Carolina Tails Magazine - Fall 2016

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FALL 2016 A Charleston Animal Society Publication Caitlyn’s A-Team The Pursuit of Justice

2016 Holiday Pet Gift Guide

Clicker Training for Cats!

Mosquito Danger: We’re Not Talking Zika






Publisher: Keith Simmons Editor-in-Chief: Dan Krosse Managing Editor: Joe Elmore Graphic Design: Heineman Design Copy Editor: Teri Errico Griffis Writers: Dan Krosse, Teri Errico Griffis, Ellie Whitcomb Payne, Dr. Angele Bice, Helen Ravenel Hammond, Jamie Healy, Jennifer Winchester Photographers: Jonathan Boncek, Jeanne Taylor, Tamera Parrish, Caleb Wilson, Marie Rodriguez, Brian Stiles, Ellie Whitcomb Payne, Dan Krosse, Aldwin Roman, Paul Mulkey, Mike Requidan Cover Photo: Jonathan Boncek Advertising Sales: Ted DeLoach For inquiries regarding advertising, distribution or suggestions in Carolina Tails call (843) 352-9048 or

2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406 (843) 747-4849

President: Elizabeth Bradham Vice President: Helen Pratt-Thomas Vice President: Ann Long Merck Vice President: Matt Watson, CPA, CVA Secretary: Aussie Geer Treasurer: Laurel Greer Members of the Board Kiara Barnett Mary Black Eugenia Burtschy Hal Creel, Esq. Andrea Ferguson Gerri Greenwood Hank Greer Sarah Hamlin Hastings Ellen Harley Cynthia Hayes Patricia Henley Johnny Maybank

Megan Phillips Bob Rife Dillard Salmons Stevens Diane Straney Elliott Summey Joe Waring, Esq. George “Pat” Waters Peter Waters Jeff Webster Nancy Worsham Tami Zerbst

Chief Executive Officer: Joe Elmore Media & Marketing Consultant: dpk media solutions

Contents FALL 2016




Pet Pointers


For the Love of Lola A Deaf Dog Needs a Loving Home



Caitlyn’s A-Team Pursuing Justice for “America’s Dog”



Clicker Training for Cats


Ask a Lawyer


Dwight: The Cat-Dog


The 2016 Chili Cook-off!


Firefighter Calendar


Mosquito Danger: Horses in the Crosshair


Gender Bender The Cat with Two Sexes


Designing Homes for Pets


Leaving a Legacy for Charity


Carolina Tails Holiday Gift Guide


Pet Hero: Barbara Nelson


Cat Lady on the Edge of America


Take Me Home Adoptions


My Turn: A Vet Goes to Honduras


Celebrations of Life


Time to Play!

Please contact regarding Carolina Tails distribution, advertising or suggestions. For all other inquiries, please contact Charleston Animal Society.(843) 410-2577 Carolina Tails is published quarterly by Traveler Communications Group, an independent publishing company. PO Box 22677, Charleston, SC 29413 (843 352-9048). Carolina Tails is a registered trademark of Traveler Communications Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


Cover: Jonathan Boncek

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Jennifer identifying herself after arriving at her new home at a Georgia sanctuary for chimpanzees who had lived their entire lives in a Louisiana research facility.


Looking forward to 2017, we are encouraged about the progress being made to assist other communities within our state to achieve and maintain No Kill status. Given that cats and dogs have been taking care of us for thousands of years, we believe that it is only “right” that we do the same for them. And WHEN, NOT IF, we achieve No Kill South Carolina, we will be a beacon to the other 49 states, that No Kill status is achievable through planning, discipline and rigor - one step after another. If we can do it, they can as well. And speaking of leadership, our magazine features three women, who have been extraordinary in improving the quality of life for many animals within our community – Sally Repsher (a.k.a. “Miss Sally”), Barbara Nelson and Kiara Barnett. We are all grateful for their dedication, kindness and understanding of our fellow members of the animal kingdom. One of our articles this issue features Lola, a deaf dog, for whom we are trying to find the right home. Years ago, I had a trainer who impressed upon me the thought that language can sometimes create confusion for dogs, and that quiet and hand signals can be a better method of training. We now know that dogs understand both language and speech intonation, so we may not always be communicating in the way that we think that we are. I began to use hand signals often with my dogs, and as they got older and their hearing ability declined, it became a more effective way for us to communicate. And finally, I would like to tell you about a new project with which I am involved - Project Chimps, located in Morganton, Georgia. Project Chimps is a sanctuary created to house 220 chimpanzees who are being “retired” from New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. The first nine girls arrived at the beginning of September and are settling into their new home. This group was bred in captivity for research purposes, so have never experienced life as a chimp. For the first time in their lives, they will be able to walk on grass, feel rain on their skin and climb a tree. Their joy at being re-united - these nine girls, age 10-12 - was both joyous and heartbreaking. They will now be together for the rest of their lives. In addition, mothers will be re-united with children, and siblings with siblings. For me, this project has been like opening a door to a world I never knew existed. As our closest living relative - we share 98.6% of our DNA matter - they have amazing cognitive and emotional capability, as well as communication skills. I thought I knew a lot about our fellow creatures, but work on this project has shown me that I know little, if anything, and have much to learn! I wish all of you the very best for the holidays and look forward to talking with you in the New Year.

Elizabeth Bradham, President, Charleston Animal Society



NEWS:: You Can Use



New L Tidb s its

Dog Years Don’t Add Up?

Hot Pet Tech for 2017 We know! It’s hard to stay on top of the best tech trends for pets. But here are two of the coolest gadgets and apps we found for 2017. Whistle! Losing a dog is a pet owner’s biggest fear—but Whistle will be your new hero. This app allows you to create a customizable “Whistle Zone” as a safe area for your pet to visit, and all you need to do is attach the rechargeable, waterproof tracker to your pet’s collar. Whether it’s that special place to “go” when he’s in the backyard or where he can play while at a new place on vacation, this app will alert you anytime your pet strays from the area and its GPS tracking will help you pinpoint your dog’s exact location. In addition to nationwide GPS coverage, Whistle can even help you monitor your dog’s health, track his progress and connect you to everyone in your pet’s life from spouses and friends to dog walkers and pet sitters. $59.99, Smile! You’re on Petzi Treat Camera! Keep an eye on your cat or dog all day long, even when you’re away from home with Petzi Treat Cam. Connect with your pet via your smartphone or tablet whether you’re at work, at a party or just plain on the go. Petzi’s camera offers a two-way voice function so you can speak to your pet and even take pictures. Best of all, you can dispense treats to your pet from your phone with the Petzi Treat Launcher. Users have raved both the product and company, and there’s even a social network you can join and meet other pet owners. $169.99,

Shelters Unite to Save More Lives Frances R. Willis SPCA and Charleston Animal Society announced a joint effort in September to launch an aggressive campaign addressing animal overpopulation in Dorchester County as part of Charleston Animal’s Society’s No Kill South Carolina initiative (see pg. 31). “We are prepared to begin the groundwork and make the necessary changes to embark on an unprecedented path forward in making Dorchester County more humane for animals,” stated Jennifer Bunch, President of the Frances R. Willis SPCA Board of Directors. As part of the September collaboration, Charleston Animal Society launched a free, massive spay-neuter campaign for residents of Dorchester County. As a result, more than 700 Dorchester County residents scheduled appointments to have their pets spayed or neutered.


Pups age differently than humans, that’s no secret. In fact, it’s widely known that seven human years equal one dog year. Or do they? New research seems to prove otherwise! "If you look at a one-year-old dog, he's sexually mature," veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker told recently. "They still have a little filling out to do and they're not completely mentally mature, but they're full adult size and capable of reproducing." That’s not like a 7-year-old human! Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta actually suggests that a one-year-old dog is mentally equivalent to a 13-year-old human. She goes on to offer the example of keeping your child home for the first year of his life. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal and they would have years before they attend kindergarten and catch up. “But if you wait with a dog,” she explains, “you now have a teenager on your hands—a teenager who's never seen a UPS truck, never seen a man in a hat, never seen a dog who barks at him.” With this in mind, in order to give your dog positive exposure and keep any irrational fears at bay, it’s important to socialize your dog and introduce them to as much as you can within those first few months. Let the puppy adventuring begin!

Tamara Brown has been all smiles since the birth of Finale (l) and Finesse (r).

