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A new animal rescue group is forming in Lancaster in the hopes of lessening the number of animals that pass through the doors of Lancaster County Animal Control.
Lancaster resident Diana Knight said she’s been fostering animals for a few years and finally decided that Lancaster needed some help in terms its homeless animal population as well as the number of animals that are put to sleep at the shelter each year.
“Of the 5,000 animals that go through the animal shelter yearly, 95 percent of them are put to sleep,” she said. “And that’s a really heartbreaking number, considering this is such a small area.”
Regulations in place at Lancaster County Animal Control say animals cannot be pulled out of the shelter for free, even for fostering purposes, unless they are pulled out by an organization with a 501(c)(3) non-profit status. So Knight decided to form just such a non-profit organization, to be named the Lancaster SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
“This is in no way affiliated with the Lancaster Humane Society or any other rescue group in the area,” she said. “We are a completely separate entity from any of the others. And we are separate from the national SPCA group.”
Knight says the goal of the new organization to foster and find homes for the homeless animals and to provide low cost adoptions, which will hopefully cost less than $100.
“We are working with local veterinarians, namely Faulkner Animal Hospital, and they are completely on board with this,” she said. “We are researching grant money available to hold neuter and spay clinics to promote responsible pet ownership and if the dogs we pull are old enough to be spayed or neutered, we want to be able to get that done and still maintain low cost adoptions of the animals.
“We are also hoping, as a group, to work with the animal shelter in different ways like walking the dogs so they aren’t always cooped up in the pens, and giving them baths; basically just trying to enhance the quality of life while they’re at the shelter,”she said.
“Right now we know a little bit about the Lancaster SPCA and what they’re trying to do,” said Joel Hinson at Lancaster County Animal Control. “And we’ll be glad to find out more about them. Any group that will be coming to pull animals out of the shelter will help the animals greatly, that’s for sure.”
Knight said the group is still in the process of naming board members and is in need of donations of things like food, toys and blankets in preparation for the rescues that will be taking place. Because they are waiting on finalization of the non-profit status, she isn’t able to issue any tax receipts for donations at the moment, but hopes that people will donate anyway.
“One thing about this is that all the money raised or donated, or grant money received, will stay in Lancaster,” she said. “Every aspect of what we are doing stays within the county, although we will consider rescues within a 60-mile radius of the city. If for some reason we have animals that we can’t find a home for locally, we do have a rescue in Maine that we work with. But we have a plan, and our plan is to keep all of this as local as possible. This is where the need is, and it is a great need. Someone has to help these animals here in Lancaster County.”
For more information on Lancaster SPCA, contact Knight at (803) 287-7636 or email LancSPCA@comporium.net. The mailing address is Lancaster SPCA, P.O. Box 3042, Lancaster, SC 29720.