SC Shelter Turns Away Rescuers and Their Cameras

Lancaster Co AC in SC kills 80% of its dogs and 90% of its cats.  The numbers alone are horrifying but recently shelter director Joel Hinson put up some roadblocks for rescuers who were previously saving some of the pets from the dumpster – for the protection of the animals, natch.  Specifically he has disallowed shelter pet photos by rescuers (photos are now allowed only by staff) and is turning away any rescuers who don’t have a federal 501(c)3 status:

[R]ecently, he said, it has been difficult to distinguish between legitimate nonprofit rescue groups and “people looking for a cheap animal to sell and make money off of.”

He explained his reasoning for the added requirement to the local paper:

“When you apply for these credentials they have to have a mission statement. They’re saying they’re going to get them sterilized, get them their shots and get them to a good home,” Hinson said. “We think if you take your time to spend the money, and do the paperwork through a lawyer, to get your 501, they’ve taken the time and commitment to make this all happen.”

Whether you agree, disagree or remain undecided about the idea that IRS status is a good indicator of rescuer behavior, I think we can all agree that any shelter director killing more than 80% of the pets in his care should be looking for ways to increase the live release rate, not winnow it down further.  Sure it sucks if there are some rescue groups going into the Lancaster pound “looking for a cheap animal to sell and make money off of.”  But you know what sucks worse?  Killing those animals instead.  Although Mr. Hinson doesn’t see his new rules as negatively impacting the number of pets who get rescued:

“If people really care about the animals, the same people can still pull the animals as long as they are affiliated with a 501(c)3,” he said.

Got that rescuers?  If you really care about the animals, you will come up with $1000, get a lawyer and invest the time needed to acquire federal non-profit status.  If you don’t have the money, or the lawyer or the time – apparently you don’t really care about the animals.  Unlike say, Joel Hinson, I guess.

Animal control has also stopped letting rescue groups take photos of the animals in the shelter because, Hinson said, some groups would post the photos with inaccurate information about when the dog or cat would be euthanized. The photos would create uproar on Facebook and prompt dozens of calls to animal control begging them not to kill the dog or cat, Hinson said.

Yeah, I bet that’s annoying.  Callers begging to save the lives of pets and they might even have the kill date wrong!  Sounds too much like work.  The solution is of course to bar all rescuers from photographing animals at the pound.  Then no one will post any erroneous information on Facebook ever.  And surely the staff at the pound has nothing else to do besides getting good quality photos of the animals and promptly posting them online with accurate info.

And then there’s the concern from rescuers that if they spend $1000 on getting a 501(c)3 status, they won’t be able to afford parvo treatment for the puppies they save from Lancaster pound.  Mr. Hinson has a solution for that too.  You’re probably thinking it’s vaccination upon intake for all animals, right?  Oh but you are so wrong:

The biggest help preventing the spread of diseases, he added, would be a larger shelter that allowed officials to separate puppies from dogs and keep the animals away from people during the quarantine period.

Keep the animals away from those filthy, parvo-carrying people.  Dang, I hate people.  Especially the kind that complain about pet killing with the wrong dates in mind and the ones who have no 501(c)3 for their rescue group.  They don’t really care about the animals.  They just want to come in and touch them with their grubby little hands and take their pictures to post online.  It’s gross.

(Thank you Stella for sending me the link to this story.)

84 thoughts on “SC Shelter Turns Away Rescuers and Their Cameras

  1. Yes, a 501c3 really insures that a rescuer has only the best interests of the animals in mind. I believe Palena Dorsey and many, too many others to list, were 501c3’s. Unfortunately that means very little (in my opinion) these days. Rescue has become a cash cow for for way too many people and organizations. I know this comment will get jumped on by every 501c3 but let’s face it, travesties against animals are posted about every day from rescues that used to be considered “sacrosanct” or “household names.” Of course there are wonderful 501c3’s as there are wonderful independent resues. But these days it’s a crapshoot and the animals always lose.

    Thanks, Yes Biscuit, for always getting to the heart, or the underbelly, of the beast that is animal shelter/rescue, and that is meant with the greatest of praise.

    1. I can understand that some rescues do a bad (or even horrible) job, but how do they become “cash cows?”
      And how do good rescue groups make money? It costs a lot to house, feed, and vet the animals. I just don’t see how they don’t end up loosing money in the process.

      1. Here in the south, we are faced with a situation where some rescue groups from up north apparently either don’t want the pets available locally or there aren’t enough of the types of local shelter pets who sell quickly. They have arrangements with shelters in the south, where we have tons of pets year round and very few shelter directors who do their jobs, to pull pets. They get these pets sometimes for free, sometimes for a small pull fee and ship them north where they are sold for hundreds of dollars. The market here will not bear such prices for shelter pets so for those rescues, there is potentially profit to be made, provided they are not paying to treat parvo or putting out large sums of cash for other expenses. I have no idea how many northern shelters pull from Lancaster. Anyone who pulls locally in order to place pets locally would not be making a profit in my estimation.