Finesse and Finale Buck the Trend By Ellie Whitcomb Payne October 4, 2016 marks the two-month birthday of the celebrated twin foals of Traveler’s Crossing in Ridgeville. Finale, a reckless young colt, and Finesse, a tiny, sassy filly, continue to beat the odds against surviving twin foals. Though twinning in horses is not itself unusual, twins don’t typically carry to term. The American Association of Equine Practitioners says that 95% of mares naturally eliminate one of the embryos in the first 60 days. Many of those making it to later term pregnancy do not survive in utero and even fewer survive very long after birth. Not only the survival, but the health of Finale and Finesse are truly God’s blessing, says Brown. “My priority was to maintain Bunny’s (the mare’s) health. I took the leap of faith to let her carry to term primarily because she had carried them to 294 days without any issues before we even knew she was having twins.” Full term is 340 days. Bunny’s doctors suggested abortion as an option to avoid potential complications, but Brown always believed the mare capable of delivery despite the upsetting statistics. Both were born able to breathe, stand and nurse on their own. The family returned home after four days in ICU and lived in isolation for a few weeks as a precaution against disease and to allow the foals’ joints to completely ossify. Now, Finesse and Finale are playing and eating normally and even beginning to show an interest in hay and grain. “Aside from the complexities of handling two at once,” says Brown, “they are not at risk more than any other foal.” Brown hopes that her experience will inspire others to trust their instincts, even when it may go against well-meaning advice.



Inbox:: Reader Feedback

DEAR CAROLINA TAILS: The circus will never be the same without elephants, but I guess it’s all for the best. I remember as a child being amazed at what they could do. It’s sad now to think of the pain they endured for entertainment. –Paula, Edisto Island Me and my dog Veep just moved to Charleston last year, so your Summer Bucket List was a great way to see the area. We did three of them in one weekend, but he’s too big for a rickshaw ride! –Julie, West Ashley Thank you for honoring our military veterans and the animals who served with them. I was sorry to miss the ceremony, but was so glad to see your article. –Isaac, Summerville A dog who donates blood for kittens? Gumby is the bomb! –Stuart, North Charleston

Event Calendar

Send your comments to

I always thought my fish recognized me and after your article my husband doesn’t think I’m so crazy anymore. Thank you Carolina Tails. –Amber, Bonneau

Lowcountry Paws & Claws Pet Expo OCTOBER 22 • 10AM – 3PM • CHARLESTON AREA CONVENTION CENTER, 5000 COLISEUM DRIVE, NORTH CHARLESTON Sponsored by the Post & Courier, don’t miss the Lowcountry’s #1 event for you and your furry family members! Door prizes and adoptable pets, plus the latest animal care exhibits.

Dogtoberfest OCTOBER 22 • 1PM – 6PM • FRESHFIELDS VILLAGE, KIAWAH Kiawah Island Community Association and Freshfields Village are teaming up to help Lowcountry animal rescue organizations with the annual Dogtoberfest Wine Tasting and Pet Expo. Dogtoberfest is sponsored by Charleston Animal Society. Halloween costumes for dogs are encouraged!

KIA Country of Charleston Bark and Boo OCTOBER 29 • 11AM – 1PM • KIA COUNTRY, 2361 SAVANNAH HIGHWAY, CHARLESTON Bark and Boo promises to be the best Halloween pet party in town. Charleston Firefighter Calendar Models will be here autographing your calendar purchases. You can also enjoy a pet costume contest and a pet-only trick-or-treat. The price of admission is a donation of dog or cat food for Charleston Animal Society’s Pet Food Bank.

Celebrity Chili Cook-off & Oyster Roast NOVEMBER 19 • 1PM – 5PM • RIVERFRONT PARK, 1001 EVERGLADES AVENUE, NORTH CHARLESTON, SC 29405 It’s a brand new venue for the biggest, best chili cook-off ever! 5,000 animal lovers came out to support Charleston Animal Society’s medical fund – and enjoyed chili and oysters along the way! Please join us this year as a guest, a team or a sponsor — our community’s animals are depending on you.

Subaru Share the Love Spay-Neuter Event DECEMBER 8 & 9 • 8261 RIVERS AVE, NORTH CHARLESTON Crews Subaru is teaming up with Charleston Animal Society and the ASPCA for an awesome Share the Love event. Sign your pet up for a free spay-neuter, get a picture with Santa Paws and check out the 2017 Subaru models.

Hendrick Charleston Christmas Eve Pet Deliveries DECEMBER 23, 24 & 25 • CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY, 2455 REMOUNT ROAD, NORTH CHARLESTON Have your new adopted pet delivered by elves from Charleston Animal Society and Hendrick Charleston. Just visit the shelter anytime between December 16 - 23 and pick out your new cat or dog and your bundle of love will be delivered to your home in time for Christmas! 8 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

ADOPTIONS:: Special Needs

Lola playing with Charleston Animal Society Pets for Life employee Conor Thompson.



THE ENTICING SCURRY OF SQUIRRELS in the trees falls silent. That squeaky chew toy in her mouth just goes flat. But Lola, a nearly 3-year-old pit mix, doesn’t know any different. The gorgeous white, light greenedeyed dog with a brown speckled nose is deaf. “Most likely, Lola does not know she is deaf,” said Donya Satriale, head of the Behavior Department at Charleston Animal Society. “She simply enjoys life to its fullest. She plays, lives and loves like any dog, and maybe with more enthusiasm.” In December 2015, Lola was discovered abandoned. Finding a forever home has been a struggle ever since. “Each home had its obstacles,” said Satriale. Lola’s been adopted unsuccessfully five times. One owner’s dog wasn’t fond of a new friend. Another’s roommate had allergies. Two more, shelter workers say, had unrealistic expectations or could not manage a dog that is deaf. Then, there was the trucker, the perfect fit. “She loves car rides and would be your partner in crime on a road trip,” Satriale said of Lola. Sadly, the trucker’s company issued a “no dogs allowed” rule. “Heartbroken and disappointed, he returned her.”

“We really thought that was going to be her forever home,” said shelter worker Conor Thompson. Lola stares at the floor as people pass her pen. The clicking of tongues and “Hey, buddy!” calls only wag the tails beside her. But like a child no one plays with, Lola seems to amuse herself. Her sign reads, “All adoption fees waived.” Her name appears simple, in print. But, much like her situation, it’s not. Lola means “sorrows” in Spanish and “moving to and fro” in Sanskrit. Yet in modern English, it’s defined as “strong woman.” “She’s grown up to be a strong, independent dog,” said Satriale. “And despite her many human related commitment failings, she still loves like she hasn’t been hurt.” This really shows when Lola lights up at the sight of Thompson. “She just needs to be shown the right way because she can’t hear yelling, screaming, barking or yelping,” Thompson says. He takes her out, and does what shelter trainer Caitlin Kuczko recommends: He listens and patiently speaks to Lola, through body language. “I can get her to sit with hand signals,” said Thompson. “And she will fetch and play ball and jump in the baby pool.”

Unlike humans, deaf dogs don’t need to learn American Sign Language, Kuczko notes. “A hand signal for your dog can be whatever you want.” And Thompson and Lola obviously have a language all their own. “Communicating with deaf dogs is not a battle,” said Kuczko. “It’s not for everyone, but it can be extremely rewarding.” So rewarding that Thompson says he’s willing to work with the family who takes Lola home. “I think it will be good for Lola and the family she ends up with, but selfishly I admit that I want to be able to stay in Lola’s life.” As Lola dives for the pool, submerged and cool, her nickname “Lola-gator” makes sense. “She’s like an alligator sitting in her swamp pool, watching the world,” said Satriale. To help find Lola the right home, Charleston Animal Society is offering a free training package to the family who adopts her. It will include a free consult and five in-home sessions.

WEB EXTRA: See a video about Lola at



Caitlyn’s A-Team BY DAN KROSSE


E C I T JUS OR F LYN T CAI n August 8, 2016 the defendant accused of nearly killing Caitlyn by taping her muzzle shut more than a year earlier, pleaded guilty to a felony count of animal cruelty. William Leonard Dodson now faces six months to five years in prison. (He had not been sentenced as of press time.) Caitlyn’s fight to survive brought worldwide attention to animal cruelty, and the Lowcountry’s demand for justice set an example for communities around the globe. Here’s how Caitlyn’s A-Team made it happen.


