Horry County animal shelters critically overcrowded, some turning away intakes


HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Local animal shelters are coping with a summer surge of intakes and a slump in adoptions.

This week, the Horry County Animal Care Center stopped taking in animals unless they are injured or considered a danger to the public.

“We have had a number of recent calls where we’ve had to take in large quantities of unusual animals,” said Mikyala Moskov, a spokesperson with the Horry County Police Department.

The Horry County Animal Care Center is also where animals who are seized in criminal investigations go.
Moskov says right now, there are 134 animals in its care. A majority are tied to court cases — some of which date back to a 2019 dog fighting bust.

The overcrowding is also being felt across local shelters. The Grand Strand Humane Society is caring for more than 100 cats over its capacity and about 40 dogs more than it’s built for.

When shelters are overcrowded, local rescues like All 4 Paws typically step in to help, but even All 4 Paws had to briefly halt intakes this week.

“These past few weeks we’ve gotten calls from Horry County, Georgetown County, Berkeley County, Colleton County, Calhoun County; any county in South Carolina, Orangeburg County, has called needing help with animal placement,” Allison Gillespie, with All 4 Paws, said.

Darren Watson oversees Whiskers Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, a 38-acre rescue in Loris.

Watson said that this week a family reached out to her to say they planned to leave two dogs and a cat on the side of the road because they couldn’t find a shelter to take them.

“They had gone to several shelters and been turned down by everyone,” Watson said. “They’d come to see their mother and realized their mother was in worse shape than they realized, she had to go to a nursing home and the dogs had nowhere to go.”

Watson took the dogs in, but said her rescue stays at capacity.

“Everybody is full,” she said. “Last year, everybody was empty because everyone was adopting because people were home for COVID, but this year they are getting returned because people are going back to work.”

Watson said fewer pets were spayed or neutered last year while clinics were closed because of the pandemic.

She hopes a local veterinarian sees the need and steps up to perform some of the surgeries for area rescues.

Each organization said it is in desperate need for foster families for animals. Learn more about foster programs at the links below.

Whisker’s Animal Rescue & Sanctuary

All 4 Paws

Horry County Animal Care Center

Grand Strand Humane Society

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