Local animal rescues bracing for influx of animals after shelter closes

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The closing of the Doc Williams SPCA in Berkeley County leaves only one animal shelter in the county which is already dealing with the issue of overcrowding.

“The Tri-County area, and Berkeley County in particular has been overrun with stray and unwanted animals for a long time,” said the owner of Bees Ferry Veterinary Hospital Dr. Sally Lanford. “Obviously we need all the shelters and fosters and available homes we can get. This is an unfortunate blip, but it’s just a blip.”

The Doc Williams SPCA closed after it ran out of money, and now the Berkeley Animal Center is worried their overcrowding issue is going to get worse.

“Now that Doc Williams has closed, Berkeley Animal Center will be the only animal center in the entire county, and it will put a lot strain on us,” said Berkeley County Government Public Information Officer Carli Drayton. “I’m definitely confident in the workers we have here now. They’re going to work through it.”

Nearly three times the number of owners surrendered their pets over the past month.

With only one place for strays to go, that number could go up even more.

“On October we had 15 owner surrenders. And this month we’ve had 41,” Drayton said. “The numbers can definitely go up now they don’t have another option to take their animals too. They’re unfortunately going to have to come to us.”

When there’s no more room for pets at the center they send out a plea for fosters and call national, state, and local rescues.

“There are many rescues in the area that are also at capacity. So we are looking at fosters and asking people to please open their homes and hearts and take in an animal especially with the holidays,” Landford said.

Landford operates two rescues in the Lowcountry and said she’s going to do what she can to help alleviate the overcrowding in Berkeley County.

“Now that the shelter in Berkeley County is closing, we’re looking to try and step in to do something hopefully permanently but at least temporarily to take stress off the shelter there,” Landford said.

Landford and Drayton said fostering and adoption would lead to the overcrowding issue, in addition to getting pets spayed and neutered.

“Until people spay and neuter their pets, until we get a good low cost spay and neuter program in all three counties and until people view their pets as disposable the problem is only going to get worse,” Landford said.

The Berkeley County Animal Center can cold 75 dogs and 70 cats.

The center will start running adoption and fostering specials from now until the holidays.

Doc Williams is expected to close its doors on Saturday.

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