      2. Like I said before.. I just got three dogs out of that shelter. The little Chi I placed with a close friend. The whole family fell in love with this little frighten dog. I am very sorry to report my friend Shelly died suddenly on Saturday . No one knows why yet, but I know there was no money made by anyone, but a life was saved and Shelly loved that little dog.

      3. Re the comment about shelters in the Northeast/North either not having enough pets to satisfy residents’ needs, or not having the right type/breed of pets so pets come from the South up North sometimes every day. Yes, they come up every day. No, we in the Northeast/North have more than enough pets/animals to have adopted but the animals from the South kept being brought up here to rescues/rescuers, some of whom have never been vetted by the sending organization, the rescue organization in the North pays for vetting, spaying, neutering, etc., and the animals come up without having any or all of it done. It happened to me. I was one of those Northern rescuers who paid to get dogs pulled and vetted from Southern shelters, and for what I believed were “reputable” transports to bring them up. Yes, sometimes all went fine. However, in many cases dogs who were to have been spayed came up pregnant, HW- declared dogs were HW+, and the rescuers/rescues from the South simply disappeared from my radar screen when I asked where my money went. Yes, it’s only my experience I’m writing about. But it happens every day.

        Again, I am writing my personal experiences only and have named one nationally-known and “beloved” rescue who turned out to be prime evil. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problem. So no attacks, please. I’ve walked a mile in those shoes and have the scars to prove it.

      4. My comments about rescues were not blanket comments about all rescues. Yes, there are good 501c3’s and there are good private rescues/rescuers. However, Palena Dorsey is the example I gave of prime evil that animal-loving people donated to and sent dogs to because she was known/thought/reputed to be a “wonderful rescue.” She received mega-donations which she used for herself. Every day we read in the media about “good” rescues gone bad. I hope the good rescues continue to outweigh the bad rescues, but my faith in all rescues has been badly shaken in the last year and I have narrowed the field considerably of those I will contribute to. Yes, “good” rescues don’t make money on animals. But many “good” rescues have deep pockets of donators – and many don’t. That’s life, but I don’t want to see one animal suffer at a rescuer/rescuer’s hands, and they will continue to. I never say never – but I do say the statistics of bad rescues coming to light recently has been staggering.

      5. A mini book review here that might be relevant . . . I just finished reading Kim Kavin’s recently published nonfiction book Little Boy Blue, about the world of Southern kill shelters and the South-to-North rescue transport community. I found it intense and memorable — it examines the people and dynamics (including the economic ones) behind the saving of her recently adopted dog, Blue, from the gassing pound in Person County, North Carolina.

        She goes into some depth about the Southern rescue-and-foster community and does express concerns about the unreliability of Southern rescues. She is also brutally honest about the horrors of the shelter from which Blue was pulled, however, and was clearly enraged by the systematic cruelty she encountered. I think readers here would find it very interesting, with its wealth of concrete detail and its powerful evocation of the life-and-death struggle over the dogs’ fates.

        Unfortunately, although she definitely recognizes that the pound director was cruel, and she acknowledges the crucial importance of marketing shelter pets (and even quotes from Redemption), she ultimately concludes that spay/neuter will end shelter killing. And she seems to have no idea that shelter directors all over the country display the same behavior that the Person County pound director did. I was very disappointed.

        It’s still very much worth reading, though. One portion of the book that readers here will find especially gripping is a section where Kavin tries to seek help from HSUS for a problem she has encountered. Given what I know about the organization, my heart actually sped up with fear as I read that section. In deference to people like myself who don’t like spoilers, I won’t recount what happened. Suffice it to say that I wondered whether the HSUS representative she spoke to had ever recommended bringing cupcakes to killers.

    2. One of my local rescue groups here north of the border pulls dogs from the South. I can assure you they do not make a profit on the dogs they adopt out as many they receive arrive unvetted, like mentioned above. Although they are not a registered charity, they’ve said anyone who wants to help out can donate directly to the vet they deal with to assist with their huge bills. Because of BSL, this group also helps get adoptable Pitbulls out of the province to prevent them from being killed. They adhere to the code of ethics for dog and cat rescues that can be found on

      – Perhaps U.S. groups have a similar organization they can register with to help provide some assurance to adopters, potential foster families and pounds that the group they’re dealing with is legitimate and honourable?

      I know of some foster families that had animals dumped on them by an unscrupulous rescue who then said it was the foster person’s responsibility to vet and adopt out the pets, so it does help to sign a foster contract you agree with!

      1. Cee, I’m glad to read your comment about your local rescue and all it does right. I wish there were provisions or a Code that could be legally enforced to insure every animal that was rescued were taken care of properly and with love, kindness and compassion.

        Sent from my iPhone

  2. Okay Shirley – adding this for you. No one wants to kill – do they? That darn irresponsible public desperate to save the animals lives, taking time from their jobs and families to come take photos of the shelter pets. Also god forbid the animals receive some loving by getting nurtured and pet by the pesky public. You brought up a good point about the 501 c3 and whether or not that correlates to rescue worthiness. Fiscally – perhaps. An incentive for donations? Yes. Anything else – debatable. Some states such as GA have their own licensing as well.

