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'No Kill SC' plan moves forward with lofty goals of saving all shelter animals

'No Kill SC' plan moves forward with lofty goals of saving all shelter animals

A new initiative could help thousands of shelter animals across the state. Local shelters are trying to make South Carolina a "no kill" state, but there's a lot of work to be done.

"No Kill South Carolina" is already garnering support. The Petco Foundation donated $250,000 to get the infrastructure in place.

At the Francis R. Willis SPCA in Summerville, operating a full capacity is not uncommon.

Shelter manager Christine Brugge said they try to save as many animals they can. In 2013, she said their save rate was 50 percent.

"The past two years, we've actually been much better," said Brugge. "In, 2014 it was about 69 percent and last year it was 70 percent."

She said they need more kennels, more medications, and more spaying and neutering. Currently, they shuttle their animals to the Charleston Animal Society for spaying and neutering. Brugge said the future looks bright with "No Kill South Carolina."

"We really to increase our rescue program as well and that's something that a resource center would be able to offer," said Brugge. "They would have more names more locations that we can send animals to."

Charleston Animal Society is one of six other shelters that have signed on as a resource center. He said they've successfully brought their euthanasia rate down from 65 percent to around 10 percent.

"Spay and neuter is the flagship of defense and adoptions and adoptions are the offense and it takes offense and defense to move toward a no kill community," Elmore said.

Brugge said funding and space is their biggest hurdle.

"We don't have the resources to market, to put ourselves out there and put our names on billboards and be part of huge events," said Brugge. "So that's something that we're really looking for."

CAS hopes to serve as a model on how shelters can make it possible. In 2008, CAS committed to making Charleston County a no-kill county. He said they started with no resources either, but found a way to make it happen, which included thinking outside the box. Their annual firefighter calendar, featuring firefighters with the Charleston Fire Department holding adoptable animals, has raised roughly $350,000. He hopes they can help smaller shelters overcome the same challenges, regardless of budget.

"So what we had to do, we had to build up those resources and project No Kill South Carolina is not only strategies that are best practices it's also strategies to build up those resources," said Elmore.

Elmore said there's no set deadline, but their goal is to have every county in the state located at least one hour from a resource center.

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