The Animal Cruelty Investigator Aldwin Roman, Charleston Animal Society “On day one, we didn’t even think she was going to make it. We took off that tape. We gave her all the pain medications and antibiotics we could give her and we were like, ‘Let’s hope she makes it through the night.’ And the second night, it was like ‘Wow, she might actually make it through this.’ So seeing her now, almost completely healed, except the scars, and acting like a normal dog is kind of surreal. “With the help of the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s office, this case really set a precedent for taking these crimes very seriously and treating them like a violent crime. There was no attitude like, ‘It’s just an animal.’ “As for her future, we are going to keep Caitlyn in our foster system so we can make sure that we can provide her with any assistance she may need whether it is medical or anything else. This way we can protect her legacy. She is a very famous dog, probably one of the most famous dogs in the world and we want to make sure she gets to live out a normal life. “What don’t people know about Caitlyn? Well, she’s kind of a diva (laughter). She loves the attention. I don’t think she realizes she’s getting anything different. She thinks every dog is treated like royalty. And come to think of it, they should be!”


The Surgeon & Miracle Worker

The Veterinarian Dr. Lucy Fuller, Charleston Animal Society “That we all worked together as a community to find the guilty person and bring him to justice and rehabilitate Caitlyn and get her to where she is today is really exciting. “It is truly wonderful to be a part of that and I think it really shows what an awesome place Charleston is.”

The Detective Thomas Bilancione, North Charleston Police “We had a hard time getting witnesses who were willing to step forward and talk. The suspect had a lot of control over people in the community. So we had to build a case with and without the witnesses, where we would still have a good chance of getting a conviction. “It is unique to deal with an animal because you don’t have a lot of interaction with the victim, who can help lead you in a better direction. We had to use our techniques we typically use with humans—on a dog—so it was an interesting dynamic. “It couldn’t have gone better. We got a plea deal out of it. [Dodson] plead guilty to the charge and we didn’t have to take it to trial. I’m grateful for everyone who came together for the investigation and I’m glad everything worked out well. Caitlyn is doing fantastic. She is beautiful and is full of personality.”

Caitlyn’s PR Maven Kay Hyman, Charleston Animal Society “The main reason we needed to tell this story was to catch her abuser. Then it just morphed into an amazing outpouring for her that has spread throughout the world. “A lot of people connected to her story on different levels. Many people were outraged. Others connected to the look in her eyes because that look related to something in their past. One person wanted me to send her a close-up of Caitlyn’s scars so she could have them tattooed on her arm. This woman was a survivor of domestic abuse and she related to the fact that Caitlyn escaped her abuser and she wanted to have those scars as a symbol to remind her that she, too, was a survivor. “Social media played a huge role. The messaging and imagery helped to catch her abuser and it sent a message throughout the world that we’re not going to tolerate this kind of abuse.”

Dr. Henri Biannuci, Veterinary Specialty Care “Caitlyn’s abuse was so egregious because it erased her. Taping her muzzle took away her voice, her ability to defend herself—her ability to take in any food and water! It nearly destroyed her tongue. “This case was just a very blatant example of the best and worst in people. On one hand, the complete disregard for animals. On the other hand, you had this worldwide revulsion of someone doing this to an animal and the outpouring of support to make it right. “She had severely crushed tissues and spent three hours a day in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to get rid of swelling and help her tissues normalize. Where the upper lip joined her lower lip was obliterated. In reconstruction, we gave her back a smile by putting those lips back together. “The case made an impact on the community and the world, but it also made an impact on our clinic. It really made the people at our clinic very proud to be part of her recovery. People come in every day and still ask about her.” Caitlyn’s muzzle was severely distorted and her tongue stuck between her teeth because of the electrical tape.

THE REST OF HER A-TEAM 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Ted Corvey was not able to comment on this story because Dodson’s sentencing is still in the future. But as Roman said, Corvey’s commitment to Caitlyn’s case was extraordinary. And then there is you. If you’re reading this story, you are very likely one of the thousands who made their voices heard on social media, sent a letter of support, or gave donations toward Caitlyn’s recovery. Together, we are the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. So today, while we celebrate justice for Caitlyn, we know she’d want us to continue to carry our voices on for all animals subjected to abuse.

WEB EXTRA: See behind the scenes of Caitlyn’s photo shoot at:




and gives high-fives rather than retreating or hiding when an adopter comes close.


ARE WE PROVIDING OUR FELINE friends with enough intellectual stimulation? The Cat Pawsitive initiative is a program recently piloted in shelters across the country by the Jackson Galaxy Foundation that is challenging all of us to re-imagine what a cat can do. There are many myths that exist about cats, the most common belief being that they are independent and aloof loners who don’t require much interaction. But as Louis Wain, an artist well known for his drawings and paintings of cats, once said, “Intelligence in the cat is underrated.” And intelligent beings require mental stimulus. In fact, cats repeatedly look to us for indications 12 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016



of what we want them to do, but we’re often missing their cues. Miranda K. Workman is a trainer/mentor with the Jackson Galaxy Foundation that developed the Cat Pawsitive Initiative. She says that cats are more willing to be partners with us than we give them credit for, and their potential has yet to be found. Workman says cognitive enrichment can literally change our relationships with cats in just a few minutes a day. For cats in the home you can change unwanted behaviors, and in a temporary shelter environment, you have the ability to improve their quality of life and help them find homes sooner. Imagine a cat that comes to the front of the cage

So grab a clicker and some treats and let’s begin! (If you don’t have a clicker, you can also use sounds in conjunction with treating to reinforce positive behaviors). Basic marking skills as an introduction – Click and treat for any eye contact. (Note: It’s easiest to have tiny treats that you can drop immediately upon clicking, rather than trying to hand feed.) Targeting – You can begin by clicking and treating for any time your cat touches an object with his nose. Try using a finger, tongue depressor, or a pencil. Once your cat has caught on, you can advance this by requiring touch targeting with the paw. (This is the easiest way to teach your cat high-five, which, while seemingly normal for dogs, is mighty impressive for a cat to do. Put your hand up in front of him and wait for him to touch it, then click, treat, and repeat.) Shaping – Is your cat scratching all the wrong things? This training can help. Stepby-step, you will reward the correct behavior you desire. Take a cat post and put it in a preferable location (you can try adding catnip to make it more interesting). When your cat looks at it, click and treat. Continue this, and then take it up a notch, clicking and treating for when they sniff or touch it. Reward each step until you get to the top behavior, and then heavily reward. This is a double reward because not only do they get to scratch, which they love, but they’re also receiving a treat for making the right decision and choosing the post over your couch. (Shaping can be useful in deterring scratching unwanted objects or something as simple as rearranging meal placement.) Working in 5-10 minute sessions twice a day – Start there and increase time as you both desire. Be sure to switch around treats and other positive reinforcements to keep your cat interested. *Special thanks to Miranda K. Workman, MS, CABC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA and Trainer/Mentor, Jackson Galaxy Foundation Cat Pawsitive Program, for sharing her knowledge for this article. For more resources on the topic, you can check out this new book, The Trainable Cat, co-authored by Sarah Ellis and John Bradshaw.



LEGALITIES:: Questions Answered

ASK A LAWYER No matter how much we love our pets, there’s always the chance they will run into a legal situation. Attorney David Aylor took time to answer questions from our readers in this edition of Ask a Lawyer.


QUESTION: My dog was bitten on the ear by another dog. The vet fees are astronomical. What can I do? – Mark, Mount Pleasant DAVID AYLOR: Mark, if the dog bite occurred on public property you can still recover. But depending on the circumstances, it could be more difficult. Your recovery would come from the owner's insurance policy. If the injury occurred at his home, you more than likely could recover from his homeowner's policy. If all else fails, you could take the owner to small claims court for the damages. QUESTION: Recently, I split with my wife. She wants custody of our beloved pup even though "Sandy" belonged to me before we even got together. What do I do to keep my dog? – Thomas, Bonneau David Aylor: Thomas, unfortunately this is often an issue within divorce proceedings. If you can show that you had possession of Sandy prior to the marriage and paid all expenses of Sandy's care, I believe you would have a good argument to retain possession after the divorce. QUESTION: I live in a town house. I keep smelling this horrible stench and suspect that my neighbor is hoarding animals. I'm worried about the pets, and I also wonder if I can get out of the lease. What do I do? – Michelle, West Ashley David Aylor: Michelle, my suggestion is to call Animal Control and have them visit the home. I also would make my landlord aware of the issue immediately as well as any homeowner's association. 14 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

David Aylor with his son Fletcher and English Lab, Belle.

QUESTION: I own a Pit bull mixed dog who is as sweet and loving with people and pets as any animal I have ever owned. I went looking for an apartment and was turned down because of her breed. Is this legal? – Shannon, Summerville David Aylor: Shannon, unfortunately some apartment complexes have these policies and they are legal. My suggestion would be to provide the property management company an opportunity to meet with your dog. Also, attempt to have your situation reviewed with a supervisor. You may also want to consider a DNA test to be certain your dog is one of the type of terriers that your complex considers a "Pit bull." Pit bull is not considered a breed, but is a term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. DNA testing kits are available at the Charleston Animal Society Retail Store.