    1. You know me too well!

      A rescuer in the article says her group has the state non-profit status but not the federal one. So her group can’t rescue from Lancaster anymore.

  3. Just wanted to comment that it only cost me $400 to get my 501c3. I did it myself without an attorney. Totally agree with everything else

    1. That’s good to know Lisa, thank you. The figure mentioned in the article is $1000 and to be honest, I think that’s the only figure I’ve ever heard from rescuers who got their 501(c)3 so I am glad to hear of your experience.

      1. We were able to get ours for free, through a grant. There was a waiting list, so it took even longer than it does normally, but it was free, and done by attorney.

      2. A group I have been involved with had to pay the IRS $850 for the 501(c)3 (no lawyer was used–the fee went straight to the IRS), and 5 months later the letter of determination still has not come through.There is a state non-profit status in NC but some pounds around here won’t recognize it for pulling purposes.

        I think it’s ridiculous for a pound that kills pets to claim that requiring 501(c)3 status for rescues is “protecting” pets.

  4. OMG.. Question for Stella. When did this start? I just got three dogs out of that shelter on Oct 18, that’s just over two weeks ago. I live in NC, the shelter is in SC. I called a friend that is a 501c3 rescue that is out of KY. We didn’t have any trouble getting these dogs out. What I am having trouble with is the shelter did not give me any paper work for any of these dogs. I’m still trying to get it. Matter of fact I’m going to call again. Shandy Everall, she is office manager at 803-286-8103. Is there any other information about what is going on there? I know that you can’t find out if an animals has been adopted or murdered. I have the link to the volunteers page if anyone wants to see it.

    1. Just to clarify Dot – Stella is the person who sent me a link to the article. IDK if she has any information beyond that. If so, hopefully she will chime in. But the article is dated October 27 and describes the policy as “new”.

      1. Thanks Shirley.. I was just wondering if maybe she was on the inside, as I’m still wanting to work getting dogs out of there.

        I just got spoke to “Joel”. I had spoke Ms. Everall last week about the missing paper work. In talking with him he told me he would take care of getting the three dogs records to me and that Ms Everall wasn’t there. I didn’t ask any questions about her.

    1. That’s what I thought I called the IRS to do a background check on a questionable 501c3. Then I started asking about how to get one and how much it cost and I was told it didn’t cost anything.

  5. Irregardless of prices for non profit status — it is simply a matter of more road blocks so saving animals…i swear they must like to kill… after all killing keeps the animals away from evil people like us… AND i love how the kill shelters always think the problem would be solved by pouring more money into a bigger shelter —wowm, think how many more they can kill! Progressive shelters are more and more making it easier for people to adopt…and even with impeccable screening, you will have some bad rescues and bad adoptions… but don’t kill the animals because of one or two bad incidences…AND yep lets keep those cameras out too! LOL – do I know what that is like…someone might get a photograph of something questionable…

  6. I just find it impossible to get into the mind of such a person. How do so many of them end up “managing” animal control or shelters? This guy makes no sense and it shows in the number of dead animals at his facility.
    I agree that no photos might very well be because there are things going on that he doesn’t want photographed.
    Just so so sad.

    1. Idiots are running shelters and I would love to know the background/work history/education of these people!

    2. He is not the problem. He has to follow state and county rules. Thhey are trying to save as many animals as possible. This is a very small shelyer, and low budget to maintain. They keep each adoptable animal as long as possible. But they have very limited space. Your commets would be better addressed to county counsel to add more space to house animals, and more money to maintain them.

      1. More space for more animals is not going to help if the director isn’t allowing volunteers and rescues access. every animal deserves networking/exposure. Rescues and even adopters need to be made aware of the animals that are available or in medical need.

  7. Hi Shirley – Hope this is a not too inappropriate place to put this – we did offer the information you provided to your local city council meeting…Dollars and Sense from the No Kill Advocacy Center – we entered it into the court as an exhibit – no one complained so its in. (although its not exactly on the issue)

    We lost but will try to figure out how to appeal – I will keep you posted. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do this without you and Nathan. (and all the people who want No Kill shelter reform)

  8. lets see: raise the dog license fee. Complain because some people who can’t /won’t pay turn in dogs and the number goes up, not down. lower the number of dogs a person can have without a special license. Complain because some people who can’t/won’t get that license turn in dogs and the number goes up. Create a hostile environment for any dog breeder. Complain becasue then the dog breeders won’t “help”. Have employees who harass a purebred rescue for not taking in a dog that isn’t their breed. Complain because then the rescue folk are less likely to show up at all. Refuse to innoculate and isolate new dogs so that disease becomes rampant. Complain because people don’t seem to want sick dogs. Complain because people take dogs out of the shelter becasue one doesn’t like their motives. Never mind that these dogs would otherwise die. Complain becaue some people take photos of the dogs — obviously, a PUBLIC shelter should have no visibility to the public on the condition of the animals.
    And folk wonder why LA shelters are in such a mess?

