FOTAS: Giving thanks at the Aiken County Animal Shelter

November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for FOTAS – a time to take stock of our blessings; to consider the remarkable progress we and the county have made in making the world a better place for Aiken County’s homeless, abandoned and abused animals; and in particular, to celebrate the many people who have contributed to our success.

Thanks to our committed partner, Aiken County, for making it possible to save the lives of thousands upon thousands of homeless animals.

Thanks to Paige Bayne, the county’s enforcement and animal services director; Bobby Arthurs, the shelter manager and chief animal control officer; Dr. Lisa Levy, the shelter’s veterinarian; and all the shelter staff for their dedication to finding every adoptable animal a forever home.

Thanks also to the army of volunteers who make the work of FOTAS possible – everything from manning the front desk, walking and training dogs, managing canine play groups, working special events and fundraisers, fostering dogs, organizing transfers, manning off-site adoption events and working on publicity and social media, to financial records and bookkeeping.

Finally, thanks to you, the Aiken community, for your extraordinary generosity and support. You have made it possible for FOTAS to help the county provide the best possible care for shelter animals and to find them forever homes. As a result of all our collective efforts, FOTAS was one of 10 recipients out of 33,000 charities in South Carolina recognized by the secretary of state as an “angel” charity for its effective and efficient service in the community.

That’s a very big deal.

But there’s still so much to do. Intake at the shelter has exploded – in the last six weeks over 700 animals were surrendered to the shelter. The strain on the system, our resources, volunteers and staff is huge, and eventually the system will not be able to keep up. It just can’t.

The answer to reducing these extraordinary intake numbers is to reduce the homeless population by fixing every pet. Adopting a pet into the family requires commitment and responsibility for shelter, food, and medical care for that pet for their entire life.

Sure, sometimes awful things happen to good people and they are forced to do the unthinkable – give up a beloved pet – but surrendering an animal to a public shelter must be the very last resort. We are pleading with folks to network with their friends and family, use social media, do everything they can to rehome their pet into a safe and healthy situation. No matter how good FOTAS and the county shelter are, a pet surrendered to the shelter is at risk because there are only so many animals that can be absorbed into an already pet-saturated community at any given time.

Please join us in our fight to reduce the homeless population of pets through spay/neuter and educating the public about pet responsibility. Help us help others keep their pets out of the county shelter through networking, communication, patience and a little ingenuity.

Thank you, and God bless you and your family during this holiday season.

Their lives are in our hands.

By the Numbers

In the last six weeks, more than 700 animals have been received by the shelter as strays or surrendered pets.

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