SUMMERVILLE – The only animal shelter in Dorchester County has been forced to briefly suspend admissions after maximizing its space.
By November 4, the adoption, admission and treatment floors at Dorchester Paws were completely full. The organizers reported that in 62 days, the shelter had welcomed nearly 750 cats and dogs.
That’s about 15 animals a day, officials said. Dorchester Paws has 80 kennels available with the option of adding 10 more.
“The even harsher reality is that there are many days when intakes exceed more than 20 animals per day,” said Danielle Zuck, director of marketing and development for Dorchester Paws.
This led to the shelter closing animal admissions from November 2-8.
In August, the shelter’s organizers warned it was potentially approaching a break in admissions. This was because the nonprofit went through what its leaders described as the “perfect storm” of concerns.
Adoptions had plummeted with many families returning to work and school in person with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, the shelter had emptied its kennels for the very first time.
Organizers said they were having issues with transferring pets to animal shelters outside of the state. The usual spaces they work with to help reduce the number of their shelters have been full.
Meanwhile, the Charleston Animal Society recently rescued 85 dogs in Laurens County.
According to law enforcement officials, two people face multiple charges of cruelty-related offenses in connection with the incident.
Bryant Taylor, the organization’s emergency response and preparedness manager, said the scene was heartbreaking.
Workers had to wear hazmat suits due to poor conditions. They also could only save a few animals at a time due to the smell of urine and feces, he said.
Two puppies were also found dead.
“Many had been hiding inside the walls, they were so scared,” Taylor said in a press release.
More than 6 million animals enter a shelter each year according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dorchester Paws is a safe haven without killing. This, along with other issues, has caused the shelter’s adoption floor to be at maximum capacity for an excessive amount of time.
“Much longer than usual for this time of year,” Zuck said.
A day of care for 750 animals costs more than $ 26,000, according to shelter officials. One of the best things residents can do is try to keep some of the stray animals they find at home with them instead of immediately bringing them to the shelter.
They can also ask in their neighborhood to find the owner of the animal themselves, organizers said. Berkeley Animal Center staff also agree.
“Do not immediately call Animal Control or the shelter,” said Jenna-Ley Jamison, spokesperson for the Berkeley Animal Center.
Dorchester Paws is not the only shelter facing overcrowding issues. The Berkeley County Animal Center moved to its new location on Berkeley Drive in Moncks Corner in February.
This month, the shelter also faces overcrowding issues. Last year, the center welcomed at least 6,000 animals.
The shelter is currently facing a shortage of supplies and volunteers in combination with its nearly full kennels.
“We never wanted the facility to be a place to house animals for the long term,” Jamison said. “Again, our main goal is to take care of them temporarily while helping them find permanent and loving homes.”
Jamison said the center is asking those wishing to adopt or adopt a home to visit the shelter at 131 Central Berkeley Drive in Moncks Corner instead of calling. The reason is that the center is regularly inundated with calls.
Community members can also visit the centre’s website at animalcenter.berkeleycountysc.gov. There people can learn about things like how to donate supplies like cat and dog food.
But Jamison also said staff members wanted to stress that overpopulation is a national problem.
To reach Jerrel floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @ jfloyd134.