Animal society in danger of overcapacity; Animals' lives at risk

By Eric

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- Over capacity and overwhelmed, the Charleston Animal Society is in danger of running out of room.

Each day the animal safe-haven gets closer to being overcapacity. So much so, the lives of its animals may be at risk.

Volunteers are getting more animals than they're equipped to handle.

"They're coming in faster than they're going out," said Animal Society Director of Operations, Pearl Sutton.

Tuesday alone, the Charleston Animal Society took in 30 potential pets. That brought the shelter to near capacity with just under 500 animals. To make space, cages of cats have been moved to the building's welcome area, a place these animals are not accustomed to.

"We have our head above water, but we don't know how long we can stay there, we're sinking," Sutton said.

Officials organized a free adoption day to help put pups in a new home. More than 150 people walked through their doors in just the first two hours of business Wednesday.

"They're over-booked from what they told me. They're overcrowded, and they're trying to get as many animals into a home," said Jennifer Lucas, who adopted a dog Wednesday. "That way they don't have to put any of them down."

The animal society says it will do whatever it takes to get the animals adopted, but worst case scenario, if they can't, some may have to be euthanized.

"You see so many dogs nowadays on the street, flea infested, hungry and just neglected. It breaks your heart," said Audrey Hill, another new dog owner.

It's common for the animal society to be a overwhelmed during the summer months, bombarded by new arrivals.

"It's the time of year where a lot of families move, and they haven't made prior arrangements. So, pets are being turned in," Sutton said. "Some of them are strays, and some of them are owner surrenders."

Other animals are abandoned and handed over by animal control. It's a sad situation that could have a happy ending, and a second chance for hundreds of pets.

All animals, adult dogs, cats, and kittens are free to adopt. Any adult cat adoption comes with a gift card for a lifetime of food.

The shelter will be open for extended hours Wednesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.