Lowcountry animal shelter reacts to proposal to lower hold on strays

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Workers and volunteers at the Beaufort County Animal Shelter are speaking out against the state's proposal to decrease the amount of time stray animals can be held before being adopted out.

The new law would reduce the required five-day hold down to just days. We spoke with shelter officials and found out why they say this is not going to work.

The folks at the shelter say their number one goal is making sure that any missing or lost pets are reunited with their families, but with this new proposal, they say that three days just is not a feasible amount of time to get that job done.

"Our job is to, you know, locate the family, figure out why the animal got out; microchip it, spay and neuter it, and help them keep their pet," said Tallulah Trice, Beaufort County Animal Services, Director.

Their job could get a whole lot harder with even less time to find these pets' owners. While they say that reducing this hold period will get animals moved out of the shelter sooner, it will not help get these animals returned home. They say especially on holidays when the shelter can be overwhelmed with animals. Once that hold expires, it can be nearly impossible to get your pet back.

"Three days on a holiday weekend is not enough, and it just undermines the whole goal of getting the animals back to their owners," said shelter volunteer, Jan Hughes.

That's why they've started an online petition to show their stance against this issue. Often, they see many owners who are unaware their pets are missing when they're traveling or on vacation, and don't know to call the shelter first.

"They might post signs, you know, around the neighborhood, but we have the dog, so that time's ticking. So, we definitely need more than three days to find the owner," Trice said.

Those extra days could make all the difference in saving an animal's life.

"You know, could end up euthanized, because if it was three days where, you know, at least with five days, it has 48 hours more chance of being reclaimed," Hughes said.

Now, they're asking for people to continue to support their stance against this proposal. They're also asking for pet owners to make sure that your pets are microchipped. They offer that there at the shelter. They say that's the best way to ensure that your pet is returned home in time, if they ever go lost or missing.

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