On February 9th and 10th, Horry County Animal Care Center's spokesperson, Kelly Benome, was on Chanel 13 news. She talked about reducing the euthanasia numbers at the shelter. She said the animal care center is doing 20 spay/neuters a month and that it will take time to reduce those numbers towards a lower kill. How can she make such a statement?
With an estimate of just 100,000 free-roaming cats alone, it will take more than 400 years to reduce the cat population alone in Horry County. Oh wait, free-roaming cats are NOT even included in this program. So Horry County has NO plan to reduce the cat population at all, which is the single largest animal issue in Horry County. Further proof that the animal care center needs a new director who can implement meaningful changes that help the community.
On August 9th, the county began their program for a spay/neuter clinic. The charges are: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter for cats $50.00; dogs are $80.00.
However the following vaccinations are required :
for cats, they must have current vaccinations for rabies, calici virus, panleukopenia, and rhinotrachetitis (FVRCP) and have tested negative for FELV/FIV within the last year, and be free of parasites and fleas
for dogs, must have current distemper, parvo, bordatellla, rabies vaccinations and have tested negative for heartworms within the last year, and be parasite and flea free
Since HCACC does not do any blood work, you must first go to a veterinarian for testing for either a cat or a dog. Most veterinarians require an office visit for testing; you need the required vaccinations given at that time, which will cost you more than $100.00 BEFORE you can schedule a low-cost spay/neuter at HCACC.
Result: two office visits at a total cost of more than $100.00 for a cat and more than $150.00 for a dog! Additionally, after your animal leaves surgery, NO FOLLOW-UP CARE WILL BE PROVIDED! If your animal has a problem after you leave the care center,, you must go to an outside veterinarian or the animal emergency room for follow-up care, requiring an additional expense.
This low-cost spay/neuter surgery is anything but low-cost. It is an expensive surgery and troubling at the same time. It explains why Horry County Animal Care Center is only doing between 20 - 40 spay/neuters a month. This program is another in a line of failed programs brought to you by our county council members. This is another example why we need new leadership at the animal care center.
Apparently the $75,000 Horry County Council budgeted only covers staff and supplies. How does this help our residents? It doesn't! A failed attempt to help our Horry County residents! This is totally unacceptable. County Council Members are not listening or hearing their residents requests for help. When will they listen and do something positive for our residents and our community? Is this really the best they can do?
Free-roaming community cats are not eligible at all, even though this the largest group of animals needing services in our community. Many residents need low-cost clinics to fix these animals; again no help for our residents at all.
Once again County Council Members are NOT providing the necessary monies needed for an affordable spay and neuter programs our county residents need.
Bikini Beach Cat Rescue charges $55 to spay or neuter a cat, which includes a 1 yr. rabies vaccination with a budget 1/1oth of what Horry County has.
Call your elected council member and and tell him residents need low-cost spay/neuter clinics. Tell him this spay/neuter clinic program Horry County offered is a sad attempt to help YOU, a resident and voter of Horry County. Tell him we need real and positive change.
On May 11th, at the Public Safety Committee Meeting, a proposal was presented by Gary Gause to the members on this committee. This proposal will now go to Horry County Council Members to be voted on for approval. We did not get to see the details, but the discussions centered on hiring a part time licensed vet tech and a part time administrative person and doing a low cost clinic once a week. Gary Gause, Bill Howard and Paul Prince all agreed that these clinics were needed.
Last night, May 3rd, I presented a free offer from a national animal organization to Horry County Council. Target Zero began in 2013 with the purpose of providing a team of professionals to offer target communities consulting and training services; these services are FREE of all costs. Their goal is to help communities decrease shelter intake and decrease the euthanasia rates. Often this results in cost savings, all of which Horry County Council said it needs.
Waco Texas was the first to use their help and finished the Fiscal Year 2014/2015 with a save rate of 89%, up from 36% from 2013. Huntsville, Alabama increased their save rate to 90% within the first year, up from 68% in September of 2014. Indianapolis Animal Control saved 89% of the shelter cats in 2015. Horry County saves about 10% of cats. The save rate for dogs and cats is about 30%, not a number any shelter facility can be proud of. This offer is to save all healthy, adoptable animals in Horry County's Care. All it takes is a phone call from someone from Horry County to begin this process. Please contact your council member; all members are listed on a separate page. Tell them YOU want them to take this free offer.
Thursday, April 28th 2016, 4:06 pm EDT
By Amy Lipman, Reporter
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County is considering offering monthly spay/neuter procedures at a minimal cost to the public in an effort to reduce intakes and euthanasia at the Horry County Animal Care Center.
The announcement comes one week after WMBF News talked to the founder of Humane Voters of Horry County, who is working to bring euthanasia statistics to light and suggest ways to improve them.
Mark Lazarus brought up the HCACC at Thursday’s budget retreat.
He said he spent time at the shelter in the past week along with Councilman Al Allen, who is the chair of the Public Safety Committee.
“I’ll tell you they run an excellent operation,” he said. “They’ve got it clean and nice. They got a hard job.”
He said he believes some of the euthanasia numbers people are talking about are being skewed because the majority of the animals euthanized are sick, injured, or deemed feral and cannot be put back into society.
However, he said he understands the numbers are too high and he would like to lower them, so he proposed the county host a low-cost spay/neuter clinic monthly, so the public can access those services they might not be able to afford otherwise.
“We have a lot of folks out there that love their animals, but just don’t have the money,” he said. “It comes down to, ‘Am I going to spay or neuter my animal or am I going to put food on my table?’”
Lazarus estimates the program will cost $50,000 to $100,000 for the year in order to fund veterinarians, assistants and administrators. The small fee for the procedures will help cover some of those costs.
He said the county will also plan to launch a public relations campaign and education program to help people understand why they should spay and neuter their pets.
“It’s all an educational process,” he said. “If you look at nationwide and all of the research that has been done in the studies, it does help and helps us to reduce the number of animals that are possibly coming into our facility, which will ultimately reduce the euthanizations. We’re already doing that by an aggressive social media to adopt out a lot of these animals that are coming into us.”
Lazarus pointed out the number of animals euthanized each year has decreased and the number of animals adopted has increased.
The Public Safety Committee will develop a proposal for the low-cost spay/neuter clinics and bring it back to council.
“I think it’s something that will help us take those numbers down more at that facility and it will be a work in progress,” he said.
Lazarus pointed out this not a trap, neuter, release (TNR) program, which would involve trapping cats, fixing them then releasing them. That is one of the ideas the Humane Voters of Horry County wanted to see Horry County consider. They also pushed for low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
“It brings the attention and we listen,” he said. “There’s a lot of groups out there that want a lot of things. Financially you can only do so much. There are other things that we may can do, but the financial burden on the county might be too tremendous on us.”
Also, Lazarus mentioned HCACC cannot be compared to shelters in Greenville and Spartanburg because their budgets are four times larger and they have more room for animals.