If you have a legal question regarding pets, write us at and we will try and get it answered for you.



FELINES:: Catwalk


DWIGHT IS NO ORDINARY FELINE. Dubbed “The Cat Who Thinks He’s a Dog” for a reason, he fears no pups, chats when he wants something and loves going for walks – especially behind his 7-year-old owner, Hugh Hollinger, who he escorts to school many days each week. “Hugh goes to the School of Creative Arts and Dwight’ll walk right over with us,” says Hugh’s mom Amanda Hollinger. Occasionally, Dwight will even be waiting when Hugh’s day ends at his North Charleston school. It all started about two years ago, when Dwight just started walking with the family when it was time for Hugh to go to kindergarten. The proud mom notes her cat is very protective of Hugh, and vice versa, “Hugh absolutely loves him. Whenever we’re out of town he’s eager to go back and see Dwight and Dwight won’t leave his side. They’re very attached to each other.” Eleven years ago, Dwight—named after the quirky The Office character—entered Hollinger’s life as a birthday present from her stepson. “We went together to pick him 16 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016


out and there were other kittens that I wanted to pick that were younger. Dwight was kind of big and he wasn’t what I was going to pick, but my stepson held them all and said, ‘This is the cat that likes me,’” Hollinger recalls with a laugh. “Dwight was really mellow. All the others were crazy and climbed everything all over the place, but he was very chill from the beginning. He’s an old soul cat.” Dwight’s also a very popular indoor/outdoor cat. Though he sticks close to home, he roams the neighborhood daily, always ending up back on his own porch by nightfall. “All the neighbors know who he is. He’s always interacting with everyone in the neighborhood,” Hollinger says. Even the children at school know Dwight when he walks up to the front doors with Hugh. “They all shout, ‘Hi, Dwight!’ and come over and pet him. He’s just so spoiled.” Nicknamed Dwighter-Boy and DwighterMan, the beloved cat seems to have no clue he’s a cat either. “He’s not intimidated by any dogs, he’s very talkative and likes to walk with us around the neighborhood,”

Hollinger says of the phenomenon, noting Dwight is especially chatty in the morning. “When you say something to him, he’ll seem to reply to you! He’s very dog-like in terms of being so engaged with people.” Seemingly enough, Hollinger notes that Dwight has even taken on the role of welcoming committee for new cats in the neighborhood. A lover, not a fighter, Dwight gets along with all other animals and always approaches the newbies, showing them around the block. He’s also pretty hip, “We were playing Pokemon Go the other night, and he just followed right along with us!” Hollinger said. Looking back to the day she adopted Dwight, Hollinger had no idea what a quirky cat she’d come to love someday. She is so thankful she rescued him, for endless reasons. Not only has the cat entertained her family and their friends, but Dwight is affectionate and sweet. He’s especially helped Hugh learn a strong sense of responsibility. And a cat has been the perfect addition to the Hollingers’ lifestyle. With no fencedin yard and Hollinger and her wife working all day, they knew a cat was the right pet for their life. “We wanted a pet and there are so many that need homes, so we felt the best way to add onto the family was to rescue a cat,” she says. “And Dwight is a part of our family.” With his walks about town, Dwight is part of a much bigger family too. He’s a part of a neighborhood. A school. A community where everyone knows his name and loves petting him. The happiest ending for all rescued pets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have a cool pet who should be featured in the pages of Carolina Tails? Send us details on what makes your pet so special to:

COMMUNITY:: 2016 Chili Cook-Off


exciting cook-off Charleston Animal Society has ever hosted, which is a pretty big promise. Last year more than 5,000 people participated and 88 teams cooked. There were also 66 generous sponsors. Contestants will be judged based on a number of categories, including Most Unique, Traditional, Best in Show, People’s Choice and Best Presentation. So, if your friends and family rave about your chili, this is the place to get it a ribbon! “With that many teams, there’s just so many different types of chili to try. It’s a great outdoor event,” Lawson says. “We have fresh South Carolina oysters, activities for the kids, beer, music and of course, pet adoptions!” This year, Charleston Animal Society is also bringing in a few new attractions for attendees, including bubble soccer and a mechanical shark.


IF CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY Chili Cook-Off & Oyster Roast contestants didn’t already feel like celebrity chefs, they are in for a treat this year! (And so are attendees!) This November, instead of having to cook at home, contestants can prep their meals in a professional kitchen— with volunteers to wash dishes and transport the meals. Form a line, folks. We know you’re psyched to enter now! The brainchild of Charleston Animal Society’s fabulous new set-up is Elena Lawson, Charleston Animal Society’s Director of Special Projects and Business Partnerships, and event sponsor Duvall Event. “Charleston Animal Society is partnering with Duvall catering and we have the ability to have 8 to 10 teams cooking at a time at their facility,” Lawson explains. “Duvall will have the professional pots, spoons, burners, knives and all you need to do is bring your ingredients. It’ll be so much fun!” Even better, during that time, Charleston Animal Society will have volunteers on hand who’ll do the dishes and clean up. So take a seat, contestants, because once you run yourself ragged cooking, you don’t have to lift a single dish rag after. (Now that is a gold medal perk if there ever was one!) More than 5,000 people flock to the Chili Cook-off for the signature home-cooked masterpieces, but the tireless mixing and pouring over pots and pans can take all the fun out of it. Even if you do win an award. This year’s goal is to have everyone enjoy themselves. “We are a big supporter of Charleston Animal Society and are so glad to offer our services at Duvall for this event,” said owner Steve Wenger.

(Top) The 2016 Chili Cook-off & Oyster Roast is moving to the beautiful Riverfront Park on North Charleston! (Bottom) Chili teams go beyond cooking -- even dressing up to try and win the coveted “Best Presentation” award. (Right) Pet adoptions are always an important part of the chili cook-off. The fundraiser benefits Charleston Animal Society’s Medical Fund, “Toby’s Fund.”

Adding onto the amazing new experience for contestants, Duvall will have refrigerated trucks transport the chili on cook-off day, which lightens the load for entrants. Chili teams can cook at Duvall Event November 14th through the 18th leading up to the cook-off on November 19th. Just go to to schedule your cooking time slot. There are other fun cooking options this year for contestants. If you really want to up your chili game, teams can opt to cook on the field, the morning of the contest. You can also cook at your local church or favorite restaurant. (See Safe Cooking Tips from DHEC at The 2016 Chili Cook-off & Oyster roast will run from 1-5pm at Riverfront Park in North Charleston and this year Lawson has plans to make it the most enticing and

SEE YOU AT THE CHILI COOK-OFF! All money raised at the Chili Cook-off & Oyster Roast goes to Charleston Animal Society’s medical fund, “Toby’s Fund.” • There is still time to form a chili team! for details. • If you or your company would like to be a sponsor, email: • A $25 donation to a team gains you admission to the event, which includes all the chili and oysters you can eat. • Buy tickets online ($25) at • Directions to Riverfront Park (on old Navy Base): I-26 to Cosgrove Avenue North (Exit 216 B) (L) on Rivers Avenue (R) on McMillan Avenue (L) on Hobson Avenue (R) on Shipbuilders Way Follow Signs to Parking



SAVING LIVES:: Firefighter Calendar


TWO YEARS AGO, ANSON RESTAURANT in Downtown Charleston suffered a horrendous fire on Christmas Eve. Little did owner Kiara Barnett know, but many of the heroes that would come to her aid that day were also the same heroic firefighters she has worked with on the Charleston Firefighter Calendar benefiting Charleston Animal Society. Barnett can still vividly recall that day in December 2014 when she stood outside her restaurant with friends who came to support her, watching the firefighters save Anson. That’s when she noticed a few of the men. “It was actually a little funny because I was like, ‘I remember you from the calendar!’” says Barnett, one of the founding committee members of the Calendar. Anson has been a sponsor of the Calendar Debut for three years and was host of this year’s after-party on October 1. On that Christmas Eve when the fire broke out, the restaurant had more than 600 reservations and the staff was prepping for the holiday events. Barnett had just left downtown when a fire started on the grill and got sucked behind the fire wall. “All of a sudden it just disappeared. There was nothing anyone could do,” Barnett explains. The fire destroyed the back walls and blew the roof right off of the building. “The manager texted me the word ‘Fire’ and I didn’t know what that meant! I called him up asking if he fired someone,” Barnett says with a bit of a laugh now. “He told me no, the building was on fire! I had to rush back to town. They wouldn’t let us go into the building for hours.” The one silver lining in the day was Barnett getting to see the firefighters from the calendar in their element—outside of the debut party and photo shoots. “It was interesting to see the guys there in action. 18 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

