Overcrowding dilemma for area animal shelters

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, Sept. 6, 2007

Animal shelters are committed to finding good homes for the pets in their care, but overcrowding can make that difficult. Now, one local shelter is temporarily lowering prices in order to make room.

Both the Columbia County and Aiken County animal shelters are overcrowded. With dogfighting in the news lately, where the animals go is a big concern.

There's a sale going on at the Columbia Animal Shelter. $5 for kittens and puppies, $10 for cats and dogs. The simple reason: overcrowding.

"More people in the county which means more animals and we just don't have enough space," says Linda Fulmer, manager of the Columbia County Animal Care and Control.

The center is doing everything they can. The problem isn't food, it's space. They're actually losing $15 for each animal adopted.

"But at least we are trying to get them out and get them some homes," Linda adds.

Where they end up is anyone's guess.

"There's really now way to screen everybody that comes in here," Linda says.

In Aiken County, Jessica Poole has seen her share of animals abused from dogfighting. It's only been a couple of weeks since Michael Vick admitted to dogfighting in Virgina. Aiken County's shelter makes sure anyone looking to adopt has a veterinarian who is reliable.

"Not come through our door and say I have a vet but I can't think of their name off the top of my head. That's not a vet," Jessica says.

If she gets a bad vibe, the animal comes first.

"If I have someone coming in here and the first words out of their mouth are: do you have a pit bull for adoption. No, I don't and you're in the wrong place," Jessica adds.

Ultimately, its up to the shelter to make sure the animal is ok. But Poole admits, "it's almost impossible to be 100 percent sure a dog won't be put into that environment."

600 to 700 animals come to the Aiken Shelter in a normal month. They stay very busy. Again, the reduced rates at the Columbia County Animals Shelter will last until 5PM Friday.

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