  9. I hope this director rethinks his dogmatic simplistic view for the sake of these poor animals. It takes quite some time for 501c.status to be obtained. (Government processes are not efficient-that’s another whole issue itself). I know many rescue groups that are not 501c that have saved many lives. Not letting volunteers take pictures suggests this shelter is hiding something. Mr hinson sounds like a horrible person and his actions supporte assumption that southern shelters are not trying at all!!! I hope one of his bosses does the right thing and fires him.

    1. I really cannot stand another comment about our shelter director! He is NOT a horrible person but a very caring one. Most of this blog has 1/2 truths in it and wrong statistics too.There were reasons why policy changes were made in who can/cannot pull form that shelter. Reasons which of course were not stated and 99% of you know nothing about. I know and I know those reasons were/are valid. Please, if you do not have the facts don’t knock him for doing the best job he can with what he has to work with.M.R.

      1. I understand from personal experience (as a advocate)how frustrating it is when ALL resources are not used. After talking to Joel, according to him.. the issue is with a ONE individual. Again .. my opinion.. FaceBook is a wonderful tool for getting the maximum exposure for every animal. I hope Joel doesn’t turn away any of the people that are trying to help.

  10. I will speak! Joel Hinson is a good person, and does his job well! Apparently You don’t know him very well, at all!

    1. Joel was very well spoken and helpful when I called. That said.. can you tell me why there’s a 80% kill rate for dogs and 90% for cats. Why is it there’s this topic and his shelter even being discussed?

    2. Can you please explain, then, why so many animals never leave the facility alive? The national average is much higher than this facility. How can he be doing his job?
      9 out of every 10 cats is killed
      8 out of every 10 dogs is killed

      I find your comments about Joel Hinson very confusing.

  11. This was all started by onelocal person that that got angry because she was asked not to post negative comments about owner surrenders. Most of them do not have a choice. I know of some that tried very hardbefore taking pet to shelter, even asking some rescues and were told no. Was also posting really horrible things about the shelter and employees. None of this is true. The employees try very hard to get these animals into homes. They DO NOT enjoy putting any animals down. I know them all personally and they do this job, trying to make things better for the animals. They have to obey state and county laws. But they go beyond their job decription to try to get animals into homes. They are very rescue friendly. But just one person that doesn’t feel the need to follow rules started this whole mess. She said she wanted Joel fired. Please spend your time on saving and not on this junk. Just a personal vendetta. And please take time to find the truth before saying bad things, just because someone else is. Steve Willis, county adm. is person to contact for info, not the sheriff office.

      1. the shelter building is very small and can’t house all the animals that come through. They are held as long as possible. This is county mangment fault. They have refused for years to spend any money to enlarge or update shelter. It only has cage space for 24 dogs. Usually at least 2 of these pens are holding dangerous dogs waiting for a court date. gain, this is a personal vendata by one person. This is rediculas to waste time on. Why don’t you spend your time sharing pics of animals there and help get them homes? The stats are wrong. They have greatly improved since an office manager was hired.

      2. See, there you go with the wrong figures. When in fact 43% are put down, not 80! Is that still too high, you bet, but a heck of a lot better then it was even a year or two ago. Why don’t more get out alive, I will tell you. Because the Humane Society of Lancaster SC has been begging for fosters for several years now and no one NO ONE will step forward and foster. Yet the Humane Society will pay for ALL vetting, even medical intervention in extreme cases and pay for their food. All we ask is a safe, warm, dry bed, some love and attention. What we get are those who tsk tsk at the plight of the pets, want to rant and rave about conditions there when the solution is in their hands yet they do nothing!

      3. You say “no one NO ONE will step forward and foster” yet your apparent takeaway from that is that everybody else must suck. Have you considered the alternative? Also, the kill rate is not 43% so please stop saying that. But even if it was, it would still be unacceptable.

  12. I really have to comment on just one part of this story,
    “Sure it sucks if there are some rescue groups going into the Lancaster pound “looking for a cheap animal to sell and make money off of.” But you know what sucks worse? Killing those animals instead.”
    – I really need to say that handing shelter animals to anyone that walks in the door could be a fate worse then death for those animals. Shelters need to do a better job of screening adopters and/or rescues.

      1. Especially at places like MAS where they get their jollies off by torturing pets THEN killing them. NOT better for any of the animals.

        And death is a tough place to rehab from.

      2. Then you haven’t heard of experimental labs that pay for dogs? Have you ever heard of dog fighting? Believe me, people go to shelters, get dogs then sell them on Craigs List or where ever to people that do horrible things to them – YES, IT DOES HAPPEN.

  13. You may want to check your kill rate numbers again at LAC! Have you done that, or is this hear say? Really!

    1. Do you consider an article published in the Herald to be “hearsay”? Because that’s where those numbers are quoted from (link provided in post).

    2. I was very surprised to get a phone call from the shelter director Joel this afternoon telling me that for the fiscal year June to June.. 2011-2012 the kill rate was 43 %… he also told me 80 dogs left the shelter alive this month. He did say they weren’t doing to good with the cats. He also said no rescues were banned from the shelter.. he just didn’t want rescues/volunteers interfering with the shelter employees duties.
      he also said any one of FB was more than welcome to “Hit” the share button on any animal posted. But negative comments would not be tolerated. Also that the rules were put in place by the town council, not him.

