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Animal Planet’s Travis Brorsen

SPRING 2022 A Charleston Animal Society Publication




Coming March 19

Two Local Winners

Get Out Your Binoculars




Help us build a No Kill State with a NKSC plate!




Publisher: Charleston Animal Society Editor-in-Chief: Dan Krosse Managing Editor: Joe Elmore Sponsorships: Erin Nosker Advertising Sales: Ted DeLoach Graphic Design: mclaughlin design Copy Editor: Eve Baker Writers: Dan Krosse, Joe Elmore, Aldwin Roman, Sean Hawkins, Will Howell, Abigail Appleton, Becca Boronat, Lauren Rust, Kailey Allen Photographers: Jeanne Taylor, Dan Krosse, Aldwin Roman, Kay Hyman, Mike Requidian, Marie Rodriguez, and Will Howell For inquiries regarding advertising, distribution or suggestions in Carolina Tails contact: 2455 Remount Road North Charleston, SC 29406 (843) 747-4849 CarolinaTails.org Chairwoman: Laurel Greer Vice Chair: Dillard Salmons Stevens Secretary: Peter Walters Treasurer: Martin Deputy Executive Committee of the Board Patricia Henley David Maybank, Jr. Esq. Robert Nigro Louise Palmer Hank Greer Members of the Board Linda Bakker Gerri Greenwood Luigi Bravo Brantley Meier, DC Caroline Clark Carolyn Murray Edward “Ted” Richard Murphy Corvey, III, Esq. Celeste Patrick, MD Aussie Geer Donald Smith Jane Graham Diane Straney George “Pat” Waters Charleston County Council Representative: Henry Darby




5 Welcome 6 Pet Pointers 8 Lost Pets? What You Should Do Quickly taking the right steps, saves lives. 10 Autism and Pets A dog impacts a young girl with autism. 12 Celebrity Paws in the Park An amazing family festival headlined by Travis Brorsen. 16 Medical Breakthrough for Cats


17 Carolina Profile The Humane Society of South Carolina. 18 Better Cities for Pets List See what two local cities are among the best for pets!

20 2021 Year in Review


22 Fighting Cruelty

200 animals rescued in February.

23 The Charleston Dolphin Count Mark your calendars for April 23 24 My Turn: How Humane Ed Changed My Life 28 Biggest Issues Facing SC Shelters 32 Deputy Saves Cruelty Victim Where there’s Smoak, there’s love.

President and CEO: Joe Elmore Media & Marketing Consultant: Dan Krosse, dpk media solutions


For sponsorship, please contact Erin Nosker: enosker@ CharlestonAnimalSociety.org or (843) 329-1541. For advertising, please contact Ted Deloach: teddeloach@gmail.com or (843) 670-3941. © 2022 Carolina Tails is published by Charleston Animal Society, 2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29401. Carolina Tails is a registered trademark. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express, written permission of the publisher is prohibited.








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Welcome DEAR FRIENDS, As you receive this issue of Carolina Tails, we are just days away from the 2022 Celebrity Paws in the Park presented by Crews Subaru on March 19! It is going to be an amazing day of fun for the entire family, and I can’t wait to see each and every one of your smiling faces! The event will be held at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. It’s a beautiful location set on the Cooper River. Everything starts with a competitive 5K race, followed by a second 5K fun run/ walk that you can do with your dog! After that, it’s a day-long festival that will include the world-famous DockDogs™, great food, Rescue Brew and a whole lot of family fun including pet adoptions. Animal Planet’s Pet Expert and Dog Trainer Travis Brorsen will headline the day with on-stage activities for kids. See all the details in our special section starting on pg. 12. INSIDE THIS ISSUE As the owner of three cats, you know I couldn’t wait to read our article on “What to Do if Your Pet is Lost.” There are important, easy steps all of us need to take to make sure we don’t lose our furry family members (pg. 8). We also have a fascinating article on how a newly adopted pet helped a young girl with autism in a very special way (pg. 10). We are extremely proud that cities on both sides of the Cooper River have received the official Better Cities for Pets™ certification, as part of the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program, showcasing their commitment to creating a pet-friendly community (pg. 18). Congratulations to North Charleston and Mount Pleasant for being on the forefront of creating vibrant communities where pets are not only welcome but thrive. Is it just me? Or have you also looked out over the ocean or harbor and wondered how many dolphins are living out there? Now’s your chance to get involved to help find the answer – see details on the Charleston Dolphin Count coming up April 23. Kids and adults are welcome to get involved (pg. 23)! Meet a deputy with a big heart who’s given a loving home to a cruelty victim she met on a burglary call (pg. 32) and learn what the biggest issues are facing animal shelters around the state (pg. 28). All this said, be sure to save the Kleenex box for the column by Appalachian State College student Kailey Allen. Kailey first came to Charleston Animal Society for her birthday party in 3rd grade. After that, she did summer camps and many other offerings through our Humane Education Program. The tribute she writes to the three women who run our Humane Education Department is nothing less than inspiring (pg. 24).

Charleston Animal Society Board Chair Laurel Greer and Executive Committee Member Hank Greer celebrate winning No Kill South Carolina 2024 license plate #1 at the Charleston Animal Society Gala October 16, 2021. You can now purchase a No Kill Specialty plate! Details at CharlestonAnimalSociety.org/specialty-plate. OUT OF THE BLUE As you’ll see in our Year in Review (pg. 20), so much came at us in 2021 out of the blue – and yet here we are dedicated as always to the love, caring and protection of our community animals. For a brief moment last year, it looked as though the pandemic was lifting, then we were hit with Delta, then Omicron. Our lifesaving work at Charleston Animal Society continued. Cruelty cases, a vet shortage, a national employee shortage – all coming out of the blue – yet thanks to your support, we persevered. As we look ahead to 2022, we are going to keep our heads up, our hopes high, yet always be set to plan for another crisis or opportunity – because almost 20,000 animals each year are counting on us. Thank you for everything you do for the animals. Sincerely,




NEWS :: You Can Use

Pet Pointers CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY RECEIVES TOP BUSINESS HONOR The Better Business Bureau (BBB), serving the Midlands and the Lowcountry, honored Charleston Animal Society with the 2021 Large Business of the Year Torch Award. The mission of the BBB is to create an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. In this spirit, BBB Business of the Year Torch Awards nominees are scored by a panel of judges according to their commitment to the community, ethical business practices, and leadership practices to unify the organization. “Our team goes to great lengths to run an open and transparent organization,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore. “We are honored that the Better Business Bureau has recognized our lifesaving efforts and business practices.”

REMEMBERING BETTY WHITE The #BettyWhiteChallenge took the internet by storm in January. More than 1,600 donors gave to Charleston Animal Society as part of the nationwide tribute to one of TV’s best-known comediennes. “Betty White was a tireless advocate for animals her entire life,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore, CAWA, CFRE. “The Betty White Challenge was a fitting tribute to this actress and animal hero who would have turned 100 on January 17th.” The last act of this Golden Girl may be her most amazing one yet. Within hours of her passing on New Year’s Eve, the #BettyWhiteChallenge took off across social media. As part of the challenge, animal lovers were encouraged to give to their local animal shelters to remember White’s legacy. Tommy & Paige Hall with the Hall Group matched all donations to Charleston Animal Society up to $10,000. “To team up with this movement in honor of Betty White on behalf of Charleston Animal Society is a dream come true for us,” said Tommy Hall. “We were excited to match as many gifts as possible to help the lifesaving efforts at Charleston Animal Society.” “We are all saddened by the passing of Betty White, but to see her love for animals continue in this way is a bright light for all of us during this ongoing pandemic,” Elmore said. “In honor of Betty White, I just want to say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’” You can still give in Betty’s honor by donating to Team Betty White in Charleston Animal Society’s Celebrity Paws in the Park at Paws.CharlestonAnimalSociety.org.



