Edgefield Co. to debate spay and neuter program for low-income families

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Nov. 1, 2013

EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW) -- Martha MacDonald dedicates hour after hour to the animals. At her thrift store in Edgefield, the Edgefield SPCA Treasure Chest, each ornament, piece of clothing, and toy sold is money straight to the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken.

"In the process, it helps the community, because we have very reasonably prices and low priced items," explains MacDonald.

But here in Edgefield County, there are no shelters. The county doesn't have one.

Right now, stray dogs and cats are taken to the Aiken County Animal Control's facility on Wire Road. Edgefield County pays for each dog or cat transported to that facility. In 2004, the price to Edgefield County taxpayers was $23,647. In 2012, the price was $65,251.

"[Aiken County is] overrun with their own animals, so it means that most of the animals are euthanized," MacDonald says. "There is nothing up here, which is really tragic."

However, the Edgefield County Council will soon change that. On Tuesday, council members will hold a public hearing and vote about where a shelter should be built. Another separate ordinance to be debated would set aside $5,000 a year for a spay-and-neuter program.

"The proposed ordinance sets aside $5,000 annually to aid low-income families to have their pet spayed or neutered to help control the pet population," Council Chairman Dean Campbell's monthly newsletter explains. "This program has worked well in other counties to help bring down the number of animals that can become strays, according to the SPCA. Also, the County will pay for the $25 fee for transporting the animal. All the qualifying pet owner is required to pay is the $15 application fee, which includes a microchip that will be fitted on the animal.

"Cats can have kittens three times a year, and the average litter is four to eight kittens. Now, if those kittens live and go on to reproduce, over the course of ten years we could have as many as 79,000 cats," adds MacDonald.

For MacDonald, that program is an important component and one she wholeheartedly supports.

"If the county is able to offer low-cost, and I mean low-cost, spay and neuter, people are going to be more likely to bring their animals in," she says.

By the way, the Edgefield SPCA Treasure Chest, which was slated to close, will stay open. It is located near the Turkey Shoppe on Main. It's open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM.

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