  14. I just know Mr. Hinson and this is All very upsetting to hear the cruel remarks about such a good man, that’s all!

      1. Yes.. there is a FB account for the shelter set up by volunteers. Joel thinks that if you tell the public that animals are at risk of being murdered, it makes the shelter look bad. I tried to tell him that’s not true. He has no control over how many animals are brought in and we all know exactly what happens when the shelter is overflowing.. that’s exactly why letting the public know they are full and need animals to be networked .. the more people being allowed access to networking the better.. the site he uses I have never even heard of. FB reaches world wide..Come on Joel.. Please.. Let the volunteers say the truth. It’s only going to help the animals get out alive. Just my opinion.

    1. That a county/city run shelter.. correct? he told me he doesn’t make the decisions.. town council does. But it would help if the towns people went to the meetings and demanded changes/improvements. Ofcourse it would help if Joel realized just how valuable rescues/volunteers and FB is saving pets..
      Joel said the shelter posted the animals on a site similar to Petfinders/Petharbor, but I had never heard of it. I asked him to compare how many animals were saved/rescued by his site compared to FB. He din’t have any idea. I think that information would help him realize just how powerful FB is in saving animals. I alone have over 2400 FB animal advocate friends. Just saying

      1. I went to the Lancaster County SC website and it looks like the animals are posted on in addition to their website. Are any of the animals on FB? If not, perhaps someone local could set up a page and post the animals!

  15. If you want to know the figures, I will be glad to give them to you; although before I attempted to start a blog, i would definitely check out all the INFORMATION YOU READ IS FACTUAL and not HEARSAY!!! These are numbers from the physical year end at the shelter. 43% of the dogs taken in at the shelter, we reclaimed, adopted or rescued; the cats taken in UNFORTUNATELY still had a 90% euth rate. Let me first start by introducing myself to some of you bloggers. My name is Trish Hinson; I am the wife of the Lancaster County Animal Shelter Director Joel Hinson; I know him BETTER THAN ANY OF YOU EVER WILL. I can say the comments on here attacking him are very bothersome. How many of the bloggers on here actually live in Lancaster County or the State of South Carolina for that matter and have physically stepped one foot inside the Lancaster County Animal Shelter? How many of you have met MY HUSBAND AND STAFF AT THE ANIMAL SHELTER? How many of you have actually volunteered your time at the shelter to see they are a very professional, caring staff; they treat every single person that comes into the shelter with respect, AS WELL AS EVERY ANIMAL. They work hard to try to place, adopt, foster and work with others to find “forever homes” for these animals. How do I know you ask? Well, I’d be glad to answer that question for you. OUR FAMILY has fostered many animals from the shelter. When we do, their first trip is to the vet’s office. WE have found every one of our foster’s a forever home. We have also made OUR HOME A “FOREVER HOME” FOR some of these animals. Joel has worked at the Lancaster County Animal Shelter for 18 years. Out of those 18 years not one morning has he got out of bed, went to work, set around the water cooler and LOOKED FORWARD TO WHAT HIS JOB unfortunately requires him and his staff to do and that is “put down” animals. I can assure you he nor one member of the staff at the shelter “GET THEIR KICKS” OUT OF SEEING THESE ANIMALS DIE. To read some of your blogs, that is exactly what is perceived of the staff at the shelter; I CAN’T WRAP MY MIND AROUND THAT EITHER. The responsibility first and foremost falls on THE IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS OF THE COUNTY, not the employees. They are getting bashed for doing a job they have to do. Let’s face it, the shelter has limited space; 24 runs. You can not MAKE PEOPLE ADOPT ANIMALS OR FOSTER ANIMALS. You just can’t!!! I know for a fact animals are kept well past their “d-day” date. This blog and many other social network sites are really trying their BEST to tell untruths and bash the shelter and the staff, especially MY HUSBAND. I take VERY HIGH OFFENSE to the negative comments. I visit the shelter EVERY CHANCE I GET. I see, hear, and SMELL everything that goes on there. I can assure you NOT ONE ANIMAL HAS EVER BEEN ABUSED, NEGLECTED, BEEN WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER while they were at the shelter. BOTTOM LINE IS, UNTIL YOU DO YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL HOMEWORK, GET TRUE NUMBERS AND STATS FROM THE SHELTER staff, VOLUNTEER AT THE SHELTER, MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE AT THE SHELTER, YOU ARE BETTER OFF NOT to blog. JUST SAYN’

    1. “How many of the bloggers on here actually live in Lancaster County or the State of South Carolina for that matter and have physically stepped one foot inside the Lancaster County Animal Shelter?”


      “How many of you have met MY HUSBAND AND STAFF AT THE ANIMAL SHELTER?”

      Again, irrelevant.

      “OUR FAMILY has fostered many animals from the shelter. When we do, their first trip is to the vet’s office. WE have found every one of our foster’s a forever home. ”

      Apparently, that makes up the majority of animals who get out of the shelter alive. Congrats. Your personal picks survive the shelter experience. Sucks to be the other animals there, though, doesn’t it?

