FOTAS asks people to report cases of animal neglect across the county

(L to R) Chance, Kenna, and Dede were all in horrible shape when they were dropped off at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. (Source: FOTAS Aiken)
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Friday, Aug. 2, 2019

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Aiken County Animal Shelter and Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) are pleading with people to treat animals better before dropping them at a shelter.

While shelters try to showcase the healthiest animals to adopt on the adoption floor, its the pets you don't see who need the most help.

FOTAS says most of the animals who are surrendered or brought in to the Aiken County Animal Shelter are in fair to good condition, but a number of animals were dropped off in very poor, near-death conditions in July.

Some of the dropoffs volunteers see include dogs and cats days away from starving to death, kittens with eyes glued shut due to illness, pets with injured legs after being hit by a car, infected bite wounds, embedded collars due to them being so tight, and scars from years of being left on a chain.

ACAS is by far not the only shelter to see these conditions across the country, but they're spreading a message: "As a community, we can do better than this," says FOTAS Program Director Kathy Jacobs.

We want to introduce you to a few of the pets who were dropped off in July, and give you updates on how they're doing now.

Luckily, these animals all have a healthy ending. It's up to adopters as to whether the stories end happily.

Kenna was brought to the shelter as a stray. The 3-year-old mix was missing fur, emaciated from lack of food, covered in scars, and she could barely stand up. She was taken to a bed and was fed as uch as she needed, and a few days later she was ready to walk around with new strength. Volunteers used their off time to stay with her and hold her, petting her to keep her comfortable. Today, this survivor is strong, jumping, and ready for a new home of her own.

Chance also came in to the shelter in bad condition last month. He was skin and bones and missing fur in patches. He was itching in those balding spots from sleeping in dirt and having fleas all over. The volunteers immediately kept him fed and comfortable, and he refused to leave his nice, new, fluffy bed. After sleeping for days, always wearing a smile, he started to feel better. Chance is now a sweet boy who loves to chill. He doesn't even jump or bark. He's waiting for his forever home at the ACAS.

Dede is the most recent arrival in poor condition at ACAS. She just a baby at one-year-old and has a non-contagious and easy-to-treat form of mange. The illness got so severe from neglect she suffered that she has almost no fur, her bones are very prominent from starving, and she has almost no color to her. The sweetheart never barks and she never tries to run off. Volunteers think this may be the happiest she's ever been. She's currently getting medical care as well, but she needs a foster home for the next month or so until her coat (which looks like it will be nice and red) comes in. Once she's ready, she'll move to the adoption floor.

These future pets all need help and new homes. They're only a sample of the type of dogs shelter workers see nearly every day.

If anyone would like to adopt or foster any of these animals, or any others in need at the shelter, visit 333 Wire Road, in Aiken.

“We always need volunteers, foster homes, kennels and supplies,” said FOTAS President Jennifer Miller. “Thank you to everyone who has brought beds, food and financial donations to the shelter so we can provide the medical treatment and care for these pets in need.”

FOTAS encourages citizens to alert authorities if they see an animal that is being neglected or abused. If you witness animal neglect or cruelty, it is recommended you follow these guidelines:


  • Call Aiken County Animal Control, (803) 642-1537 and press “1” when prompted.

  • It is possible to file an anonymous report, but please consider providing your information. The case is more likely to be pursued when there are credible witnesses willing to stand behind the report and, if necessary, testify in court.

  • Don’t confront the people who own the animals unless you know them well and are comfortable bringing the topic up for discussion. Assess their approachability and always err on the side of caution.

  • Take photos or video of the neglect if you can, but don’t trespass on their property or put yourself at risk.

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