I see them as people who are doing charitable work and you know, look pretty good modeling, right?” she chuckles. “These guys give a lot of their time to charity. A lot. They’re the ones who worked really hard to raise money. They were amazing.” While the Charleston Fire Department did a great job, unfortunately it took nearly two more years to re-open Anson Restaurant because of all the damage. “It was sad. We paid everyone for the first year almost. We had no idea it was going to take two years. We kept thinking we were going to open every month!” she recalls. Today Anson’s is open and ready for business, and Barnett is more committed than ever to her role on the Charleston Animal Society Board and Firefighter Calendar Committee. “It gave me such comfort to see familiar faces helping to save Anson from the flames. Our Firefighters are true heroes, I’m so honored to be involved with our Firefighter Calendar and to work with them to save the lives of atrisk animals and sustain our No Kill Community,” she says. Barnett is proud of

the Firefighter Calendar cause – raising money for Toby’s Fund, Charleston Animal Society’s medical fund that helps animals in need, so much so that she has recruited her friends to be on the calendar work committee. Between their selfless job and charity work, Barnett admits she has always had an indescribable respect for firefighters. “Hopefully they don’t have to put their lives on the line, but that’s part of the job requirement. And I think the fact that people have that in them to help and put themselves in the way of personal harm is amazing,” Barnett says. “And now that I’ve gotten to know them, the fact that they dedicate so much time to helping Charleston Animal Society is incredible. I just really love them all!”

GET YOUR CALENDAR NOW! The 2017 Firefighter Calendar makes the perfect stocking stuffer! Sold on every continent in the world, be sure to order your calendar today!



Greenville County in the Upstate. “There hasn’t been a confirmed case in the Upstate in the past three years,” says Dr. Parr.

HORSE HEALTH:: Encephalitis




pressing, circling, weakness of the legs, partial paralysis or muscle twitching. These symptoms usually present two to five days after exposure. The Human Connection The disease is also dangerous for humans. However, DHEC reports fewer than 160 human cases since 1980. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this is because the black-tailed mosquito almost exclusively feeds on birds. EEE kills about one third of the humans who contract it, making it one of the most severe mosquitotransmitted diseases in the United States, according to the CDC. The virus cannot spread from horses to people and horses are much more likely to catch the disease.

Sarge and the other horses at Middleton Place stable yard receive EEE vaccinations twice a year.

EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE) kills 9 out of 10 horses that it strikes – and it’s on the rise in South Carolina. The good news? This mosquito-borne illness is preventable. Clemson Livestock-Poultry Health Director and State Veterinarian reports an alarming number of cases in South Carolina so far this year and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) warns owners to stay on guard for mosquitoes throughout the fall. The viral illness known as EEE spreads when the fresh-water swamp “black-tailed mosquito” bites an infected bird, which then, in turn, bites mammals and people. Horses can be severely affected, causing sickness, inflammation of the brain (also known as encephalitis) and death. According to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson, symptoms manifest in horses through stumbling, head 20 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

On the Upswing? The highest number of equine cases in South Carolina was 152 in 2003, the second most in the nation that year. Three years ago, South Carolina reported 51 confirmed cases of EEE in horses, more than any other state in the nation, and the second highest number on record for the Palmetto State. As of September 2016, the Equine Disease Communications Center reports 14 fatalities in 11 counties – which is twice as many as were reported last year. The latest victim was a five-month old Paint from Florence County. Though the statistics aren’t breaking any records, State Veterinarian Dr. Boyd Parr sees similar patterns in 2013 and 2016, which could mean we are on track for large numbers. “Complacency can set in after a few quiet years causing the numbers of vaccinations in horses to drop,” says Dr. Parr. “A warm and wet fall and winter, like this past year, is often associated with an increase in the mosquito population,” which means more risk for exposure to the black-tailed mosquito. Another red flag? This past July saw an unusual case of fatal EEE in

Prevention Works There is no cure for EEE, but proper vaccination can prevent the disease. Dr. Boyd warns that a virus like EEE can quickly get out of hand if mosquitoes are not controlled and if horses are not vaccinated every year. Dr. Jonathan Shong, a large animal veterinarian with more than 25 years in the field, suggests aggressive vaccination to protect horses. “Mosquitoes are here,” he says. “If you stop vaccinating, [EEE] will be here.” Dr. Shong adds that the Lowcountry is a high-risk area given the possibility for warm winters. “In this climate, I’ve battled mosquitoes at Christmas. They harbor well and one warm day can bring them out biting.” For this reason, Shong recommends horse owners not only complete the annual vaccination, but get a booster after six months to be more effective. “You’re more at risk in an endemic environment when you go only once a year.” Vaccinations, however, like most things equine can be expensive. Dr. Shong believes this is one of the biggest deterrents for horse owners from regular vaccination. “If you’re considering owning a horse, you need to understand the necessary expenses and the risks of taking shortcuts,” says Dr. Shong. He warns against “over-the-counter” and “discount” vaccines because if the drug is not maintained or administered properly, it simply won’t be as effective. “If a horse owner is vaccinating their own horse and clinical signs of EEE are present, I usually consider the horse to be unvaccinated.” Stopping Mosquitoes DHEC officials warn that mosquito season can be long in the Lowcountry. Local counties have publicly confirmed their abilities to handle potential outbreaks, but effective mosquito abatement begins at home. The stagnant water needed for a mosquito population to develop can collect in an area as small as a leaf. Be sure to remove any standing water from places such as tarps, flowerpots, toys, trash cans, and even rain gutters. Low-lying areas may need to be treated with insecticide regularly or, when possible, filled in. For more information about mosquito control or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, please visit sects/Mosquitoes/.

NATURE:: Intersex Cat




IT’S A GIRL. IT’S A BOY. IT’S BOTH?! That’s what Kelly and Zach Hoelz were told when they adopted “Luna” at Charleston Animal Society in August. Yep, Luna (originally named “Sally”) was a hermaphrodite, meaning he/she had both male and female reproductive organs. Dr. Lucy Fuller oversees Charleston Animal Society’s Spay-Neuter Clinic that performs 12,000 spay-neuter surgeries each year. But few are like Luna’s. Dr. Fuller explained that Luna was externally most like a boy, but there were no obvious testicles. And it was only during this cat’s spay-neuter operation that the truth came out—literally. “Often, there is a small or abnormally shaped penis. Inside, she/he had a small uterus and ovaries or testicles, but it’s hard

to say which,” Dr. Fuller noted. “We didn’t know Luna was a hermaphrodite until we were filling out the paperwork for the adoption,” said Kelly Hoelz But such details didn’t matter. She and Zach were already smitten by the kitten who was sweet, calm and already bonding with her husband. “We knew she was the one,” Hoelz said, adding that Luna is so petite, they think of her as a girl. The couple wanted to adopt another adult cat to be a buddy for Salem, the male cat they already had at home. They were looking for a litter-trained and independent feline—and at one-year-old, Luna fit the bill. When the couple found out that Luna was a hermaphrodite, they were certainly surprised, and Hoelz started her research

on what exactly that meant. Luckily, she understands science, working as an organ recovery coordinator. “The human body is fascinating to me,” she said. And so is their new kitten’s. Dr. Fuller said this is not the first hermaphroditic animal she has seen in her 10 years of dealing with tens of thousands of animals. She has seen three dogs and maybe three or four cats. “It's fairly rare, but most practitioners will see one or two in their careers,” she said. These days Luna and Salem spend their time chasing each other around the couple’s home, playing with their four-and-a-halfyear-old daughter. Luna and Salem are indoor cats who enjoy a screened-in porch to observe their outside surroundings. “She is super sweet, but she has a lot of kitten in her,” Hoelz said.



DESIGN:: Pets At Home


Enzo enjoying the living room of his custom designed Sullivan’s Island beach house.

Creature Comforts Designing for Our Pets



0 say Americans are a bit pet-obsessed is an understatement. The American Pet Products Association says 68 percent of us have pets and last year alone, we spent $62 billion on them. And as Carolina Tails found, more and more builders and architects across the Lowcountry are incorporating design for our four-legged occupants. “I see designing for pets as more integral to every project that we do,” said architect Eddie Fava of e.e. fava architects. Throughout his 20 years of experience in the business, Fava’s seen loyal animal lovers pour thousands of dollars into pet pads. He had the pleasure of working with Rob and Karen Byko as their architect and their dogs were an important factor in the design process. “Just to say how much we love our dogs, when we considered places to live, on the top of our list was access to good health care,” said Karen. “Not just for us, but them!” One of the Bykos’ three rescued Boxers, 13-year-old Nikita, was sick and as a result, when the couple made the decision to move from Atlanta four years ago, they selected Sullivan’s Island because of excellent veterinary specialty care. 22 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

Aliya surveying her kingdom of squirrels from her view on her back porch.