      ” They work hard to try to place, adopt, foster and work with others to find “forever homes” for these animals. ”

      The statistics show otherwise. Your kill rate is MUCH higher than the national average. Almost every animal that comes through your doors leaves in a garbage bag.

      ” The responsibility first and foremost falls on THE IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS OF THE COUNTY, not the employees.”

      Blaming the public was in vogue 20 years ago. It’s time to move on because that sheltering model doesn’t work. As you see at your own shelter. Man up and take responsibility for what’s happening there. The “irresponsible public” isn’t killing pets, the shelter staff is. Period.

      “Let’s face it, the shelter has limited space; 24 runs.”

      My local shelter is small and old and has been run by the same people for the last 20 years on a tiny budget. Most of the staff have second jobs just to make ends meet. Yet more than 90% of dogs leave my shelter alive. Why? Because getting animals out alive is the priority there. That means marketing and heavy interaction with rescue groups and the public. My local shelter is held in high esteem by the public because THEY DON’T FUNCTION AS A SLAUGHTERHOUSE FOR PETS. They actually, you know, shelter them.

      ” You can not MAKE PEOPLE ADOPT ANIMALS OR FOSTER ANIMALS. You just can’t!!!”

      Wow. With that attitude, it’s no wonder you are struggling with this. The people are out there. They WANT your pets. It’s your job to reach them.

      ” I can assure you NOT ONE ANIMAL HAS EVER BEEN ABUSED, NEGLECTED, BEEN WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER while they were at the shelter. ”

      As far as I know, that was never in contention. It’s the ridiculously high kill rate and rescue-unfriendly attitude that is the concern.


      I think you’ll be hard pressed to get people to volunteer at a place that kills nearly everything that comes in the door. People who love and value pets tend to avoid places like that.

      Tell me, have you or your husband read the book “Redemption” ? It seems to me that you’re both stuck in the old mentality and could use a fresh perspective on sheltering. Seriously –

      1. You can start helping move these animals by finding the FB page at Lac Lancaster SC or by going to or by visiting the Lancaster County Animal Shelter from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday ; Saturdays from 8am-12. Please share the pictures and info with all of your friends rescue groups foster families in hopes of placing these animals in a loving home. If you have any questions about any of the animals you can contact the shelter during g business hours at 803-286-8103.

      2. Trish, give me the mailing address of the shelter and I’ll send you a copy of Redemption for free. Because I don’t think you’re a horrible person, I think you’re just stuck in a mindset that’s not serving you (or the animals) well.

    2. Trish, you said it much better then I ever could and I thank you for that. This is a mess all started by one person, yet when I put up an answer on FB and did NOT name anyone just stated the facts, I got an angry post from that persons spouse accusing me of slander and threatening me with being sued! See, people like that like to throw the manure around and stand back and watch it all happen., never getting their Lilly white hands dirty.I am going to go before council and ask for answers as to why they do not expand a shelter which was out dated a dozen years ago.I may not make any headway but THAT is the place to air your concerns not on a blog!

      1. Mary, I don’t know if you failed to read my warning to stop trolling but I will give you the benefit of the doubt here. Any additional comments attempting to take the focus off a poor performing shelter who is killing most of the animals in its care by offering up this “one disgruntled person” argument and you will be banned from commenting. I don’t like to ban people so please follow the rules.

  16. It states on the Lancaster County website that non 501c3 rescues must pay an adoption fee whereas 501c3 rescues do not have to pay a pull fee:{B14AA7B9-137E-49CF-9779-B97245392D4A}&DE={F01F42D1-6C65-49BA-A4BA-1EC60547D670}

    Rescues are welcome at Lancaster County Animal Control. If you are 501-C3 there is no pull fee at this time. We will help your rescue as much as possible. We have a small staff and are unable to transport, hold animals for long periods, or have vetted. If your organization is interested in an animal send your 501 paperwork along with persons allowed to pull and contact information to . Rescues without a 501-C3 will be required to pay the regular adoption fee. You can also reach our local humane society at .

  17. I guess the moderator of this page didn’t want to hear what I (wife of Joel) has to say. I see my post isn’t going to make it on the “blog”.

    1. Hi Trish, I live in Lancaster County, visit shelter often. It sometimes breaks my heart. I see employees working very hard to take care o animals, including bathing ect. to make them more comfortable. I see employees petting and tlking to them. Have not seen this in any other shelter I have visited.. One hateful, meanspirited person is respponsible for this. And knowing her, she is reading this and enjoying every bit of this. I knowshe has pulled 15 dogs in last 3 months to rescue and rehome. And returned them to shelter to be PTS because they chase chickens. There is a better cure for that than death. They were returned as owner surrender. But on fb she bashes owner surrenders. So anain, narrow minded people are bashing the wrong people. Something to think about-anyone with the money can get a 501c3 rescue number, and willing to lie on paper work. This doesn’t make them animal friendly. They are not regulated or checked on to be sure they are ligit. Some are little more than puppy mills. Not veted, not kept clean, not enough food, no personal attention, parvo and worms ignored. Basically an animal nightmare. Until laws are changed, this will contunie to happen. STOP carrying on this persons vendita and help fix the problem.

