Saturday, May 17, 2008

Homeless Pets Languish Due to Lack of Animal Control in Rural South

We often hear about the high kill rates of animal shelters in the South. The Columbia Animal Shelter in South Carolina for example has an approximate 80% kill rate (the 20% save rate includes owner redemptions). State or locally funded shelters in North Carolina averaged an approximate 77% kill rate for the years 2001 - 2006.

But homeless pets in the South face another problem as well: many rural areas lack animal control officers and facilities. In McCormick County, SC stray animals rely upon the kindness of volunteers to tend to them at an outdoor kennel. If donated food runs out, volunteers sometimes dip into their own wallets to feed homeless pets.

Burke County, Georgia is another such area - no animal control or shelter to help the many stray pets who are living and dying in the community. Some residents are upset by the situation and want a shelter for their area but county leaders say there isn't enough tax money. "One county commissioner says an animal shelter could cost about as much as it does to keep deputies on the road there." This attitude, if embraced by all who have a say, will surely spell defeat for the idea. The implication being that the residents must choose - police helping people or animal control helping pets. But of course it's not that dire. There are alternative methods to funding a shelter which the community can pitch in and work toward. The money does not have to come out of the allowance for deputies. A referendum will appear on the ballot in July in order for Burke County voters to decide what direction to move regarding animal control.

If you are a resident of an area with no or insufficient animal control services, please visit the No Kill Advocacy Center to learn about transforming your community into one which saves pets' lives.

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