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BOCC Statement

HS/SPCA Statement to the Board of County Commissioners on 11/14/17

We at the HS/SPCA of Sumter County are deeply concerned about some of the misstatements being made about our no-kill organization by some members of the public at County Commission meetings. Further, as the format of public forum is not amenable to dialogue, these statements have been entered into the public record with no opportunity for us to reply. As with social media, it is impossible to catch and/or correct every misstatement and I will not attempt to do so here.

It seems quite unfair to us that people can speak third-hand hearsay and questionable or unsupported statements with no regard and no consequences and without an opportunity for those unfairly harmed to respond. In an attempt at creating a balanced view, we respectfully request that this statement be entered into the public record of the BOCC.

The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable organization now in its 35th year of serving the people and animals of Sumter County. The objectives of the HS/SPCA are to:

  1. Encourage responsible animal ownership practices through education,

  2. Report incidents of animal cruelty and/or neglect to government agencies chartered to take appropriate action,

  3. Provide care for adoptable animals that are injured, abused, unwanted, or abandoned,

  4. Secure permanent homes for as many adoptable animals as possible,

  5. Provide spay and neuter services for animals to be adopted, as appropriate, to reduce unwanted animal populations.

In order to carry out our mission, the HS/SPCA has a number of programs:

The HS/SPCA is aware of an organized group of local residents expressing reforms they want to see implemented at Sumter County Animal Services. The Board of the HS/SPCA has not been contacted by this group, nor does it have access to their plans. We admire their passion and share their goal of a no-kill Sumter County but cannot endorse some of their methods towards achieving this goal.

The HS/SPCA is composed of a dedicated group of volunteers and paid staff who work hard every day to save and improve the lives of animals in our County. In addition to adoptions and transfers to other no-kill rescue groups, we engage in public education on animal related topics and offer free spay/neuter services and free pet food to low-income residents. In 2016 we directly adopted 577 animals and transferred 1136 to our rescue partners for a total of 1713 animals saved.

This year we have placed over 1500 so far. We operate at capacity or near-capacity every day. Sometimes we operate at over-capacity, such as during peak “kitten season.” Our office is an old modular classroom so maxed out for space that I frequently share a desk with our Shelter Manager or Treasurer while I am at the shelter. Our animals are housed in small outbuildings that are in good condition but offer limited space. We need to expand in order to better serve even more animals.

The County Commissioners frequently urge the concerned public to volunteer with us. We welcome volunteers to assist in a multitude of areas of our lifesaving work, well beyond walking dogs and cleaning litter boxes. Our most critical need at this time is for people with business, banking, building and fundraising experience to help us plan and accomplish building a new, larger shelter on our five-acre site. Community, business and governmental support and involvement are key to achieving and maintaining a no-kill county of which we can be justly proud.

Maintaining good working relationships with animal advocates, rescue groups and SCAS is critical to the HS/SPCA’s mission of saving animals in Sumter County. We will continue to work to save animals with everyone who is willing to do so in a respectful and lawful manner.

Thank you.

Celine Petrie

Chairman of the Board

Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Inc.

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