      1. Trolling is not allowed here. This is a one time warning to all commenters who are painting the needless killing of pets at the Lancaster pound as the fault of “one hateful person w/a vendetta” or the “irresponsible public” or whatever. That is not the subject of this post. Stop posting false information here regarding the kill stats. I have FOIA’d this pound’s stats and have a copy which I will upload within the next day.

        Again – one time warning. Please take heed.

  18. Funny how when people who are against the blog state their opinions they get shut down. You’re stating your opinion YesBiscuit, so why not let others state theirs? Oh wait, the truth hurts doesn’t it?

  19. If you don’t let people who support the pound and its employees state their opinions, then another blog can be made.

      1. Well, that should be enlightening! Maybe they’ll tell us how many they take in and how many they kill every day. I say to them: BRING IT ON.

      2. I got a chance to upload the stats from the Lancaster Co pound:

        The document was sent to me In August 2012 via FOIA request with the following note: “This will be for this past fiscal year, which runs from July 1st to June 30th.”

        I didn’t realize I had it in my files until yesterday. The kill rate for the most recent FY is 69%. Dogs 49%, cats, 88%.

        Let’s end all this nonsense about 43% and one person’s vendetta. The pound is needlessly killing pets in the face of lifesaving alternatives and, according to the article in the local paper, now making it more difficult to get pets out alive.

      3. So we’re only killing *half* of the dogs that come in to the shelter? Um…yay?
        We won’t even mention a cat’s chance of leaving alive (*cough*snowball/hell*cough*).

        So. Tell me again how very hard your people are working to get animals out alive? Maybe it’s time to stop working harder and start working smarter.

        When was your last big cat adoption promotion? Do you have a barn cat/working cat program? Do you support TNR in your area? Are your people helping with pet retention (food donations, training/behavioral advice, pet food pantry support)?

        There’s so much that you can be doing to bring those numbers down if only you’d engage the community and make it happen. The shelter is not an island unto itself. You MUST engage your community if you want to make real and lasting change.

      1. Mikken…can I ask where you are from?? This is not a question with any “hidden agenda” I assure you. You suggest a lot of great things but I’m not sure you are aware of the budget this shelter works from. Please go to the county website I posted to see what their yearly budget is. Successful programs require funding. Ive only bee. Witness to two events hosted by outside groups to raise money to help expand the shelter; an auction and an “adoption event” held at the shelter. I know a new “cute” sign was also put at the entrance to the shelter; not sure which group donated that. You also say the blame doesn’t fall on irresponsible pet owners?? I don’t quite understand that. They are the ones who do not spay/neuter their pet let them run off restraint or eve worse escape from the home and are never reclaimed. I just don’t see how the blame doesn’t first start with them; if they would have secure outdoor housing have their pet spay/neutered or place them in heat pens when they are inseason we would not have the unwanted puppies/kittens surrendered to the shelter. So how does the point of irresponsibility not fall ones who really don’t care about these animals? If so they would keep them vet them and find them homes and those litters of puppies/kittens would never see the inside of a shelter. One other thing I would like to say too…the animals we have fostered or made our forever pets were not hand picked. I could tell you about each one if you’d like to hear Cabot them a d the vet treatments a few of them required.

      2. I know it’s not easy, and it’s not, but it is possible. I live in Michigan and there is a no-kill shelter (UPAWS) in the upper peninsula, an area of MIchigan with a very high unemployment rate and poverty.
        It’s frustrating to have so many who need homes, but alienating those very people who can help isn’t going to help at all. Please read Redemption with an open mind. It can be done.But it will take the community to help.
        One of the things I’ve learned (as a volunteer, foster, rescuer, etc in my own community) that really turns off people from supporting a shelter is not only blaming them for turning in animals, but also when the shelter and the people working there have created a place so reeking of death and horrible-ness that people don’t even want to be there. Our local animal control was such a place before the current director took over. It was all gloom and doom and you just knew that most of the animals there would be killed, so it was hard to even walk in the front door and see them.
        The biggest single factor in determining whether animals are killed or not is the decision by a director that the killing will stop. There is help available, but that decision has to be made first.
        You sound like a woman who really does care about the animals. At least give a different way of sheltering a chance.

      3. “Mikken…can I ask where you are from??”

        Ohio. My shelter is fairly rural. They are supported solely by dog licensing fees and a very minimal budget. Which is why many of the staff have second jobs.

        “Successful programs require funding.”

        And where there is a will, there is a way. You NEED community support. You simply cannot do it alone as “the shelter”. We have a low cost s/n program in our area supported by businesses and residents. The good they do is immeasurable, but it absolutely would not be possible without the good will of the surrounding community. To get that, you need to ENGAGE the community – tell them what you’re trying to do, tell them why you’re trying to do it. Tell them how it will benefit them. ASK FOR THEIR HELP. And be sure to show them the good they’re doing when the programs help and thank them again and again for their participation.