The Torch Awards are open to all for-profit and nonprofit businesses located within the Lowcountry and Midlands regions. A panel of judges from SCORE reviewed the entries and chose the winners. SCORE’s mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Charleston Animal Society received the award in a ceremony held in Columbia on November 3rd. “This is always an inspiring event”, said Chris Hadley, President and CEO of the BBB serving Central SC and Charleston. “BBB is especially pleased to highlight the outstanding work of our Business of the Year Torch Award Recipients.”

VOLUNTEER PARTY MAY 22 Charleston Animal Society is excited to host its annual Volunteer Appreciation Party on the afternoon of Sunday, May 22! The event will take place at the Blackbaud Corporate Campus on Daniel Island and will be a chance for Charleston Animal Society volunteers to come together and be celebrated for all of their incredible work on behalf of our community’s animals. Guests can enjoy food, fun, and activities, all while we thank our amazing volunteers. Details at CharlestonAnimalSociety.org/Events.

RESCUE BREW 2021 MAKES ITS DEBUT! After 149,471 votes were cast by the public to determine the winners, Pippin and Sirri, the official Spokesdog and Spokescat of the 2021 Rescue Brew Beer, are now on the labels of the new Palmetto Brewing Company beer. The Rescue Brew Beer made its debut at a special event Saturday, January 29, 2022, at Palmetto Brewing Company’s Charleston Taproom.

THE GODMOTHER OF GIBBONS DIES AT 87 Tucked away near Summerville – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission. The visionary leader who founded the International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary, Dr. Shirley McGreal, died on November 20 at her home on the sanctuary grounds. She was 87. In January 2020, Charleston Animal Society awarded its Elizabeth Bradham Humanitarian Award to McGreal. IPPL opened its doors as the only Gibbon sanctuary in North America in 1977.

ANDERSON COUNTY PAWS IS NKSC 2024 ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR Anderson County PAWS has been named the No Kill South Carolina 2024 Organization of the Year. The organization received the award in recognition of its tireless efforts to save animal lives throughout South Carolina. “I’m truly honored to have PAWS receive this incredible achievement,” said Dr. Kim Sanders, PAWS Veterinarian and Director. “I know how hard my team works each day but for the entire state to recognize all that PAWS does to save lives makes me extremely proud. This award is proof that when an entire community comes together to do what is best for the animals, everyone comes out a winner.” Dr. Sanders thanked her incredible PAWS team for the dedication they show every day for the animals. She and her team mentored shelters in the Upstate and beyond, helping NKSC 2024 to change the reality of animal welfare in South Carolina. This visionary leader joined PAWS in Oct 2016, in the middle of a crisis with euthanasia rates of 21% for dogs and 60% for cats. By the end of 2017, euthanasia rates dropped to 6% and 3% respectively, and have been that low since. Dr. Sanders attributes such success to her passion for saving lives! From the very beginning, she decided to save every animal that they could and her incredible staff have gone above and beyond for every animal in the shelter and community. Dr. Sanders says the support from the County Administrator, Deputy Administrator, County Council and Sheriff has been overwhelming. It has taken the entire community working together to make PAWS such a success story. With Anderson County doing well, Sanders realized that she could help stop the unnecessary euthanasia occurring in surrounding counties. Her solution was for the PAWS team to mentor and share leading practices with these shelters, with the goal of preventing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals.

These “smallest apes” are rescued from medical labs, zoos and other situations – and brought to safety at IPPL. There are currently more than 30 Gibbons living in safety and solitude on 40 acres, provided by Dr. McGreal. She received several international honors for her work with Gibbons, including the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II. Upon receiving Charleston Animal Society’s Humanitarian Reward, McGreal remarked, “I’ve been to Buckingham Palace but being recognized in your own backyard is very special.” The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the day, but by night, these primates are kept indoors. McGreal’s passing was noted around the world, including an obituary in the New York Times. She will be missed by animal advocates everywhere. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


LOST PETS :: What To Do


What to Do When a Pet Goes Missing By DAN KROSSE



Doing a little work now, before any pet goes missing, will save you a lot of worry and heartache in the future.

As traumatic as it can be to lose a pet, taking immediate action could help bring your pet home faster. First, search the neighborhood. One out of 10 cats are found with a neighbor. So don’t hesitate to knock on doors – and be sure to bring a photo to show. Get the mail carrier involved!

Don’t forget the basics. Every pet should have a microchip, wear a collar and have an easily readable tag with their name, phone number and address. These are MUSTS! As importantly, upload a photo today to lost.petcolove. org. Five minutes on this website and you can upload your pet’s information and have the peace of mind knowing that your uploaded photo will be shared in a national database. What’s special is that this database will use facial recognition technology to determine whether your lost pet is being housed at a nearby shelter or with a neighbor in the community. And it’s completely free! “Our goal is to keep pets where they belong – at home, with you,” said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut.

Make flyers and put them up around your neighborhood. One thing to keep in mind when searching, is your pet’s personality. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), “A confident, outgoing pet may have made new friends, while a shy or easily scared pet is more likely to be hiding somewhere or staying clear of strangers.” You may need to walk and scan your neighborhood several times to finally find your lost pet. If you haven’t already uploaded your photo to lost.petcolove. org – do it now. As soon as it’s uploaded, the database can scan area shelters and a neighbor who may have uploaded a lost pet – to see if there’s a match. Don’t forget to post your pet’s photo on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor. The posts are shared, and the reach can grow exponentially.




• If safe to do so, transport the animal to a local vet clinic to scan for a microchip. Because some organizations may not have a universal scanner, your best bet is to take it to the local designated shelter, in Charleston County, that’s Charleston Animal Society. • Upload a photo of the animal to social media and to lost.petcolove.org. • If safe to do so, and with the appropriate environment, bring the animal home to hold temporarily to wait for response to your online and social media pleas (after you have filed a report with your local designated shelter). • Put up a flyer in the neighborhood. • Due to the absence of a centralized lost/found system, taking a stray animal to the designated shelter in your area is always the best option.

LEFT: Nate Patterson was all smiles as he reunited with his family’s dog Snarls Barkley last Spring at Charleston Animal Society. RIGHT: Petey was lost in Charleston County and somehow wound up in Asheville! Thankfully, he was microchipped and the Asheville Humane Society scanned him and safely returned him to Charleston Animal Society for a reunion with his owner.


• Bring the pet to the local county shelter where the animal was found. • Update your social media posts to state that the animal is now at the shelter. • City of Charleston residents are required to turn in stray animals to the animal control department.

WARNING: Never give a lost animal to someone to adopt. South Carolina law states “Any person stealing any positively identifiable dog is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.”


