Shelters in Crisis


Puppies in a kennel

Currently, South Carolina is under a state of emergency for shelters. Almost every shelter is completely full of dog and puppies, cats and kittens, with nowhere to go. The situation is a bad, or worse, than I’ve ever seen it in the 15 years I’ve been involved with MAMAS.


During the height of the pandemic, to our surprise, dogs were in short supply, for maybe the first time ever. It seemed everyone decided it was a good time to adopt – likely due to being without the option to travel or participate in other activities. Additionally, people were working from home, and simply had more time to devote to transitioning a dog into a new home. Adoptions were easy, shelters were very manageable. Unfortunately, as good as that time was, it led to our current nightmare. The door to adoptions has been slammed, resulting in an almost complete halt in dogs leaving our shelters, as new ones pour in.

Duke, 1 week after his intake

To make matters worse, animals adopted during that year are now being returned. In an effort to do their best to be “no kill” facilities, and “save them all”, shelters are forced to keep dogs and cats in overcrowded conditions. All kennels are full, and every available space is lined with pop up crates, where these animals live 24/7.


Most shelters are very short staffed, resulting in less than ideal sanitation conditions. Many shelters have fully closed intake or are limiting intake to emergencies only. This means there are dogs left in homes where they are unwanted, or uncared for, left to roam the countryside looking for food and shelter, abandoned, and of course, indiscriminate breeding, which perpetuates the problem.


Here at MAMAS, so far, we remain an open admission shelter for Bamberg County, meaning we accept any dog brought to us (excluding extreme aggression). And we are doing our very best to help other shelters outside our county when we can. We are a larger (in space) facility, with spacious, open kennels, where the dogs get plenty of room to move and lots of attention, so we can often help our neighboring shelters by alleviating some of their burden. However, we, like everyone, feel the squeeze.


Our northern rescues have drastically decreased the number of dogs they take from us, likely because they are being bombarded by shelters across the South, and because they too, are experiencing a slow down in adoptions. Every shelter, across the country, but especially here in the South is under pressure.


For this reason, more than ever, we are reaching out to you with our plea to choose to adopt, rather than buy, if you are looking for a dog to join your family. Fostering can help alleviate the pressure we feel here at the shelter and allow us to help just one more. Volunteering to come in and help clean or walk a dog, to give him or her a few minutes of joy would be a blessing. And of course, donations to help us.


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