NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As countless homeless animals are taken into animal shelters across the state, thousands of animals’ lives are at stake as several shelters are at capacity.

To combat overcapacity, shelters throughout the state have united to launch “Summer Slam Emergency Rescue Operation” led by Charleston Animal Society’s No Kill South Carolina 2024 and the South Carolina Animal Care and Control Associate (SCACCA).

“Many shelters are waiving their adoption fees or significantly reducing them in an effort to get more people to take home a shelter pet. We’re asking all shelters to implement managed moratoriums and accept only animals in danger or who present a danger to others until we get out of this State of Emergency,” says Abigail Appleton, No Kill South Carolina 2024 Chief Project Officer.

Charleston Animal Society presents ways to help and encourages everyone to visit their local animal shelters and adopt or foster at-risk animals:

  • Citizens can adopt or foster animals or sponsor adoption fees
  • Businesses can become adoption ambassadors for animals
  • Vetenarians can help shelters through the backlog of animals with spay/neuter
  • Rescue groups can take in additional at-risk animals
  • Government shelters and animal control agencies can implement managed moratoriums

“We are in unchartered waters, in a perfect storm. We have the end of summer slowdown in adoptions, the peak of hurricane season and the pandemic resurgence,” says Shelly Simmons, President of SCACCA.

Will Howell of Pet Helpers, says that another way the community can help is by spaying and neutering their pets. Howell says that stray pets having babies is another reason the shelters are at capacity.

“A dog can start to carry litters at nine months old and they can do that every couple of months,” said Howell. “So it’s really important that not only are you taking care of your animals and keeping a watchful eye of what they’re doing, but also taking the precautions and making sure they’re spaying or neutered.”

The COVID-19 pandemic also adds to the emergency as they are dealt with a shortage of veterinarians and shelter staff.

“This is a community crisis, not only an animal shelter crisis, just as COVID is a community crisis, not only a hospital crisis, everyone has a role to play,” Simmons adds, “for instance, citizens can help lost pets find their way back home instead of taking them to shelters, where they are far less likely to find their way back home.”