ANOTHER TIP FROM THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE US If your pet is microchipped, be sure to notify the microchip company so your pet can be flagged as lost. The next step is to contact your area animal shelters. Remember that your dog or cat doesn’t know where the county line is – so the HSUS recommends filing a lost pet report with every shelter within your county and even neighboring counties. Many times, people will take a pet to a shelter in another county, simply because it’s where they’re staying on their visit. It’s important you make time to visit shelters in-person. Unfortunately, there is no centralized system, so you will have to be diligent in your shelter search. “In the Tricounty area alone, we have five animal shelters, 21 rescue groups, 34 lost & found Facebook pages and groups, 80 vet clinics, 34 pet stores and feed stores, and the list goes on,” said No Kill South Carolina Chief Project Director Abigail Appleton, PMP, CAWA. “In-person searches, combined with online outreach is really the best recipe for success.” Never give up hope. Animals lost for weeks, even years are found every day. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


ADOPTIONS :: Saving Lives

Autism and Pet Adoptions



Coraline’s parents were amazed at the special bond that formed between their daughter and Margo.


didn’t bring Margo and her puppy home for me or my wife. It was for our two daughters. I wanted them to see and experience watching a mom care for her puppy. There was nothing special or out of the ordinary about fostering Margo and her puppy at first. My wife and I had done it many times before for Charleston Animal Society. If Margo wasn’t with her puppy she was with my daughter Coraline. They would snuggle to watch TV and if Coraline was hurt, stressed, or anxious she would call for Margo. And the two of them had also developed a little routine. Every night, Coraline would call for Margo from her bed and she would rush over, jump on the bed, burrow under the covers, press herself up against Coraline 10


and go right to sleep. We thought it was cute but it turned out to be much more. A SPECIAL CONNECTION You see Coraline isn’t like every other girl her age. She’s autistic. Most people who meet her won’t realize it because autism isn’t what everybody thinks it is. Coraline’s struggles often get dismissed as this or that. But for my wife and I, our life revolves around managing her diagnosis. Sleep was a big one. Coraline has struggled with sleeping since birth. She didn’t sleep through the night until she was 6, and even then only sometimes. Falling asleep takes her several hours of tossing and turning, not being able to turn off her brain. She would wake up multiple times a night,

sometime spending half the night up. Every night was a gauntlet for us. If we were lucky she was asleep by 11pm, then one of us would have to get up multiple times a night to comfort her because she was scared or because she couldn’t fall back asleep. During the day, she was exhausted from not sleeping which would affect her mood and everything she did. It was a vicious cycle that we tried everything to break. And then somehow, one day, a little dog named Margo made almost all of it go away overnight. The relationship between Margo and Coraline also seemed reciprocal. At first Margo was scared of people, but Coraline has helped her overcome her fears. Margo gave Coraline a sense of comfort at night that we had never been able to give her. Margo would spend the whole night with Coraline, either under the covers or with her head on the pillow sleeping right alongside her. In the middle of the night or in the early morning when Coraline would wake up she would snuggle Margo and pull her close and it would help her fall back asleep. Our daughter was now sleeping through the night regularly. And she wasn’t taking as long to fall asleep either. It was amazing and we couldn’t believe it. This little shy and skittish shelter dog was helping our daughter in a way that we had never been able to. Aldwin Roman, CAWA is Charleston Animal Society’s Vice President of Operations and Strategy. This personal story won a $50,000 grant for Charleston Animal Society in the national 2021 Petco Love Stories Contest.


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Celebrity Paws in the Park

Family Fun! Animal Planet’s Travis Brorsen Headlines

Charleston Animal Society’s Celebrity Paws in the Park By DAN KROSSE


pring is in the air and that means it’s time for Celebrity Paws in the Park, presented by Crews Subaru. Bring your dog and come join the fun at Riverfront Park in North Charleston on March 19th. People can participate in a competitive 5K race or a leisurely fun run and walk with their dog. Learn how Charleston Animal Society teamed up with Roper St. Francis Healthcare to get people and their pets outside and moving with a “Couch to 5K” training program on pg. 13. After the 5K, families are invited to sit, stay and play all day in six activity zones throughout the park, including dog adoptions, Dock Dogs® diving competitions and health and wellness services for pets, including a vaccine clinic sponsored by Petco Love. “Celebrity Paws in the Park is an event that unifies thousands of people, at a beautiful venue, Riverfront Park in North Charleston,” said Celebrity Paws in the Park Committee Chair Tanya Fitzgerald from Blackbaud. TEAM FUNDRAISING Celebrity Paws in the Park is Charleston Animal Society’s largest community fundraiser and it’s not too late to get involved. Anyone who wants to participate in the competitive 5K, or the fun run or walk can sign up at Paws. CharlestonAnimalSociety.org.



Animal Planet Pet Expert and Dog Trainer Travis Brorsen will headline Celebrity Paws in the Park with live stage shows for children. (Jeanne Taylor).

“Friends of Charleston Animal Society are encouraged to create a fundraising team or fundraise as an individual. Competitors in both the 5K race and the fun run will win prizes based on their times and organized team themes,” Fitzgerald said. “Fundraising teams and individuals will earn prizes based on the amount of funds raised. All money raised will go to lifesaving care to thousands of animals each year at Charleston Animal Society.”

MORE THAN JUST A 5K After the 5K people can enjoy a variety of food from the best Lowcountry food trucks and sip on the 2021 winning Rescue Brew Beer. There will also be a Pet Adoption Zone, Health & Wellness Zone, and the Canine Sports Arena featuring the world famous DockDogs Diving Competition. Buy a pass and your dog could be selected to dive. Join us for a full day of familyfriendly programming that will include live obedience and working dog demonstrations from the Charleston Aviation Authority K9 Unit and other organizations (Learn more on pg. 14).

TRAVIS BRORSEN ON STAGE There will also be special stage shows with “Travis & Friends” that will teach kids how to be their best selves around dogs. Animal Planet star, celebrity dog trainer and winner of the hit reality show “Greatest American Dog,” Travis Brorsen, will be live on stage for these funfilled educational segments. Travis built his career on sharing what he has learned about creating a positive learning environment for dogs and building relationships between them and their families based on friendship, kindness, and compassion “When Charleston Animal Society asked me to be a part Celebrity Paws in the Park, I could not resist,” Travis said. “This is going to be a lot of fun for the kiddos, I can’t wait to see people outdoors enjoying life again!”

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS! Charleston Animal Society is thrilled to welcome Crews Subaru as the Presenting Sponsor for Celebrity Paws in the Park. “As an integral part of our Subaru Love Promise to our community, we believe that people and pets are better together,” said Ken French, Marketing Guy for Crews Subaru. “As the 2021 Subaru Retailer of the Year, we support many programs that benefit children, and Celebrity Paws in the Park brings our passions together. We are honored to be the Presenting Sponsor, not only in the inaugural year but for the next three years as Subaru Loves Pets!” As of press time, Celebrity Paws in the Park sponsors include: Crews Subaru, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Live 5 WCSC, Charleston City Paper, Charleston Radio Group, City of North Charleston, Vetoquinol, Delaney Oyster Bar, Blackbaud, Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates, Hank and Laurel Greer, Joye Law Firm, World’s Best Cat Litter, Blue Blue Shield of South Carolina, Palmetto Brewing Company and Southern Eagle Distributors.

