THE DECISION six years ago by Richland and Lexington counties to help fund a no-kill animal shelter marked a significant shift, as it put taxpayers’ dollars behind the ideals of animal-rescue organizations that had been created to offer an alternative to governments’ traditional policy of spending tax money euthanizing strays.
Pawmetto Lifeline (formerly Project Pet) was chosen to operate the adoption center, and it estimates that it has rescued more than 13,000 pets in the past 14 years through its education programs, spay-and-neuter clinic and other initiatives.
Things have not worked out as well for Pets Inc., which lost the bid to get government funding for its alternative approach to rescuing strays. The scrappy little shelter that has been saving abandoned pets and strays for two decades now needs someone to save it. Without an infusion of cash, the organization’s founders say, they will have to close their doors.
Although we long have been troubled by all the time and energy that animal-rescue organizations in the Midlands waste fighting like — well, like cats and dogs — there’s nothing to celebrate about this. The fact is that while our community would be better served if these two (and other) animal-rescue organizations worked together — ideally even merging, in order to cut down on overhead costs and direct more of their precious resources to saving abandoned animals — we have a tremendous unmet need.
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The goal that the governments implicitly endorsed with their support of the no-kill shelter, the goal that we all ought to be working toward, is to turn the Midlands into a no-kill community. That requires aggressive adoption and spay-and-neuter services to reduce the pet population, which in turn reduces the amount taxpayers pay to house and kill cats and dogs.
Yet despite the good work of Pets Inc. and Pawmetto Lifeline, shelters in Richland and Lexington counties still kill an estimated 11,000 pets every year.
Clearly, this isn’t a problem that Pawmetto Lifeline can solve on its own: Its ambitious goal is to rescue 4,000 adoptable pets every year and to spay and neuter 17,000 annually — which still leaves too many pets being killed by our governments. Ideally, the Pets Inc. family would join with Pawmetto Lifeline and work together toward their lofty and shared goal, but even if that can’t happen, we can’t afford to lose the committed work of Pets Inc.
So we would urge people who care about the welfare of animals to send a donation to Pets Inc. at P.O. Box 764, White Rock, SC, 29177, or online at www.petsinc.org. And if for some reason you don’t want to help out this organization, we would urge you to donate to Pawmetto Lifeline or one of the other local animal-rescue organizations. They need our help, because the animals need their help.