January 2, 2019

Another year has flown by, and we are all thinking of ways we can improve ourselves in the new year. Is your New Year’s resolution to get fit? Come walk some dogs in need of enrichment and love.

Want to have your voice heard? Help us pass important animal welfare legislation.

Want to save money better? Shop at one of our SPCA thrift stores, “Where Shopping Saves Lives,” and find boutique items at thrift store prices, all while giving back. There are numerous ways you can get involved with your local shelter in the new year. Here are just a few of our favorite ways:

• Get involved in legislation. This is the best way to ensure protection for animals today and in the future. Research all of the laws that are currently in place at www.cityofaikensc.gov/animals-pets (City of Aiken) and www.scstatehouse.gov (Quick Search: “Animals”). This search will link you to all current and proposed animal-related legislation.

This new year, you will have the opportunity to help us pass vital statewide legislation. As a member of the South Carolina Animal Legislative Coalition, the SPCA Albrecht Center is encouraging the re-introduction of statewide Humane Tethering legislation.

You may remember similar legislation from this past year, which was wrapped up in a larger animal welfare omnibus bill. This last year’s bill passed the Senate unanimously. Unfortunately, it was held up in the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, where it failed to pass at the last minute. This session, the bill is being re-introduced on its own and is a major focus for the SCALC (South Carolina Administrative Law Court) efforts to improve the conditions of dogs tied outside.

The coalition is also focusing on the plight of the most common dog found in shelters – the pit bull mix. This breed blend mix is the most abused, the most numerous in shelters and the hardest dog to adopt. Therefore, it is also the most common type to be euthanized. Suggestions have been put forth to require that all fertile pit mixes must be registered. The logic is that owners of fertile pit mixes pay for the risk of their dogs being responsible for the chance of unwanted dogs ending up in shelters.

Beaufort County recently passed a significant Pit Mix fee and it reduced admissions by 19 percent, with no significant increase in surrenders. Other parts of the country have done the same with good results. We will be updating our supporters when we need your help passing these bills.

• Become a volunteer. Volunteers are truly the backbone of any nonprofit organization. They provide support for the animals and staff solely out of their passion for the cause. There are many ways to get involved at your local shelter as a volunteer. At the SPCA Albrecht Center, you can participate in dog walking, cat socialization, off-site adoptions, fostering, humane education, the SPCA thrift stores and more.

For more information on how to get involved as a volunteer, you can email Jessica Gladkowski, director of community relations, at Jessica@letlovelive.org or visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer.

Only have a day or weekend to spare? There are many projects you can do in a day, and even just hours, that can make a difference. Build an insulated house for feral cats during wintertime, make enrichment toys or host a supply drive for your local shelter, have a small food drive for pet owners in need or hold a small fundraiser in benefit of your local shelter. There are hundreds of great ideas of ways you can use your spare time to positively impact our unwanted homeless pet population.

Visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer-opportunities and click “Service Hour Guide” for service project ideas, including an estimated time allotment for each project.

• Join us for 2019 events. Our events are our favorite way to meet our supporters, adopters and donors, while having a great time and raising funds for the animals. One hundred percent of the funds raised from our events go directly to our homeless animals for vital veterinary care and supplies to keep them happy and healthy. From dog washes and Thrift Store parties to our annual Yappy Hours, we have events that every supporter can enjoy. All 2019 event dates can be found online at www.LetLoveLive.org/calendar.

The entire month of January, we are collaborating with Allegiance Ink Tattoo for Tattoos & Rescues, a one-of-a-kind tattoo fundraiser. Pet-themed tattoo designs for $30 will be offered to our supporters; $10 from each tattoo will be donated to the SPCA Albrecht Center. Visit either Allegiance Ink Tattoo locations at 4074 Washington Road, Suite 6, Martinez, Georgia, or 4387 Ridge Trail in Martinez, Georgia, to participate. Visit www.AllegianceInkTattoo.com to view the artists’ works and check open times. Are tattoos not your thing? That’s OK! Join us for one of our many other paw-ties.

There are many other ways you can help animals and your local shelter. No matter the capacity in which you are able to assist, every bit counts and is appreciated. We hope you will join us in the new year as we continue to be a voice for the voiceless; we truly could not achieve our mission if it wasn’t for all of our incredible supporters. The SPCA’s triumphs are the community’s triumphs, and we are honored to be supported by the CSRA as we welcome 2019!

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