The Chester County animal shelter recently received $1,400 in a grant to update its kennels – but rescue groups say that’s not enough money.
The shelter is over capacity.
Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse said the shelter, which is run by the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, has room for about 75 animals, but they’re housing more than 100.
(We’re) trying to get out to the public that these animals do need to be adopted. (We’re) working with rescue groups, trying to get these animals out and finding them homes.
Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse
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The Southern Animal Welfare League rescued about 210 dogs from the shelter in 2016, transporting them to no-kill shelters in New Hampshire and Vermont. If animals aren’t rescued or adopted from the shelter they eventually have to be put down.
The Southern Animal Welfare League is calling for a completely new facility. Jackie Kyles, president of the rescue group, said the current conditions are unacceptable.
“It’s just not adequate for any type of life,” Kyles said.
Inside the shelter, the kennels don’t have fences, so cats and dogs are kept in small cages. Animals in outdoor kennels have more space, but are subjected to the heat of a South Carolina summer.
“That’s why most rescue groups are pushing for the new facility, but again, as this facility goes, we'll take what we can get,” Sprouse said.
With limited resources, Sprouse said animal control officers do their best to keep the shelter from getting too crowded.
“(We’re) trying to get out to the public that these animals do need to be adopted. (We’re) working with rescue groups, trying to get these animals out and finding them homes,” Sprouse said.
Sprouse said the shelter’s main goal is the protection and care of the animals, and the current shelter needs many updates.
The shelter’s roof was recently updated and the $1,400 grant will pay for fences in the kennels. But lighting, drainage and keeping the animals cool are still issues, Kyles said.
“They’ve continued to put Band-Aids on a wound that needed to be fixed a long time ago,” Chester County Supervisor Shane Stuart said.
Kyles said the Southern Animal Welfare League is working with Chester County to push for a new facility.
“If we didn’t move those animals, they would die there,” Kyles said.
Stuart said the county hopes to have a new facility within the next five years. Meanwhile, Sprouse said the animal shelter will do the best they can.
“The shelter workers work really hard to save these animals,” Kyles said. “They do all they can, but they don’t have a lot to work with.”
Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068