Free help for Lower Richland pets off to slow start

tflach@thestate.comMarch 18, 2013 

— Pet owners in Lower Richland aren’t jumping at the offer of free spay and neuter services and rabies vaccinations for their dogs and cats, while those in the Pelion area are signing up, sponsors of the effort said Friday.

Only a handful of pet owners – mainly for pooches – in the Eastover and Gadsden areas are taking advantage of the offer that began Jan. 1.

So far, one cat and 15 dogs in Lower Richland have been neutered and vaccinated. The goal is to take care of 471 cats and 388 dogs there by Dec. 31.

“We’re trying to figure out how to make it happen,” said Denise Wilkinson, chief executive officer of Pawmetto Lifeline. “It’s challenging.”

Her organization is partnering with churches and community leaders to spread the word as well as to offer to pick up pets for the procedures at its shelter in the Harbison area.

The offer is more popular in the Pelion area, with 65 dogs and 17 cat spayed or neutered and given shots so far. The goal there is 236 cats and 196 dogs.

It’s an effort promoted by community leaders in the southwest corner of Lexington County .

The plan will help prevent unwanted animals roaming the area, County Councilman Jim Kinard of Swansea said

Those rural areas in both counties were targeted for the effort because large numbers of stray dogs and cats are found there, Wilkinson said.

To get help

Residents of the Eastover, Gadsden and Pelion areas can call Pawmetto Lifeline at (803) 465-9100 for more information about free spaying and rabies vaccination for pets.

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