The Berkeley County Animal Center is often at capacity but rarely does it stop taking in animals all together. An emergency moratorium on animal intakes put in place in late June remained in place at deadline.
Until further notice, it was announced the shelter will only accept animals that are in danger or that present a danger to others.
“We are issuing an urgent plea to our community right now for help. The animal center is overwhelmed and out of room,” said Heather McDowell, animal center director.
The capacity issues, in part, is due to the time of year, said Tiffany Hoffman, shelter manager.
“We are knee deep in kitten season, puppy season, people on vacation,” she said. “There is a lot going on, but a lot of it is just owner surrenders. There is a record number of owner surrender requests this year, animals being dumped at record numbers.”
So far, the effort to stop intakes is working a little but not enough. The shelter has taken the drastic measure before but for not this long.
“Even with the moratorium, we are still full and that is what is insane,” she said.
Most of nation is hitting a baby boom when it comes to animals. Hoffman theorizes the problem is when the pandemic hit, a lot of owners didn’t get their pets spayed or neutered and now those animals are having all the puppies and kittens.
Animale rescues across the country are reporting they are full, she said. Before implementing the moratorium, “we had crates in every room of this building,” Hoffman said.
Like other no-kill shelters, Berkeley County depends on similar centers across the state and along the East Coast to share the load. But other shelters are full, too. Adoptions will not fix the problem. It will take some creativity and time to get back to normal.
“There are days when you have 30 animals coming in, and you may have 10 go to foster care or adoptions. After that week, the numbers just don’t match,” she said.
The newly constructed Berkeley County Animal Center opened in 2021. It quickly took in 650 animals.
The $1.7-million center is 11,500 square feet and consists of a main building, intake kennels, and adoption kennels. On average, the center goes through about 700 pounds of dog food a week.
The shelter urges people to consider fostering, adopting or donating. Anyone who is missing an animal is also encouraged to come to the shelter to see if their pet is there.
Adoption fees have been reduced to $20 for dogs and cats six months and older.
People interested in adopting or fostering can go the center that is located at 131 Central Berkeley Drive, Moncks Corner. For more information, call 843-719-5050.