        Working Cats programs are a huge help to both warehouses and garages – and they give ferals a “job” that doesn’t require them to be socialized at all.

        Pet food banks – many food banks also collect for pets. If you don’t have one in your area (I looked and found this ––have-done.html and this –, but I don’t know how well they’re going to serve your area), by all means, START ONE. Contact pet stores and ask what they do with their broken bags and dented cans. Contact pet food manufacturers and see if they have donation programs in exchange for displaying their promotional materials. Reach out to the public for help. Do whatever you can so when someone comes to the shelter to surrender an animal because they cannot afford to feed him any longer, you can send him home with food AND his beloved pet. One less animal in the system, right?

        ” Ive only been witness to two events hosted by outside groups to raise money to help expand the shelter; an auction and an “adoption event” held at the shelter.”

        Have you thought about offering “specials”? Two kittens for the price of one (because kittens do better with a buddy!)? “Black Pearl Treasures” or “Black Friday” deals where black and mostly black animals are available for a limited time at a very reduced rate? Take some photos of glossy black dogs and cats wearing white plastic pearls or sparkly collars and PROMOTE THEM. “Look at our gorgeous black diamonds! People may overlook them, but we know that these animals are super gems that will light up your life! Come on down and see our beautiful black pearls and leave with a new companion for only a $15 adoption fee!” It can be as simple as a “name your own price” cat sale – people come in and pay what they can for a cat. Some will pay nothing, some will pay more than your usual fee, but the cats leave the building alive and that’s the goal.

        So many options are out there and will cost you nothing to better market your animals to get them into more homes. And while you do that, you end up interacting more with the community – facebook, offsite adoption events, more volunteers, people HELPING you help the community’s pets.

        ” You also say the blame doesn’t fall on irresponsible pet owners?? I don’t quite understand that.”

        Blaming the public has been the meme for decades now and it’s not getting us anywhere. There will always be irresponsible people who don’t take proper care of their pets (or their kids, or their property, etc.). You can’t fix them (heh – “fix” them. Some human s/n would go a long way in some places…but I digress). The fact is that it simply DOES NOT MATTER how an animal ends up at the shelter. The cat who was loved and cuddled and saw the vet twice a year and is there because a house fire killed his family is going to end up just as dead in your landfill as that pregnant cat that some jackass picked up on Craigslist when he was high and thought it would “really cool” to have a cat.

        Once an animal enters your shelter, that animal’s life is your responsibility. And the public – the community? They are the ANSWER to your need to get that animal into a home. Blaming the public for being irresponsible drives people away. Engaging them and asking for their help, making them feel like they are good people doing good things is how you get feet in the door! Make the shelter a good place for both pets and people and you’ll see a massive change in how it functions.

        A good shelter helps to educate people about the importance of s/n. They help people get access to low cost/free s/n, food assistance programs, advice on pet care and how to deal with “issues” that may crop up for the inexperienced/ignorant owner (“Oh, you mean my dog should be exercised EVERY DAY to help keep him from eating the wall? Huh. Who knew?”). Training tip of the week on your website to help people learn how to walk a dog on a loose leash. How to teach “stay”, etc. Pet retention keeps animals out of the system. Actively marketing/advertising the pets you have at the shelter increases return-to-owner rates (this is something that I’m working on with my shelter right now – they could improve in this area for cats because many people don’t even know that they have cats there!) and adoption rates, and it’s FREE online. Get decent photos taken, get them posted and then LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. Advertise on Craigslist that you have animals on your website and if they’ve lost their pet, they should check there along with calling/visiting the shelter. Have volunteers look at Craigslist and see if they can match up missing pets with owners (some people don’t think to call the shelter for whatever reason or animals wander out of the area where people are looking). Talk to local government about s/n and TNR programs and keep talking until they’re sick of you and give you what you want just to make you go away.

        In short, USE the community to get your pets out alive. Do what you have to, but do not rely upon people coming to you – you MUST reach out, you must ENGAGE, and you must tell people that you’re working very hard to change and you need their help. Get your staff involved, too! Have them brainstorm on ways to get animals out of the shelter alive – once they’re invested in the goal, you’ll see happier, healthier people, too.

  20. Im digging you, Yesbiscuit! :) Can we compare numbers? The numbers Joel gave me and those you have?

    1. See it above! TY and keep it going!!! You are scratching the surface and ruffling feathers of the good ole boy, animals come last, shelter of the South. Change will come, and we need your help. Whoever offered that copy of Redemption, kudos. Sadly, I think there may be more to this story than a director in need of education or re-direction. When the time is right, maybe that information will come to surface as well.

  21. I haven’t read all the comments here because it started to go too off-topic for me to read all of them, so I’m probably just repeating a lot of the same stuff said on here, BUT here’s what I don’t get. Why is it okay for an adopter to come in, off the streets, yet every rescue needs to have a 501 ( c ) (3) status? How is that any different? Or do they not allow that either? Why do these shelter directors keep pulling all of these rules and regulations out of nowhere thinking it’s going to help animals, but it always ends up harming them? Are they that naïve, or are they being purposefully manipulative? The whole thing is so stupid.

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