Mount Pleasant Magazine Sept/Oct 2021

83 www.MountPl easantPodcas t . com | www. ReadMPM. com | www. I LoveMountPl easant . com T he town of Mount Pleasant and the Charleston Animal Society have a long-standing relationship of saving animals together. This teamwork is continuing to flourish as the Society introduces a new initiative to the state. At its 147th annual meeting, Charleston Animal Society announced that the Palmetto State can become a No Kill State by 2024. The initiative is funded through a grant from Petco Love, formerly Petco Foundation. The Society’s statewide initiative, “No Kill South Carolina,” now has a timeline. “No Kill South Carolina 2024” aligns with Charleston Animal Society’s 150th anniversary. Charleston Animal Society rescues over 90% of animals in Charleston County. “No Kill” is a term used in animal welfare circles that refers to the goal of saving “all healthy and treatable dogs and cats,” typically about 90%. No Kill communities do not euthanize animals for space and use data-driven and research-based strategies to bring euthanasia rates down and improve the quality of care for animals. AN INITIATIVE THAT’S WORKING Since No Kill South Carolina began six years ago, animal shelters across the state have saved more than 500,000 animal lives with 30,000 fewer animals euthanized—something unheard of in the South, a region historically plagued with high euthanasia rates. “Our efforts with No Kill South Carolina over the past six years have made tremendous gains in the fight to save animals in every corner of the state,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore. “The trending shows that we can make this groundbreaking initiative a reality by 2024, but the last couple of years, like many things, will be the most challenging.” THE DATA No Kill South Carolina began after Charleston Animal Society led Charleston County to become the first No Kill Community in the Southeast. The No Kill South Carolina team found 19% of dogs and 47% of cats were euthanized in shelters across the state. Six years later, through effective collaborations, innovative adoption strategies and other leading practices among shelters around the state, the euthanasia rate of dogs has dropped more than half—to 8%—and the euthanasia rate for cats is down to 18%. “The progress is amazing, but we still have substantial work to do, especially in saving more felines from euthanasia,” said Chief Project Officer Abigail Appleton. THE PETCO LOVE CHALLENGE Petco Love has been funding the efforts of No Kill South Carolina since its beginning. Now, with the goal in sight, the foundation is hosting a challenge with a million-dollar reward. “If the organizations in South Carolina work together and achieve the goal of No Kill South Carolina by 2024, Petco Love will invest $1 million in the lifesaving work of organizations across South Carolina,” said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut. “These funds can be used to sustain No Kill South Carolina.” HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED The No Kill South Carolina 2024 challenge is a great way for everyone to get involved in this statewide effort. “Go to your local shelter and let them know you’d like to help. You can adopt, volunteer or donate and help us all reach this tremendous achievement,” Appleton said. BY DAN KROSSE Charleston Animal Society is leading the way for a No Kill State Prioritizing Our Pets Charleston Animal Society Volunteer Wes Lowther on an emergency transport. Photo prov i ded.