DESIGNING FOR DOGS Rob, a realtor and photographer, doesn’t worry about being in the “dog house” with his wife. He lives there. "We designed our house with the needs and comforts of our dogs in mind," said Karen, who as owner of Byko Design Studio provided all the interior design. And create comfort, they did. The Bykos transformed a Middle Street weekend retreat into a heavenly, dog-friendly home. The four-legged kids even have a room of their own. “We put in pretty much the full length of the living room, a screened-in porch,” said Rob. “They can lie out there and watch the squirrels crawl through the trees in the backyard.” They also have access to a gated front deck that allows them to warm themselves in the sun. But their home is not just a beautiful space for Boxers; it’s a practical place for anyone with pets, especially at the beach.

SELECTING MATERIALS Jason Fowler with Sea Island Builders says many pet owners are willing to use pricier home products, for both comfort and durability. Sea Island Builders was the contractor for the Bykos. Like Fava, most of Fowler’s pet work is done for dogs, simply because of their size. For this reason, he recommends a very hard wood for floors with an oil finish instead of polyurethane. “We’ve done this floor in two homes recently that’s a European oiled oak,” said Fowler. He says it’s not only less likely to scratch, but much easier to maintain. “If you have a small scratch on your floor you can take more oil and hand apply it and it’s gone,” said Fowler, who is also a fan of light-colored, stone pavers, especially outside. His reasoning? They’re cooler and less slippery for little feet. “It’s much friendlier on older pets too,” he said. The Bykos have hardwood floors throughout the house, with the exception of in the foyer and down to the hall leading toward a mudroom, master bedroom and the yard. Those exception areas are tiled. “It allows them to get in and out without dirtying up the rest of our house,” said Karen.

Enzo enjoying the Bykos’ front landing with one eye in and one eye out on the front yard -- just the way he likes it.

PET STORAGE When the Bykos built their home, they had their pets, and efficiency, in mind. “In the cabinets next to the dog feeding area, we put in pullouts. They’re similar to what people use for spices but ours are for dog cans,” Karen explains. “Next to that we have another cabinet with a drawer on top to keep all the dog utensils. Below we put our plastic Cambro container of dry dog food and bowls.” The Bykos even have a doggy backyard door conveniently located next to their (and their Boxers’) bedroom. Even the kitchen can be a pet project. “The water and food bowls can be easily accessible at the dog’s height,” Fava notes. “It’s kind of hidden behind the cabinet door so it’s attractive and not just sitting on the floor.” In addition to food, pet owners have plenty of other items that need storing, including stuffed animals, balls, bones, leashes, etc. A built-in pet toy box can be dog gone entertaining. “Our dogs are the center of our lives,” said Karen. Her husband laughs that the dogs even have their own line item in the budget.

BED, BATH & BEYOND “I’m discussing with a current client who owns a dog, a room that is literally like a big shower with a floor drain in the middle of it,” explains Fava. “It looks like a perfectly nice room with a tile floor, but it might be slightly sloped and you wouldn’t even know it.”

The Bykos’ selected travertine for their hallways. Always a good choice for pet owners.

Sleeping spaces for pets, especially larger ones, are thoughtfully considered as well “It might be a bit of an alcove, but built off the ground,” Fava says, describing a custom-built canine bed. “It’s almost like a camping style bunk. The mattresses are interchangeable and the covers can be easily removed and cleaned.” Other features pet owners consider is whether or not a room is wireless or audio ready, Fava notes. “A lot of people like to leave a television set or music on for their animals, especially when they’re gone.” When considering design for pets, we all know they mean everything to us – so what’s wrong with a few creature comforts to spoil them at home?



ON THE MOVE:: Safety First Here are some other important considerations:

MOVING DAY? MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR PET MOVING IS ALREADY STRESSFUL, exhausting and scary, and that’s just for humans! Imagine how it feels for pets who watch their world get packed into boxes, loaded into a truck and moved into a foreign world full of new smells and spaces. A move is also a time when many pets get lost or go on the run. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offered Carolina Tails some great moving advice. When you relocate, the most important step to protecting your pets will be to update their tags and any other data with

PRO ! TIP your new address and contact information. This includes both registration with the city and any veterinarian’s office. Before you leave, make a point to visit your vet to get your pet a physical. Ask them to also print out a copy of the pet’s medical history for you to take with you. As moving can be incredibly chaotic, ensure your pet is safe and contained when the movers are present. An open door with people constantly coming could lead to your pet’s unexpected escape as well. Keep them contained while traveling as well to prevent injuries.

CATS: • Before and after the move, surround your cat with familiar objects, such as feeding and water bowls, toys, blanket, or bed. • Gradually introduce them to their new home by restricting them to one or two rooms at first. DOGS: • Slowly introduce your dog to her new surroundings. Dogs should be leashed outside until they are comfortable with the area. • Consider arranging a friend or pet sitter to stay with your dog for a few hours a day to ease the dog’s anxiety if you are unable to stay home the first few days. BIRDS: • Make sure to use appropriate sized carriers for birds. Cover the bottom with litter and secure the door with a clip from the outside. However you transport your pet, keep them cool and protected from the sun. • Bring a supply of old food and water with you, gradually switching from old to new supplies. FISH: • Traveling is the most difficult part of the moving process for fish. Place your fish in bags with a mix of new water and clean water from their aquarium—the less crowded the better. Seal the bags with rubber bands around the top and place them inside a dark, insulated cooler. • Let the filter run for a few hours before putting fish back in the tank. If possible, try to limit their time away from their normal habitat to less than 48 hours.





AS THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND THE New Year approaches, many of us start to reflect on the world around us -- and how we might leave it a better place. You have spent your entire life building your character, your education and career, your family and home—but have you ever stopped to consider what you will be leaving behind? With a little planning, you can leave a legacy for you and your family. Planning Your Legacy You may not realize that there are other ways to leave a legacy than simply naming your charity as a beneficiary in your will. An emerging trend sees supporters naming their charity of choice as the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. Faith Blackburn has fostered countless animals for Charleston Animal Society. She recently decided to donate part of her life

insurance to help keep her good work going, even after she is gone, “It’s a way to continue helping even when you are not physically here to do so,” Blackburn said. But you don’t have to wait until you have moved on to make a substantial donation. Some plans actually allow you to see your planned gifts in action. Options such as gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and even retirement plan distributions can allow you to make tax-deductible donations to charities like Charleston Animal Society while you are still alive and well. Imagine the animal lives you can save, and the families you can help keep together, during your lifetime! There are valuable benefits with each method of planned gift, so be sure to spend some time talking over the options with your personal advisors. Under recently passed “permanent” tax

legislation, if you are over 70 ½ years old, you may now make up to $100,000 each year in gifts directly from your IRA to the charity of your choice. These gifts count toward the required minimum distributions you must take annually from your traditional IRA, but are not included in your adjusted gross income which means you will not pay taxes on the distribution if it goes directly to a charity. This can be much more efficient than withdrawing from your traditional IRA, paying income taxes on it, and then donating the cash to the charity. Keep in mind that the charity must receive any gift directly from your IRA by December 31st of each year, and you should contact your IRA administrator to make sure this happens correctly. As always, be sure to consult your tax professional before making any distribution decisions. When Planned Gifts Come to Life Walk the campus at Charleston Animal Society and you will see how many supporters have kept their presence alive – all in the name of animal welfare. As you pass the Joan August Terry memorial area, you are walking beneath a flagpole honoring an animal lover that performed with her dogs for our military troops. Beyond Terry’s memorial stone, you will enter the Charleston Animal Society Laura Pulleyn Lifesaving Center, named for a generous animal lover who left a substantial bequest to Charleston Animal Society. Other donors have donated property for animal welfare and even portions of their 401k. Your plan can come together with the help of your attorney or tax advisor, so you are sure to leave the legacy that best reflects how you want to be remembered.

CHARITY WATCHDOGS Be sure to do your due diligence when selecting a charity. Ask for an annual report from your charity, to see if they are transparent on how donations are spent. Look to see how your charity ranks on charity watchdog sites such as Charity Navigator, Great Nonprofits, GuideStar and the Better Business Bureau. Charity Navigator: Great Nonprofits: GuideStar: Better Business Bureau:






HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Struggling to find the perfect present for your pet this holiday season? Check out this year’s Gift Guide for some seasonal inspiration from local pet retailers.