Getting in Shape

Exercising with Your Dog & Involvement from Kids Helps Raise Funds

Step up for Shelters™ lets kids fundraise for the animals by taking walks with their dogs!



he battle of the bulge is not just for people anymore! According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. The 2012 “People and Pets Exercising Together” study demonstrated that a higher percentage of people completed a one-year exercise program when they exercised with their dogs (61% versus 58%). Plus, the dual benefit of the research showed that 5% of the people and 15% of the pets in the study lost weight. Could it be that your dog could be your new best exercise partner? COUCH TO 5K TRAINING PROGRAM As part of Celebrity Paws in the Park, we partnered with the health and fitness experts at Roper St. Francis Healthcare to create the first “Couch to 5K Training Program” for both people and pets. The goal of the six or eight week program is for both dogs and their humans to develop an exercise regimen and prepare them to participate in the Celebrity Paws in the Park 5 K-9 Run or Walk together! The program is a free series of video training segments and downloadable guides with Danielle Greenman, athletic trainer with Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and Animal Planet’s “My Big Fat Pet Makeover” dog trainer Travis Brorsen. The materials are all available at paws.charlestonanimalsociety.org under the “Couch to 5K” tab. “Our goal in creating the video series was to provide a fun and easy tool where people working with their dogs can get fit together,” Brorsen said. The Couch to 5K Training Program is generously sponsored by Roper St. Francis Healthcare, the Lowcountry’s only not-for-profit healthcare system. 2022 STEP UP FOR SHELTERS™ CHALLENGE Science has taught us that walking as little as 15 minutes per day can benefit both humans and pets. Not only is it a way to work off any extra pandemic pounds, but walking also reduces stress and boosts your mood. With the 2022 Step Up for

Shelters Challenge we can turn your family walks into cash that benefit homeless animals at Charleston Animal Society! The effort is simple. Download the WoofTrax app on your mobile device (available at Google Play or in the Apple App Store). Once enrolled, go to the Challenges Tab and join the 2022 Step Up for Shelters Challenge. Each time you walk, start and stop your walk within the app and our sponsor will donate to Charleston Animal Society, up to $10,000! WoofTrax uses GPS technology to track every walk. The fundraising initiative was made possible through an innovative partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., the maker of NexGard® (afoxolaner) and Heartgard® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel). You can learn more by going to Paws.CharlestonAnimalSociety. org and clicking on the Step Up for Shelters tab. You’ll find all of the instructions along with a selection of shelter pets that you can choose as your walking buddy in case you do not have a pet at home. Charleston Animal Society Chief Education Officer De Daltorio wanted to find ways to involve and engage kids not only in fundraising but in lessons that promote the health and wellbeing of animals. “Each level you achieve earns a $5 donation to Charleston Animal Society,” Daltorio said. “A donation of $5 will feed a homeless puppy. When you earn a $10 donation, you are helping to feed a litter of kittens. A gift of $15 provides a bed or comfy blanket to a homeless animal.” Working with Animal Planet star, celebrity dog trainer and winner of the hit reality show “Greatest American Dog,” Travis Brorsen, Charleston Animal Society created fun-filled educational video segments that show the correct way for kids and dogs to walk or run together. The video series, that you can see on the 2022 Step up for Shelters web page, show kids how to be safe and have fun walking with dogs and it helps everyone prepare by having the proper equipment and safety protocols. Sean Hawkins is the Chief Advancement Officer for Charleston Animal Society. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


Celebrity Paws in the Park

Dock Dogs!

A Doggone Good Time! By WILL HOWELL


elebrity Paws in the Park was made to celebrate people and their pets making the choice to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Nowhere is that more on display than the Canine Sports Arena, where the action starts at 9 AM after the race at Riverfront Park. This free, family-friendly event showcases the full spectrum of canine athleticism like you’ve never seen before. KICKING OFF THE DAY The internationally recognized Palmetto DockDogs® are leading the way in the fastest growing canine sport in the world. For those not familiar, DockDogs is a sport in which highly trained dogs compete in one of three event types while jumping from a 40-foot dock into the water below. The events include Big Air® a competition in which dogs are judged based on the distance jumped, Extreme Vertical®, where the dog that jumps the highest takes the prize, and Speed Retrieve®, a doggy drag race where the fastest rules the pool. DockDogs competitions are set to take place all day on Saturday, culminating in the Big Air® Finals for the pro, semi-pro, contender, and amateur divisions starting at 3 PM. DOG DEMONSTRATIONS The furry fun doesn’t end there though; the Canine Sports Arena is set to have demonstrations by the Charleston Dog



Training Club and the Charleston County Aviation Authority K9 Unit. The Charleston Dog Training Club (CDTC) was founded in 1959, making it one of the oldest AKC associated canine training clubs in the United States. Their team provides training to owners and their dogs in not only standard obedience lessons, but also a variety of canine sporting events including tracking, scent work, barn hunt, and more. The CDTC will be at the Canine Sports Arena performing demonstrations all day. This group of highly trained dogs are set to showcase their skills in rally, obedience, and agility, along with the group’s AKC Certified trainers performing Canine Good Citizen Evaluations for the public. Bring your dog by and see if they make the grade! Continuing through all the furry fun the Canine Sports Arena has to offer, we meet the dogs that work hard to keep our skies safe. Say hello to Hector, Taz, and Scout of the Charleston County Aviation Authority’s K9 Unit. “This elite group of K9 officers work closely with their human partners to detect explosives, perform sweeps for narcotics, and on occasion are brought in to assist with tracking and locating possible suspects for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, DEA, FBI, U.S. Coast Guard and more,” said Charleston Animal Society Behavior Team Manager Donya Satriale. “We are so fortunate to have

them at Celebrity Paws in the Park.” The team must maintain a high level of skill and proficiency to maintain their certification as active K9 Officers. For that reason, they regularly attend various specialized training courses and even train together once a week. Hector, a seven-year-old black German Shepherd, is a bit of a celebrity himself! He recently competed in Season three of “America’s Top Dog” on the A&E Network, appearing in two episodes. Hector and his K9 team will be showcasing the skills they use daily to protect and serve in Charleston County. The canines and their officer partners will put on a display exhibiting their bite work, obedience, and bomb-search skills. Stick around afterwards for an informative question and answer session featuring the K9 officer handlers who work with the unit each day. You won’t find another event that celebrates the amazing athletic abilities of dogs quite like the Canine Sports Arena. With free admission available to all, regardless of whether they participate in the race or the fun run, why not bring the whole family along to experience the excitement? We’ll see you there after the finish line! The Charleston Aviation Authority K9 unit will be holding demonstrations at Celebrity Paws in the Park.

Celebrity Paws in the Park


Come. Sit. Stay & Play All Day!

