In the three months since it was organized, the Lancaster County Humane Society is becoming a force for change in Lancaster County.
The newly formed group is about more than just finding homes for abandoned animals. It is becoming involved in all aspects of an animal's life, from teaching children to treat animals kindly to helping the county revise its animal control ordinances.
In addition to rescuing adoptable animals from the county shelter and running an inexpensive spay and neuter program for county residents, the Humane Society is getting their Humane Education program off the ground and into Lancaster County schools. The program, created by Indian Land resident Doreen Pottle, teaches students about the importance of responsible pet ownership, humane treatment of animals, and spaying and neutering pets.
"We really want to impress up on this generation that they are the ones who have to do something different, because of the overpopulation of puppies and kittens," said B.J. Mishoe, Humane Society vice president.
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Last December, Humane Society organizers held informational meetings around the county, hoping to spark interest in creating a low or no-kill animal shelter. The meetings were wildly successful, Mishoe said, and the newly formed humane society has already begun raising funds for a transport van and, eventually, a shelter. It now operates from members' homes.
The Humane Society is also part of a citizen's committee formed to revise the county's animal control ordinances. Humane Society board members want the county to consider adding specific language to the ordinance, spelling out how much water and food should be left for an unattended animal.
They also hope to encourage the county to require animal houses to have partial shade.
The committee met March 10 and made suggestions for the revised ordinance. County Administrator Steve Willis said that he expects the revised ordinance to come before the county council for a vote at the March 31 meeting.
Included in that ordinance will be a leash law, which requires dogs and cats to be on leashes, except when on their owner's property. Exemptions are also being included for working and hunting dogs.
"We've hit a nerve," Mishoe said. "It's been a need in this community for a long time and people are really turning out to support it."
To become involved in the Lancaster County Humane Society, call Mishoe at (803) 285-6019.