1. SOUTHERN PAWS DOG BOWL BY ALLYJAY PET DESIGNS These high quality ceramic bowls can be customized for your pet. They are all handmade in the USA. BANDANA BY MAXWELL & DIXIE Locally made bandana with super cute prints for any pet personality. BLANKETS FROM EMMA Super soft fleece blankets designed for snuggling and easy wash. One blanket is donated to a pet rescue organization for every five sold.



WISDOM PANEL 2.0 Is it a boxer or a Boston terrier? Find out with this cheek swab DNA test. KONG KICKEROO A twist on your typical catnip toy! The Kickeroo promotes wrestling, back-leg kicking and cuddling.

3. DOLITTLES ZIPPY PAWS LED ANTLER HEADBAND Red and green lights flash to brighten any holiday. Adjustable headband fits most dogs. JAX AND BONES ELLIOT THE ELF The wool squeaker is the perfect chew toy for light chewers. Made from naturally dyed boiled wool and non-toxic dyes.



HANDMADE BOWTIES All handmade bowties have matching flowers, collars and leashes, and come in a huge array of colors and patterns.

5. ALL IS WELL MINNOWS CAT TREATS & FROM THE FIELD ORGANIC CATNIP SPRAY These freeze-dried quality cat treats and potent catnip spray will leave your cat purring Christmas morning.

6. BARK N MEOW PET TOP COMBO PACK Leave the water bowl at home—these pet tops are so small they can fit in your pocket and work with most water bottles. PETSTAGES CHEESE CHASE AT BARK N MEOW The “ultimate playstation” for cats with three activities in one.



NO KILL SC:: Making It Happen

Pet Hero Barbara Nelson:

Nelson works tirelessly as an animal advocate as President & CEO of SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.

Sculpting a No Kill State


arbara Nelson comes across as a practical, tell-it-like-it-is, no holds barred kind of lady; and if you appreciate honesty, she’s extremely likeable. Nelson is also the CEO and President of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken, SC, and her love of animals is profound. “Humans are flawed,” said Nelson “We are selfish and greedy. Dogs offer unconditional love. What’s better than that?” The CEO is candid, but not quick to talk about herself. Press and you will find this University of Massachusetts grad is a wildlife biologist who worked for The U.S. Forest and Fish and Wildlife Services, as well as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She’s also an Equestrian and Master of Whisky Roads Foxhounds. “We find and chase coyotes, rarely if ever catching them,” said Nelson. “It’s exciting, risky and an excuse to be outdoors—and I love the comradery.” 30 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

Nelson loves to ride horses in the Aiken area, which is known as “horse country” in the Palmetto State.

That’s not all she loves, though. Nelson is a sculptor who began by carving duck decoys and now crafts ornately detailed wooden birds, as well as richly textured bronze horses, dogs, foxes and other wildlife. “I became tired of making low wages,” said Nelson. “So I decided to change careers and determine my own fate by working for myself doing something I love.” It’s that passion for sculpting, for creating something out of nothing that will come in handy as she tries to shape South Carolina into a No Kill state. Step by step she will tirelessly whittle away at the state’s homeless pet population. “It’s an embarrassment,” she said of the issue. “It’s time we did something about it.” On where to begin, Nelson already has a mold to follow. “We ought to follow the model of the city of Aiken,” said Nelson. “In 2005, we had all these dogs admitted to the shelter and very few returned because you couldn’t identify anybody really.” The city already had an ordinance requiring owners to register their dogs, but Nelson says it wasn’t practical. “It was one of these things where you had to go down to City Hall every year. Everybody gets sick of something they have to do every year.” So Nelson helped streamline the process. Dog owners could register for a one-time fee of $100. Those with multiple dogs have a $300 cap. As a bonus, all fees were waived if the dog was spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. “The new ordinance didn’t demand an owner fix their dog,” said Nelson. “But it did make it clear if you choose to own a fertile pet you have to pay for the risk of it causing unwanted offspring.” With this new rule, there are exceptions, such as owners with show dogs who are responsible breeding programs or pets with medical conditions. As for Low-income families who couldn’t afford these services, they could apply for a voucher. “They would only have to come up with a $15 co-pay,” said Nelson. “The city would subsidize the rest and the SPCA would keep the price as low as possible.” The question then arises of how the city enforces these rules. “Those opposed said you’re going to have to go knocking on doors,” Nelson said, but she disagreed. Owners were caught when their pet wound up at a shelter. The shelter would care for the animal because it’s their priority—but at a cost to the owner. Taking care of the pet meant daily shelter fees, vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, etc. The mounting fees were waived, however, for owners who then registered, spayed or neutered, and microchipped their pet. As a result, Nelson said the owner return rate jumped from 17 to 152 in one year. “What you find are the problem children out there, you can now identify their owners and make them accountable.” She continued, “It’s worked because 11 years ago, the population of dogs coming to the shelter was about the same. It’s pretty well stabilized even though the city itself has grown by thousands.” As for cats, Nelson said the only fix is the trap, neuter and return program, and this is something people are actively working on. The CEO knows it could be an uphill battle passing such statewide legislation, but she’s not just outspoken, passionate and practical—she’s also diplomatic. “Nothing is going to be too difficult if you are reasonable, “she said. “There are states in this country, where unbelievably there are not a whole lot of stray dogs and it’s not just because the winters are tough,” said Nelson. “They actually have laws and educated people who understand it’s morally objectionable to have these poor creatures running around out there starving to death.” Who wants to argue with that? Barbara Nelson is just one of those people you want on your side. “She is one of the most progressive animal professional I've had the opportunity to work with,” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore. “What she has done in Aiken is changing South Carolina for the better.” Fortunately for South Carolina’s No Kill Movement, she has her sculpting tools sharpened and is eager to dig in.

NO KILL SOUTH CAROLINA IS MAKING PROGRESS Charleston Animal Society launched No Kill South Carolina in January and already, No Kill South Carolina (NKSC) Project Manager Abigail Kamleiter has visited about 2/3 of the shelters in South Carolina, with more scheduled in the near future, in order to assess the status of animal welfare in South Carolina and bring organizations on board in working together toward a no kill state. “In general animal welfare organizations in our state are doing a good job getting shelter animals vaccinated and spayed or neutered,” Kamleiter said. “In many places – though not yet enough – local pet owners also have options for low cost spay and neuter.” Kamleiter points to the overwhelming number of stray cats entering our shelters as the biggest statewide challenge. “About 1/3 of the shelters I’ve visited have a live release rate for cats below 35%,” Kamleiter said. NKSC is still in the infrastructure-building stage, but already, the movement is offering support whenever possible. In July NKSC held a training session to share strategies used in Charleston County to eliminate euthanasia for healthy and treatable cats. More than 50 animal advocates, representing 35 shelters and agencies from around the state attended the seminar. Greenville County recently adopted this strategy, and several communities around the state are considering making the change as well. “We’ve held a number of grant-writing workshops to help organizations learn how to gain and manage grant funding, and in September we took over the management of Frances R Willis SPCA in Summerville at the invitation of their board, in order to help them redesign shelter operations and practices,” Kamleiter said. According to Kamleiter, the most encouraging thing she’s found is that people want to save lives, “The people I’ve met in animal welfare in South Carolina are overwhelmingly hard-working, dedicated people who truly care. They want to work together and learn how to improve for the good of the animals in their communities. This is why we will succeed.”NKSC is funded by a generous grant from the Petco Foundation.



COMMUNITY:: Human Interest



BY ELLIE WHITCOMB PAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELLIE WHITCOMB PAYNE The kitties on Ms. Sally’s route sometimes like to go for a ride on the “Cat Mobile.”

week. She has been doing this every day for the past 30 years and through the decades she’s been bitten by a rabid racoon, passed snakes hanging in the trees, and even stumbled upon an alligator sunning itself on her trail. Hurricane Floyd in ’99 might be best known around here for the traffic debacle, but Repsher remembers it for a different reason. “My granddaughter knew I was a nut, so during [Floyd] she rented a tractor trailer for me,” recalls Repsher. “She drove it down [to the beach] and we gathered up every one of the cats and put them in cages in the truck. We didn’t miss a one.” The two took at least 20 cats and three dogs to Georgia to weather the storm.

“Through the decades (feeding island cats) she’s been bitten by a rabid racoon, passed snakes hanging in the trees, and even stumbled upon an alligator sunning itself on her trail.”