Travis Brorsen


Saturday March 19 Riverfront Park N. Charleston

• • • • • • •


5K Race & Leisurely Fun Run or Walk with Your Dog Roper St. Francis “Couch to 5K” Training Program with Your Dog 2022 Step Up for Shelters™ Challenge by Boehringer Ingelheim Rescue Brew Beer Garden & Food Truck Rally Dock Dogs® Diving Competitions Kids & Family Programming Hill’s® Pet Adoption Pavilion

To learn more about the Run/Walk and FREE outdoor festival visit: Paws.CharlestonAnimalSociety.org

CATS :: Osteoarthritis


Medical Breakthrough for Cats


he U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Solensia™ to control the pain of osteoarthritis (OA) in cats, helping improve their mobility, comfort and overall well-being. Solensia is a once-monthly injection administered in a veterinary clinic. Feline OA is a highly prevalent condition affecting nearly 40% of all cats. OA occurs when the protective tissue in the joints (cartilage) is worn down, causing bones to rub together. This makes moving harder and causes severe pain. Without treatment, OA pain can worsen over time and can seriously affect a cat’s long-term health and well-being. This condition has typically been undertreated because of a lack of options, but this new treatment could be a game changer. Solensia is a monoclonal antibody therapy administered in the clinic that targets Nerve Growth Factor to control feline OA pain. You may have heard of monoclonal antibody therapy being used in the fight against COVID-19. This is the first monoclonal antibody treatment approved by the FDA for animals. Frunevetmab, the active ingredient in 16


“We hope that the approval of the first monoclonal antibody by the FDA for any animal species will expand research and development of other monoclonal antibody products to treat animal diseases.” — FDA Director for Veterinary Medicine Steven M. Solomon, M.P.H., D.V.M.

Solensia, is a cat-specific monoclonal antibody (a type of protein) designed to recognize and attach to a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) that is involved in the regulation of pain. When frunevetmab binds to NGF, it prevents the pain signal from reaching the brain. “Advancements in modern veterinary medicine have been instrumental in extending the lives of many animals, including cats. But with longer lives come chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis,” said FDA Director for Veterinary Medicine Steven M. Solomon, M.P.H., D.V.M. “We hope that the approval of the first monoclonal antibody by the FDA for any animal species will expand research and development of other monoclonal antibody products to treat animal diseases.” Because of the difficulty in assessing

chronic pain levels in cats, the FDA looked at whether the overall evidence supported the conclusion that Solensia was effective in controlling pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats. The effectiveness of Solensia was evaluated in two effectiveness studies using three clinical assessments that measured different aspects of pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats. Overall, the cats in the treatment group had better assessment scores than those in the control group. The most common side effects seen in cats treated with Solensia included vomiting, diarrhea, injection site pain, scabbing on the head and neck, dermatitis and pruritus (itchy skin). These effects were relatively mild and did not require cessation of treatment.


A Visit with the Humane Society of South Carolina


The Humane Society of South Carolina isn’t typical. There’s no shelter. No adoptions or fosters. Instead, this organization, located in Columbia, focuses on bringing down animal overpopulation while also investigating as many cruelty and neglect cases around the Palmetto State as possible. Carolina Tails recently had the chance to interview South Carolina Humane Society Executive Director Dawn Wilkinson. She’s run the organization since 2018, moving here from Chicago to jump into animal advocacy in a big way. CAROLINA TAILS: Tell us about the Humane Society of South Carolina, where you’re located and what your mission is. DAWN WILKINSON: We are based out of Columbia and have been in existence since 1902, so probably the second oldest animal organization in South Carolina. Our mission is to end animal cruelty, neglect, and overpopulation. We do not have a sheltering component, instead, we conserve our resources and really focus on the two areas of our mission. We do spaying and neutering and we focus on cruelty and neglect cases all over the state. CT: How do you reach out and spay and neuter animals? DW: We have a stationary clinic in Columbia and mobile surgical units that go out to the areas in the Midlands to do spayneuter surgery. We typically do 12,000 spay-neuters a year, but due to a shortage of veterinarians, we did 9,000 in 2021. CT: Through their No Kill South Carolina 2024 initiative, Charleston Animal Society held two statewide spay-neuter blitzes last year, bringing in vets from out of state, spaying and neutering more than 700 animals across 11 different counties so the animals could be adopted. Do we need to see more vets step in to help? DW: We do, and I just wanted to thank Charleston Animal Society and No Kill South Carolina 2024 for their support of our organization and animal welfare in total. I have certainly appreciated Joe [Elmore] and the No Kill South Carolina Team for their support and mentorship as we all

come together for the betterment of all the animals in the state. CT: How is the Humane Society of South Carolina helping in the fight against cruelty? DW: We assist and help law enforcement with complaints of cruelty and neglect for all animals. And those complaints come from all over the state of South Carolina. A lot of the neglect that we see is caused by a lack of education and a lack of resources. So, we aim at helping with that education piece and the resource piece, by educating the pet owner on how to humanely keep their animal. A lot of this is generational, and we try to be a resource and teaching things like why good sheltering for a dog is important or why a dog shouldn’t be tethered all day long. CT: People can report cruelty or neglect concerns right on your website? DW: Yes, our website (HumaneSC.org) has a submission form where they can submit complaints of cruelty that they see. We get between 100 – 150 complaints per month. It’s important that if anyone sees instances of cruelty or neglect to any animal, and we get ‘em for all animals, horses, cows, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs that they send it to us. It’s like a weather spotter out there. We love to have cruelty and neglect spotters out there, because when it’s reported, it is at least sent out to be looked at. CT: What are the challenges facing your mission in 2022?

Dawn Wilkinson with Lou Lou, a dog recently spayed by the Humane Society of South Carolina. The organization spayed or neutered 9,000 animals in 2021. DW: Our biggest hurdle that involves solving the overpopulation part of our mission. There is a lack of spay neuter access to rural areas. CT: Anything else you feel is important to point out that you’d like to let the public know about the Humane Society of South Carolina? DW: We strive to let our community know that we are here to assist them. We can attach them to resources that we know are out there to be able to help them. Instead of abandoning that animal or letting that animal go or neglecting the animal, call us and we will work with you on obtaining what resources are needed. To help with our mission, you can go to HumaneSC.org.




North Charleston and Mount Pleasant Make National List



A big congratulations goes out to the City of North Charleston and the Town of Mount Pleasant for receiving the Better Cities for Pets™ Certification. Both cities were certified by Mars Petcare after an extensive evaluation process. Charleston Animal Society partnered with both cities to apply.

David Schreiber and his dogs Mavis and David Bowie enjoying the park at the Pitt Street Bridge.

Mars Petcare representatives said both cities showed a commitment to pets and pet owners that stood out and Mars Petcare was thrilled that they are looking for ways to further advance their towns’ petfriendliness. Mars is the corporation behind several pet food brands you know including Pedigree, Iams and Whiskas. Mars Petcare launched the Better Cities for Pets city certification program in 2019 and evaluates cities based on 12 traits of petfriendliness across four categories: businesses, parks, shelters and homes.


“We established the Better Cities for Pets certification to celebrate cities that are creating positive and welcoming environments for people and their pets, and we encourage more cities to recognize the benefits of our four-legged friends,” — Jam Stewart, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Mars Petcare

TOWN OF MOUNT PLEASANT MAYOR WILL HAYNIE “We are thrilled to be recognized by Better Cities for Pets™. Our furry friends not only enhance our quality of life here in Mount Pleasant, but also help build community in our Town. The Town’s strong response related to supporting pet parents in challenging times is key to reducing pet homelessness and keeping people and pets together. My family’s eight-year-old rescue, Rusty, couldn’t agree more.”

Pet-Friendly Reasons Mount Pleasant was Selected: 1.

Led by Charleston Animal Society, partners across Mount Pleasant are working together to reduce pet homelessness and get more pets in loving homes.


Mt. Pleasant doesn’t have breed bans or other significant restrictions for pet ownership.


Charleston Animal Society’s TVAR program is humanely reducing cat overpopulation and keeping cat colonies vaccinated.


Pet owners in your city have options for support to help keep their pets with them despite short-term tough times.


