PICKENS COUNTY — As Foothills Humane Society has resorted to launching crowd-sourced funding pages on social media in an eleventh hour attempt to avoid closure, the Pickens County SPCA is thriving, landing an additional 68 grand in funding from County Council on Monday night.
The funding request, which was approved unanimously, included $28,279.30 to upgrade existing facilities for environmental compliance, $29,600 for intake kennels, $8,435.40 for new epoxy flooring and $1,804.80 for additional dog beds.
“If you’re familiar with the facility at all, this is the old pound and it’s not proofed for the weather. The ceiling — the roof — has holes in it, the doors don’t close in the front and back,” said County Attorney Ken Roper when asked for clarification by Council. “If we want to use these facilities as a place to keep animals, we’re going to need to bring it up to USDA standards.”
Roper said the building needed to be insulated, needed windows and needed a heat and air unit, among other things.
“If we have this building up to standard it will allow us to keep animals for an evaluation period longer before we move them up to the ‘middle’ pound,” he said. “It’ll give the staff more options and it will give us a longer time so we don’t have to make tough decisions quickly.”
The funds would be coming from the County’s general fund capitol reserve, said Ralph Guarino, County finance director.
Additionally, the County is also looking into the possibility of hiring their own on-staff veterinarian for the shelter, although officials stated it was a new idea and the financial pros and cons had yet to be weighed.
The funding for the SPCA comes on the heels of pleas from the public during last month’s meeting to reconsider funding Foothills Humane Society.
According to meeting minutes, Pree Hamilton appeared before Council on Nov. 6 and requested that the County “keep” the Humane Society until the SPCA “gets their feet wet and everything works out.”
Kim Jackson also appeared to speak about Upstate SPCA and the Humane Society stating while she agreed having Upstate SPCA is a great thing and applauded the County’s efforts to create an open intake facility that offers adoptions and works with rescue groups — there still needs to be more done in regards to spay and neuter programs, backyard breeders, flea markets sales and puppy mills.
Jackson stated until all of the mentioned issues could be addressed, the County needs all rescue groups and shelters to function and encouraged Council to fund the Humane Society, as the organization needs time to become self-sufficient and hopefully obtain grant funding.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking.
Humane Society Director Samantha Gamble has repeatedly said if the agency is not fully funded by the end of the year, the agency will close for good.
To their credit, they’re not going down without a fight.
As of the writing of this article, the Humane Society has raised $53,617 of their $70,000 goal — just over 70 percent — giving the staff of the agency a glimmer of hope.
“We can’t close our doors. Pickens County Humane Society is a no kill shelter, the animals need us to keep them safe, healthy and to find forever homes,” said Gamble. “We need your help to save the shelter — and save the animals.”
To donate to Pickens County Humane Society visit www.gofundme.com/pickenscountyhumanesociety.