FOR YEARS, AT DAWN AND DUSK every single day, dozens of cats would line the side of the street in a quiet quarter of Folly Beach, also known as “The Edge of America.” The seemingly sentinel-like stance could give a passerby pause, but the locals knew this was Cat Lady territory. Even today, she can barely see over the steering wheel of the aging golf cart she uses on her feeding route. But neither that nor thunderstorms, hurricanes or alligators would stop Sally Repsher (a.k.a. Miss Sally) from her mission: Make sure every cat in 32 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

her neighborhood is cared for, safe, and fed. “If it’s hungry, it needs to be fed. Everything has to eat,” explains Repsher. More than feeding, Repsher uses food as a way to develop relationships with the animals in order to trap them for spaying or neutering. In fact, she’s done such a good job in that part of town, her route has dwindled to just a handful of animals. At the height of her mission, Repsher’s twice daily, 30-minute bicycle route actually fed dozens of cats a combined two cardboard flats of cans and two bags of dry food every

For two decades, Repsher used her bike to make her rounds until the City of Folly Beach police department presented her with her own golf cart. “One of the policemen knew me kinda’ well and knew that I did this even in the pouring rain, which didn’t matter to me because hungry is hungry,” she said. “I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore, so they surprised me with a golf cart, all decorated for Christmas.” She adds that it was all pretty funny since she didn’t drive. Even so, Repsher finally had her first set of wheels! The Cat Lady remains a fixture in the island community, one that that makes no apologies to her critics. “I don’t dress fancy. I don’t go to parties. I don’t eat filet mignon. I happen to like animals more than most people so this is what I like to do.” And though her route is becoming shorter, and many of her furry friends have moved on, the unmistakable array of anticipating felines along the quiet road are evidence that, to some, all lives truly matter.



RESCUE:: Adopt, Don’t Buy!



Who can resist dressing up for Halloween? Not the animals at Charleston Animal Society! Please take a gander at these cowboys, princesses, barn cats and Wonder Woman – and consider adopting. You can visit Charleston Animal Society at 2455 Remount Road in North Charleston or go online to: Photography: Jeanne Taylor with

Wonder Woman! My name is Jenna and my smile can leap small buildings in a single bound. Come visit me at Charleston Animal Society today.

There’s a new sheriff in town and my name is Neo. A staffie-mix who might look gruff on the outside, but is all putty-tat on the inside. See ya’ soon pardner.

My name is Baby Girl. I'm a beautiful houndshepherd mix. I'm a princess and proud of it. Stare into my eyes and be forever in puppy love.

Hay, I’m Greatly (did you get that pun?) I’m told I have a darling personality and I love to play. Hope to see you soon!

Did someone say we were getting treats for posing like this? Hi, I’m Moritz, an orange and white tabby, with eyes as big as saucers and a playful streak a mile wide.

I’m Spartacus, wishing you a Happy Halloween and a wonderful fall. Perhaps you could adopt me in time to help carve your pumpkin.


A grateful family brought their dogs for treatment by the SIVO organization.




THANKS TO CHARLESTON ANIMAL Society, I recently experienced the opportunity of a lifetime. Students for International Veterinary Opportunities (SIVO), is an academic program and nonprofit effort for veterinary students and doctors at the University of Florida. I am grateful that as the Associate Director of Public Health and Spay/Neuter Initiatives at Charleston Animal Society, I was able to be a part of this teaching opportunity with my alma mater. The goal of SIVO is to provide basic veterinary care to locations outside of the United States, one of which is their annual clinic on the island of Roatan, Honduras. For the past 10 years there, SIVO has offered medical care to the local pet population whose owners may not have other means to provide for their animals. In addition, SIVO volunteers educate the local community about proper animal husbandry, provide an opportunity for veterinary students to gain valuable medical and surgical experience, and expose veterinary students to working in an international setting with limited resources.

Treating Pets in a Foreign Land This year, I headed to Roatan, Honduras, with a team of eight doctors, 25 University of Florida veterinary students, and five additional support staff. Together between our medical and surgical teams we were able to help nearly 200 animals. But it wasn’t easy in the least. Some days the conditions were harsh with sweltering heat and humidity, and other days had downpours of rain falling upon us. But the people of Honduras were grateful to have this rare opportunity to receive care for their animals and they waited in line for hours patiently. Many of the pet owners had walked to the clinics carrying their animals in crates and makeshift containers to get them there. Some of the animals were strays that people

picked up off the street and were now willing to take back to their homes since we were spaying/neutering as well as providing flea, tick and heartworm prevention. While on the island, our staff saw a number of animals with serious medical conditions that we were able to successfully treat, such as transmissible venereal tumors and ehrlichiosis. One dog had deep wounds to his leg that the owner had wrapped with a T-shirt. He would boil the tee to clean it, let it dry, and place it back over the wound daily. By bringing the dog to us, we were able to surgically repair the wound and provide antibiotics for a happy and healthy healing process. Students Rise to the Occasion From this trip, the University of Florida veterinary students received invaluable experience they never would have otherwise. The students did the physical exams, blood work, surgical preparation, anesthesia, assisted with spays and neuters, and recovered the animals after surgery. Their hands-on experience in a variety of surgical and medical cases will prepare them for their futures and enable them to be more well-rounded doctors. The dedication I saw in them only proved their capabilities as they rose early each morning to make the hike to the outdoor clinics where they worked hard until dark. The excitement of learning beamed on their faces throughout the entire process. It was an incredible experience that was very rewarding, and I am so grateful to have been able to be a contributing member to such an incredible organization. Dr. Bice works with a University of Florida veterinarian student.

“Many of the pet owners had walked to the clinics carrying their animals in crates and makeshift containers to get them there.”







ASK THE VET:: Lifelong Learning


Dr. Matt Bennett of Pickens Animal Hospital (foreground) and Dr. Jenna Bennett of Banfield Vets in Easley are checked in on by Charleston Animal Society Veterinarian Dr. Margaret Morris. The Bennetts drove from the Upstate for their continuing education.

CALLING ALL SOUTH CAROLINAlicensed veterinarians! Charleston Animal Society is now offering Continuing Education, “A Day in Veterinary Shelter Medicine.” The program is broken into two parts: Surgery Techniques and Shelter Practices. According to Dr. Angele Bice with Charleston Animal Society, four vets already have successfully completed the program. “A lot of these surgical techniques are not taught in vet school, so vets don’t even know they exist,” she explains. “They thought they would just spruce up their surgical skills, like spay and neuter. Here they are given an option to learn many other techniques.” 38 CAROLINA TAILS | FALL 2016

That is exactly why Dr. Sally Price, DVM, enrolled in the program. She graduated veterinarian school in 1999, owned a private practice and now is working at a local veterinary office. “I had been in practice long enough that things had changed, and it was a good time to reevaluate,” she admits. Dr. Price was specifically interested in shelter medicine and research led her to Charleston Animal Society’s new program. “It is fascinating to see what is new out there. I encourage any vet to spend a couple of days there to gain a heightened perspective.” Over the course of two days at Charleston Animal Society’s AAHA-certified spayneuter clinic, Dr. Price spent time with Dr.

Bice and was able to participate first-hand in unique procedures, such as Ovarian Pedicle Ties in cats, Flank Spays of postpartum cats, and Scrotal Neuters of male dogs. These are techniques commonly used in shelters but less well-known by most practitioners. They are also key in bringing down costs and recovery times for animals. In addition to the surgery categories, veterinarians in Charleston Animal Society’s new program learn about specific shelter practices with four courses available. One of those courses is Guideline for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, which is specifically laid out by The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV). Another course is the Safety Assessment for Evaluation Rehoming, which assesses how dogs react to different stimuli in order to evaluate the probability of canine aggression in individual dogs. Enrollees in the program can also learn more about what “No Kill” truly means. This course explains the formula that calculates the “Save Rate”in a shelter. It also addresses the differences between a closed admission and an open admission shelter. The fourth Shelter Course centers upon the design of Charleston Animal Society’s current facility on Remount Road in North Charleston. This Shelter/Hospital Design course includes a walk-through to see the layout of the building as well as an understanding of how and why it works to accommodate the thousands of animals brought through its doors each year. “We wanted to offer something in South Carolina that was affordable,” explains Dr. Bice. The cost is $250 for the surgery CE, and there is no charge for the shelter portion of CE. Attendees may also choose up to 8 CE credits to participate in an 8hour day. “This is a pretty good deal!” Dr. Bice remarks. Scholarships are also available if cost is an issue. To learn more, visit





Kids are some of the best animal advocates so we’ve devoted this space to young pet lovers.

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