Pet amenities like waste stations and drinking water fountains are available throughout Mount Pleasant.


Mount Pleasant has signage that makes expectations clear for pets in public places.

The Town of Mount Pleasant financialy supports Charleston Animal Society’s lifesaving efforts.



Riverfront Park in North Charleston is home to Celebrity Paws in the Park, one of the largest pet-friendly events in the state.

NORTH CHARLESTON MAYOR KEITH SUMMEY “Few things in life can spark as much joy as a faithful furry companion. As the owner of three great dogs, I keenly understand the importance of a pet-friendly city. From being the home and a supporter of Charleston Animal Society, to the establishment of pet-friendly green spaces throughout the city, to a business community that shares our love of pets, North Charleston is honored to be a Certified City in the Better Cities for Pets program.”

Pet-Friendly Reasons North Charleston was Selected: 1.

North Charleston’s animal shelters are warm, welcoming places people want to visit to take home a pet.


Your local emergency preparedness plans include accommodations for and communication about pets.


North Charleston doesn’t have breed bans or other significant restrictions for pet ownership.



Pet owners in North Charleston have options for support to help keep their pets with them despite short-term tough times, through Charleston Animal Society’s Pets For Life program.

North Charleston has pet-friendly green spaces for people and pets to get healthy exercise and connect with each other.


Businesses in your community make it easy for people to be out with pets.

The City of North Charleston financialy supports Charleston Animal Society’s lifesaving efforts. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


2021 :: A Look Back




Charleston Animal Society deployed teams to assist the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office with the largest animal cruelty operation in South Carolina history. 400 animals needed rescued. This was one of several cruelty cases in 2021.

Charleston Animal Society steps into the future with Petco Love Lost and a high-tech solution to finding lost pets using facial recognition. Learn more at lost.petcolove.org.

At its 147th annual meeting, Charleston Animal Society announced the Palmetto State can be a No Kill State by 2024. $1 million will be coming to shelters across South Carolina if the goal is met, courtesy of Petco Love!

Charleston Animal Society’s Disaster Response Team traveled more than 21,000 miles, rescuing 289 animals from the path of hurricanes, tornadoes, cruelty situations and shelter overcrowding. The team is nicknamed “The Love Train.”



Charleston Animal Society brought animals to greet healthcare workers exhausted by the Delta surge of COVID-19. The Canines for Caregivers program started at Roper Hospital and soon spread to other area hospitals.

Out of 2,700 tickets sold, the winning Tesla Model Y Lifesaving Raffle ticket landed in the hands of Charleston resident John Osborne. This year you could win a Lexus SUV — go to CharlestonAnimalSociety.org/carraffle today.

Due to a statewide veterinarian shortage, Charleston Animal Society’s No Kill South Carolina 2024 initiative completed two weeks of performing spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats in animal shelters located in 11 different counties, across every single region of the state. Veterinarians from around the country were brought in to help.

Pick Me! SC is the nation’s largest annual statewide adoption event for both dogs and cats. More than 1,700 animals were adopted in the June event organized by No Kill South Carolina 2024 and sponsored by Petco Love.




Two Cruelty Cases: 200 Animals By DAN KROSSE

Charleston Animal Society Staff greeted the rescued retrievers at the door to bring them in for veterinarian examinations. WILL HOWELL


t was a busy Valentine’s Day week for Charleston Animal Society, when more than 200 cats and dogs needed rescued in two separate cases. Charleston Animal Society’s Disaster Response Team deployed to Pickens County February 12, to assist with the rescue of 166 dogs living in inhumane conditions. “With the network of support that our No Kill South Carolina initiative has built, the goal is to help in situations like these, so they don’t overwhelm one organization,” said Charleston Animal Society Vice President of Operations and Strategy Aldwin Roman, CAWA. “In this case, we teamed up with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Pickens County Animal Control and Anderson County PAWS.” 35 of the retriever mixes were brought to Charleston Animal Society and were assessed by the shelter’s AAHAaccredited Veterinary Team. Many of the dogs and puppies were then placed in foster homes until they can be adopted in about two weeks. The rescues include 16 adult dogs and 19 puppies, some with 22


their mothers. “Dozens of other dogs were sent to Anderson PAWS and the Pickens Animal Shelter,” Roman said. “No charges are expected to be filed in this case. It involved a woman who thought she was doing the right thing but became overwhelmed when the dogs began breeding. However, the cost of caring for these animals now falls on the organizations rescuing them.” 44 CATS RESCUED IN NORTH CHARLESTON Simultaneously, Charleston Animal Society worked with North Charleston Animal Control, to rescue almost three dozen cats from an unsafe situation. “We had a person who was taking in feral cats but became overwhelmed because none of the cats were spayed or neutered,” said Charleston Animal Society Chief Lifesaving Officer Pearl Sutton. “If you want to help with feral cats, please come ask for one of our humane traps. We can then spay or neuter the cat, vaccinate him or her and then return them to their area, where

A North Charleston resident who thought she was doing the right thing bringing in stray cats became overwhelmed by too many animals. (Will Howell)

they can safely live their lives outdoors.” Kittens and adult cats were examined by Charleston Animal Society’s Veterinary team. If you can adopt or foster, please come to the shelter. “There is a sense of urgency about adopting the animals currently in our shelter because we need to make room for the animals we just rescued,” Sutton said.

SEA LIFE :: Dolphins


Charleston Dolphin Count By Lauren Rust

Two Bottlenose dolphins frolicking near Kiawah Island.


Ever look out over the waves and wonder how many dolphins are out there swimming around Charleston? The Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (LMMN) is busy finding the answer – thanks to their army of citizen-scientists. This local nonprofit’s mission is to protect local marine mammals through education, outreach, and monitoring. Each year, they engage the community through a citizen-scientist event called Dolphin Count. Dolphin Count brings together the general public and marine mammal scientists to raise awareness about our resident bottlenose dolphin population and to count dolphins in the harbor.

helps us understand the growth of the population and identify “hotspots” for different behaviors. This information is critical to protecting this small population and the habitats in which they live. LMMN analyzes this data and shares it with participants and the greater community. Another goal for this event is to bridge the gap in understanding between scientists and the community. We do this through having events throughout the week leading up to Dolphin Count (“Dolphin Week”) that are appropriate for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. The Dolphin Count event encourages everyone to connect with the many wonders of nature and the creatures who reside in them.

THE ANSWER IS? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Charleston is home to 300 dolphins. This includes the stretch of ocean between Edisto Island and the Isle of Palms. Since 2018, Dolphin Count participants have recorded hundreds of dolphin sightings in just the Charleston Harbor. The data came from almost 2,000 counters who recorded dolphin sightings while stationed at 12 different counting stations across the Charleston Peninsula. There is even an app (Dolphin Count) for the citizen-scientists to record their findings! Because the harbor dolphin population is small, conservation efforts are needed. The Dolphin Count not only engages people to learn more about dolphins, but it raises awareness about the most common threats facing these mammals including: • Harassment • Boat strikes • Entanglement • Ingestion of marine debris

ABOUT BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS Bottlenose Dolphins inhabit every area of the oceans except the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Their intelligence is continually studied by scientists and for years they were seen in aquarium shows and even on TV in the popular program, “Flipper.” Scientists believe bottlenose dolphins communicate at a high level and have one of the largest brains of any mammal after humans and apes. By understanding the health of dolphins, we are better able to understand the coastal environment which we share with them. Additionally, a loss of this small, local population of dolphins would be a huge blow to the coastal community that relies heavily on recreation and ecotourism. Through this event, we can apply important data and share it with stakeholders in hopes of better protecting these animals and their habitats for future generations. Save the date for this year’s Dolphin Count Event coming up April 23, 2022! Visit lmmn.org for details.

