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Pilot program will hopefully save potential pets

 

A new program that will soon begin in Colleton County will greatly reduce the number of puppies and dogs currently being euthanized in Colleton County.

The euthanization rate in our county currently stands at about 80 percent, translating into about eight of 10 dogs and cats housed at the Colleton County Animal Shelter at 33 Poor Farm Road on Green Pond Highway just outside of Walterboro are being put down. The rate is so high because no one is adopting them.
Friends of Colleton County Animal Shelter (FoCCAS) President Laura Clark is focusing her attention on this serious problem. “I am not ashamed to tell you that I have an agenda other than raising support for this transport. I hope this can be a way to raise public awareness about the number of wonderful animals that are euthanized in our shelter every month. The average is 200 cats and dogs! That is a community problem that requires a community solution. I know you will find a way to help us educate the readers in Colleton County of this tragic condition,” she said.

Laura noted that the transport idea was borne out of concern for the number of puppies that are euthanized at the county shelter due to lack of space. Shelter Director Tim Lynes added, “as of the end of October, 124 puppies were euthanized this year. We are happy to have the opportunity to save the lives of these animals, most of which would have died at the shelter. The majority of the puppies were found as strays, many with their mothers. The shelter is providing medical care for some of the mother dogs and will place them for adoption when they are ready.”

With the help of  Suzanne Carr, who has a wealth of experience with transfers of puppies from shelters in the South to shelters in the North, Lynes and Shelter Technician Amanda King, FoCCAS initiated a pilot program.

“We have pulled 17 puppies and one adult dog for the transport,” Laura said. “They range in age from eight weeks to one year old. They include dachshund mixes, lab mixes, hounds, and Heinz 57s. All must be vaccinated, de-wormed, and issued a health certificate before they can be transported into the state of Maine. The animals are currently in seven different foster homes. This helps reduce the risk of illness as well as providing socialization with people, a very important factor in puppy development. The shelter in Maine and many like it have a demand for mixed breed puppies. Their spay/neuter programs have been effective and they presently are in a position to accept puppies from areas that have more than they can find adoptive homes for. Having the puppies at their shelter increases the traffic and increases the potential for some of their other animals to be adopted.”

FoCCAS is coordinating the transport program on its own behalf. Donated funds will pay for the van rental, gas, tolls and meal expenses for the 2 volunteers who will be driving the 17 hour (one way) trip, as well as the medical expenses for the animals. The sponsorship cost is $25, and the cost to ship an individual puppy or dog is about $50.

FoCCAS is currently soliciting donations of medium, large and extra large plastic travel crates that are in good condition as well as financial support. Contact Laura at (843) 906-1849 to donate crates. Monetary donations can be made through Paypal on our website at foccas-sc.org or via checks made out to FoCCAS, 33 Poor Farm Road, Walterboro, SC 29488.

“We will later evaluate this trip and decide whether we feel we can support subsequent transports,” Laura said. “It will really depend on the support the community provides. Of course, the long term solution to the problem is for people to spay and neuter their pets so we don’t have so many unwanted pets.”