It’s been just over a year since the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office acquired the Brunswick County Animal Shelter from the Health Department, thus becoming the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Animal Protective Services (BCSOAPS). During that year, more than just the name has changed.
Since July 1, 2012, BCSOAPS has taken in 5,911 animals, which is 738 more than the previous year. Of the animals taken in, 2,422 were dogs and 3,191 were cats. BCSOAPS, with the help of volunteers and area rescue organizations, has placed 1,338 dogs and 416 cats. In total, 1,957 animals were placed during the past year which yields a 33% placement rate. This is just shy of the 35% goal the shelter was hoping to achieve. That, in part, is due to the influx of cats that were brought into the shelter during the spring. Last year, 965 out of 5173 animals were placed, yielding a placement rate of 18%.
Sheriff John Ingram on the progress the shelter has made: “I am so pleased and extremely proud of the progress that the shelter has made in just one year. This progress would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of Lt. Tommy Tolley and the fantastic staff at Animal Services, our many volunteers, rescue organizations and the community – including our children – many of whom have requested items for donation to our shelter in lieu of birthday presents. I would just like to encourage the citizens of Brunswick County, when looking for a family pet, to please consider adopting from our shelter or the many rescue groups in the county. I would also like to reiterate that spaying or neutering your pet is the only way to reduce the pet population, thus reducing the intake into our shelter. The fewer animals we take in, the fewer we must place.”
Cheri McLain of R.A.C.E., a community rescue group says the shelter has made a 100% turnaround over the past year. “The shelter is very receptive to suggestions from the area rescue groups. They have made so many wonderful changes including creating a more esthetically pleasing environment, utilizing the inmates to help keep the shelter clean, the staff and volunteers are so friendly. The attitude from the community has been so positive since the Sheriff’s Office acquired the shelter, largely because of the strong presence they have throughout the county. We are very lucky to have Sheriff Ingram. This was his vision. He made this happen. And we are excited to be a part of it.”
Ms. McLain goes on to say she is looking forward to more progress in the upcoming year. She said she would like to see an outdoor play area for cats to try to increase those adoptions. She also said multiple play areas for the dogs would be nice so that volunteers could take multiple dogs out a time. Ms. McLain says the dogs are more relaxed in their kennels when they have been exercised, thus more appealing to prospective adoptive families.
Shelter Director Lt. Tommy Tolley says that there are many goals for the upcoming year. In addition to increasing the placement rate, updating the grounds, completing the 14 acre walking track and some cosmetic updates within the shelter, there are plans for a memorial garden in which families can purchase memorial bricks online for their beloved pets.
Lt. Tommy Tolley, shelter director: “I am so grateful to Sheriff Ingram for all the support he has given us. This was truly his vision and without him, none of the success that we have had would be possible. I am also extremely thankful to all of our volunteers and rescue groups from throughout the county, whom without; progress would not be possible. Among the many kind gestures, Paws Place out of Boiling Spring Lakes donated a large vehicle so that we could transport animals to vet visits, adoption fairs or to the new Spay/Neuter Clinic. Ocean Isle Beach Collision painted it for us and The Sign Shoppe added the decals – all as donations to the shelter. Additionally, a Brunswick County citizen, who wanted no recognition, contributed $10,000 for the billboard on Highway 17 South and our mobile adoption trailer graphics (soon to be revealed). These are just two examples of how this wonderful community supports us. It’s really humbling and overwhelming.”
Tolley continues, reiterating Sheriff Ingram’s point: “Even though we have made great progress, there is still much to do. If we are going to increase our placement rate, we’ve got to decrease the amount of animals coming into our shelter, and part of that is going to have to come from the community. I cannot stress enough the importance of spaying or neutering your pets. It is the only way to control the pet population, thus keeping animals from ending up at the shelter and possibly being euthanized.”
Janie Withers is the president of Paws-Ability and a tireless supporter of the shelter and for the animals in our county. “We can’t fix what is already happening. That’s why it is so important to lay the groundwork for change in the future and we are accomplishing that. One of our goals concerning the shelter is to work to improve those statistics. And while much progress has been made, there is still much to do and it will not happen overnight. One way to improve the shelter statistics, and where we are focusing all of our efforts and funds for this year, is through the new Spay/Neuter Clinic. This is something that the community can truly be proud of. To have this type of clinic in Brunswick County is a true testament of the progressive and supportive community in which we reside. But the citizens have to utilize this resource. If the citizens don’t bring their pets to be spayed or neutered, the problem will continue and will worsen. If animals continue to be brought into the shelter in the volumes in which they have been, the county will have no choice but to continue to euthanize unwanted animals, and that is at the expense of the taxpayers. Controlling the animal population is everyone’s responsibility. I would encourage everyone to get involved somehow. If you don’t want to be directly involved with the animals, consider participating in one of our fundraisers to support the Spay/Neuter Clinic. Information on various upcoming events can be found on our website at www.paws-ability.org “.
Ms. Withers goes on to say that she is very pleased with the progress of BCSOAPS. She says that in the past year she has seen more of a “cooperative effort” between the different organizations and volunteers. They are beginning to trust the system and work together for change.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is located at 429 Green Swamp Rd. in Supply. Adoption hours and hours of operation can be found at http://aps.brunswicksheriff.com/shelter/. Also, anyone interested in volunteering at the shelter can visit http://aps.brunswicksheriff.com/volunteer/ for information and an application.