DATA HELPING RESEARCHERS The data collected is providing researchers with a snapshot of the population. Data collected includes location, behavior, environmental parameters, and any newborns (calves). All of this

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lauren Rust founded LMMN in 2017. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in marine biology and a master’s degree in ecology from the University of Wales, UK.




A Future Shaped Through Humane Education



Kailey Allen, a student at Appalachian State University, is hoping to become one of only 80 veterinary behaviorists in the world.


vividly remember the sights and sounds as I visited the adoption floor at Charleston Animal Society for the first time: loud barking echoes, eyes begging for attention, and paws scratching the kennel walls that separated them from me. At this point, I was already aware of the vital role shelters played in their communities, but I still didn’t understand just how important these facilities were. A large part of what helped me fully realize their impact was the encouragement I received from the Humane Education Department. This program at Charleston Animal Society is entirely dedicated to teaching youth about compassion and raising the next generation of animal advocates. The department’s motto is “making humanitarians one child at a time,” and I believe it lives up to that and more. MY “AHA” MOMENT From others I have spoken to, I have come to the conclusion that many people who work in rescue come to do so because of 24


specific “aha” moments, interactions, or conversations they have had. Although I have always enjoyed the shelter environment, I am no exception to this. My journey through Humane Education all started with a dog named Max. There stood this stocky, middle-aged mutt cowering in the back of his kennel, growling. He would not have been the first choice of many people, let alone most children, and still I found myself completely mesmerized by the standoffish pooch. Tension radiated from his whole body. His hard stare would soften any time he took a step, hesitating before every move. All of the sudden, I realized that he was insecure. He was so unsure of himself that he was looking for permission to move. I had never doubted animals’ ability to feel and express complex emotions, but here I saw proof of everything I wanted to believe. From that day forward, I was hooked. I knew I had to dig deeper and learn more. Of course, I turned to education at the shelter to take me further.

GETTING HOOKED ON HUMANE ED My time in the Humane Education department began with the Humane Heroes program. This was where I started building my relationship with Humane Education Director Heather Grogan. Throughout the years, I quickly became a sponge soaking up every amount of information I could learn from her, Chief Education Officer De Daltorio and Humane Education Manager Kylie Wiest. I moved on from the first experience to Animal Advocates and Teen Club, each requiring a year of dedication. From fundraising and cleaning litter boxes to shadowing the shelter veterinarians, I loved every second and was anxious to become an independent volunteer when my training was complete. I had found my place, my people and most of all, my purpose. Reflecting back, my time with the animals was addictive. Whether it was learning to live in the moment, trusting each other when others had let us down, or always being ready for affection and play, I realized I needed them as much as

they needed me. All throughout these moments of reflection and realization, these three amazing women were there to guide and shape my path with a humane education program that has hosted national conferences and taught other shelters across the country how to reach more children. SHAPING MY FUTURE Because of the education I received through Charleston Animal Society, I have been able to pursue career goals that I never knew were possible. I am now an Interdisciplinary Self-Design major at Appalachian State University, pursuing my unique degree in Animal Health, Behavior, and the Human-Animal Bond. I plan to take this degree through veterinary school, with a goal of becoming one of the 80 board-certified Veterinary Behaviorists in the world. I want to help animals coming into shelter systems with psychological damage in new, innovative ways, while supporting the core values of rescue. Without the entirety of the Humane Education Division, including Heather, De, and Kylie, I never would have found my passion. I owe much of who I am today to this shelter and its wonderful staff. No matter what I do or where I go, I will always have a home at Charleston Animal Society. Now in college, Kailey Allen’s first memory at Charleston Animal Society was her birthday party with the Humane Education Department in 3rd grade.

TOP: Humane Education Manager Kylie Wiest smiles as students try to guess what kind of animal an x-ray is showing. MIDDLE: Chief Education Officer De Daltorio bring Moose, a rescue from Charleston Animal Society, to help teach children compassion toward animals. BOTTOM: Humane Education Director Heather Grogan is also the Vice President of the national Association of Professional Humane Educators. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


Productivity Awareness Wellness Service

Relief Technician Leave Coverage Staff Training & Education In-home Pet Care Services Hospital & Team Workflows


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2/9/22 9:23 AM

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NKSC 2024 :: Building a No Kill State


Challenges facing Animal Shelters in South Carolina By ABIGAIL APPLETON, PMP, CAWA & BECCA BORONAT, CAWA


outh Carolina is making great progress in lifesaving but our animal care systems are facing significant challenges. LACK OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES Lack of financial resources lies at the heart of almost all of the challenges faced by sheltered animals in our state. Chronic

underfunding of animal shelters and animal control agencies mean that private citizens are left to subsidize the cost of a public service. For many government shelters, essentials like medical care, behavioral enrichment items, or costs associated with animal transport are funded by a nonprofit “Friends of the Shelter” type group. For DAN KROSSE

A veterinarian shortage across South Carolina prompted No Kill South Carolina 2024 to bring in vets from around the country to help spayneuter almost 700 pets in every region of the state in November and December.



nonprofit shelters holding a government contract, like Charleston Animal Society, not a single one receives funding to fully cover the costs of the animals they care for on behalf of the government, and in most cases it’s less than 50%. Increased funding could lead to faster, more comprehensive medical care, improved behavioral care, increased staff training, expanded support for community pets … not to mention improving the physical facilities themselves. Now is the time to ask your elected officials to fully fund their counties and municipalities and help us take better care of our communities’ animals. VETERINARIAN SHORTAGE The veterinary workforce shortage has impacted dogs and cats inside and outside of animal shelters. Community dogs and cats from several areas in our state depend on low to no-cost preventive pet healthcare to follow the law (rabies vaccines) and to mitigate the potential of infectious diseases outbreak. Care-A-Van, a Pawmetto Lifeline outreach mobile unit, saw a decrease of 30% in its capacity to provide community vaccination due to this factor alone. In South Carolina, shelter dogs and cats are required by law to be spayed or neutered within 30 days of adoption so due to the diminished veterinary workforce, animals can’t be fixed and are staying longer in the shelters, causing overcrowding, poor quality of life of the animals and overworked staff. To help address this issue, NKSC 2024, an initiative of Charleston Animal Society, organized South Carolina’s first statewide spay/neuter project to bring relief to

