pets to freely create more homeless pets.
      But a 97 percent kill rate? – that is horrible. It sounds like it is ONLY a blame game there with no effort from the folks running the shelter to really fix the problem.
      Thank you for what you and others in your group are doing to help the animals.


  2. Posted by Kym Sargent on August 26, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Please edit my previous post…;
    heart sticking vet (not sicking vet)


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