NO CENTRALIZED LOST AND FOUND SYSTEM Another challenge facing SC animals is the lack of a centralized system for lost and found animals. There are so many opportunities for missed connections between someone who loses their pet and someone who finds it. Petco Love Lost facial recognition is a great tool to help lost pets get back home, but it only works if you use it. Many shelter software systems automatically upload pets’ photos when they enter a shelter but its use among pet owners is not yet widespread. You can sign your pet up today at lost.petcolove.org. Read more on this challenge on page 4. NO TRAINING STANDARDS FOR ANMAL CONTROL OFFICERS South Carolina has no standards for training of Animal Control Officers (ACO), which makes prosecuting animal cruelty difficult, depending on where the incidents happen. Each individual jurisdiction decides what training their ACOs should (or shouldn’t) get. Training varies wildly between jurisdictions, partly based on which department pays the bills. In some communities ACOs are sworn law enforcement officers who investigate and enforce animal crimes, in some cases they are in the code enforcement or public works department, and in a few places animal control departments are called “environmental services” and made responsible for litter control as well. WEAK CRUELTY LAWS Even if ACOs had standardized required training, their ability to respond depends on the laws and codes they are tasked with enforcing. And those laws are already weak; Animal Legal Defense Funds ranked South Carolina 44th in animal protection laws for 2021. All this said, there is some light ahead for animal care. Magistrates are now required to have two hours of animal care training, and Charleston Animal Society has brought in professional anti-cruelty organization

to train and certify Animal Cruelty Investigators. LACK OF SHELTER STANDARDS AND REPORTING Likewise, animal shelters effectively have no required minimum standard of care. Three years ago, the state legislature passed an animal care bill but by the time the bill made it to Governor McMaster’s desk to be signed, any requirements for government shelters to make improvements had been removed if the improvements would cost any money. With no requirement to maintain a safe, healthy and structurally sound shelter, many local governments don’t have much incentive to invest financial resources in their local shelter. Shelter staff work hard to provide a safe and healthy environment for the animals in their care but are hindered by issues with their physical facility. At the same time of the shelter standards effort, the South Carolina Animal Legislative Coalition (SCALC) also worked with the Legislature to require annual shelter reporting so that resources could be directed to areas of the state in most need; however, government shelters were exempted from the statute, effectively rendering it useless. FREE-ROAMING CATS One of the most at-risk categories of animals entering shelters are freeroaming/feral cats. Feral cats can’t be kept in cages or be handled the way domesticated cats are, it is simply inhumane to do so. Worse, it can be hard to tell which cats are truly feral and which are just terrified to be in a shelter. In communities where trap-vaccinatealter-return (TVAR), a proven cat reduction strategy, is not allowed, when a feral (or feral-seeming) cat is taken to a shelter euthanasia is usually the outcome (a practice known as trap-and-kill). TVAR type programs are the best way to reduce the population and prevent euthanasia of these cats. Many communities across South Carolina have implemented TVAR programs in various forms and all of them are reducing stray cat populations and saving lives. The state data collected by


shelters that had hundreds of animals eligible for adoption by bringing in out-ofstate veterinarians to perform the critical surgeries. By the end of the project, almost 700 dogs and cats were altered from 11 different counties.

One of the most at-risk categories of animals entering shelters are free-roaming or feral cats.

NKSC 2024 shows a significant drop in feline euthanasia once this strategy is implemented, but outdated practices, bias, misinformation, lack of funding and/or access to spay/neuter services have been costing the lives of thousands of cats. PANDEMIC On top of all the challenges listed above, the Coronavirus pandemic has affected our workforce even more, both in the general changes in the workforce and in the disease itself. One large shelter in the Upstate has gone months with a third of their positions unfilled. Several shelters across the state have had periods where 50-75% of their workforce is out with COVID-19. STILL SAVING LIVES Despite all these challenges, by working together our open-admission shelters and their partners are still saving more lives than ever before! In 2021 our statewide euthanasia rate for dogs stayed at just 8% for the second year in a row, and for felines it fell for the 6th straight year to 14%. We’re not there yet but even with all these challenges making it harder we are on track to make South Carolina a No Kill State by 2024. Abigail Appleton, PMP, CAWA, is the Chief Project Officer for No Kill South Carolina. Becca Boronat, CAWA is the No Kill South Carolina 2024 Project Manager. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS


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HAPPENINGS :: Candid Camera






Jonathan Montoya was all smiles at Pup Bowl V on Valentine’s Day weekend, where every adoption was a touchdown!


Go-Go boots were out on full display at the Applause for Paws Gala in October. The “Frisky-a-go-go” theme was a huge hit.

HGTV and discovery+ star Ty Pennington was spotted in Charleston filming the mega-hit home renovation competition series Rock the Block. Tune in to see how Charleston Animal Society’s 4-legged friends were involved.

Pounce Cat Cafe celebrated 5 years and 1,800 adoptions on December 17th. Charleston Animal Society provides the cats that are now living all across the country because Pounce is located in the heart of the tourist district in Charleston. SPRING 2022 | CAROLINA TAILS




Deputy Adopts Cruelty Victim By DAN KROSSE


t was just a few days before Thanksgiving when Charleston County Sheriff’s Deputy Caroline Sewell was called to a burglary in Hollywood. Responding deputies had found a dog tied to a tree with no food or water – and sadly – a second dog who had died, was tied to a tree right next to him. As an Animal Control Officer (ACO) Deputy Sewell was called to investigate. “It was horrible because I mean, every dog deserves love, but especially a dog that literally gives you their entire heart and trusts you so much,” Deputy Sewell said. “It’s amazing to me that he has so much trust in people after what all he went through.” SMOAK IS SAVED Deputy Sewell is talking about Smoak. He survived, but barely. The boxer mix was malnourished, dehydrated, suffering from parasites and heartworm – yet somehow still had the will to live. “I immediately took him to Charleston Animal Society. I had to carry him in because he was too weak to walk,” Sewell said. The lifesaving care Smoak received included IV fluids, medicine and heartworm treatment. Smoak’s former owners now face felony cruelty charges for the treatment of Smoak and for the death of his sister. A HAPPY LIFE AHEAD Three months after his rescue, a stranger approaches Deputy Sewell and Smoak at a North Charleston dog park and it quickly becomes clear, Smoak has never met a stranger. He immediately rushes up with his tail wagging and tongue out, and then sits at attention for the love and petting that he just knows is coming. “He does that with everyone,” Deputy Sewell explains. “If there is a circle of people, he will go to each one and sit and wait for attention and petting.” 32


As Smoak bounds around the dog park, the pain of his early days seems like it never happened. That’s a tribute to Deputy Sewell who never gave up on him. 24 hours after she dropped him off at Charleston Animal Society, she returned to foster him. And that turned into adoption once his medical conditions were cleared. Her focus became giving Smoak the life he always deserved, “For the longest time, Smoak didn’t know what a toy was. He didn’t understand that he could play with the Kong I gave him and chew on it and everything. It took him a while to get acclimated to normal dog things.” Deputy Sewell’s other dog, Ash, a tall, lanky Pointer-Retriever mix, also helped give Smoak a sense of family. Deputy Sewell says she would encourage others to step in and help find homes for cruelty case victims. Seeing a dog’s desire to recover is inspiring. “Every day, he got a little better, a little better,” she said. “I remember early on when he was so lethargic and weak, all he could do was lay on my chest and sleep. But he would wake up and stare into my eyes with so much love.” THE TV REMOTES If all this sounds a little too good to be true – Smoak does have one little quirk worth mentioning. It involves TV remotes. Actually, destroying TV remotes. “Every day I come home from work and those two little faces are waiting for me up in the window and I can’t wait to hug my boys,” Deputy Sewell says. “But I get inside and there’s fragments of plastic TV remote all over the floor and I’m like ‘Oh my God, Smoak ate my remote.’” Somehow, Ash was cleared of any vandalism charges, “he’s an angel.” Smoak has now chewed up two TV remotes, but Deputy Sewell laughs it off saying, “You know what? If that’s the worst thing he does then we’re doing pretty well.”






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