Animal shelter holds dedication, open house

Abby Cavenaugh

May 20, 2014

The Anson County Animal Shelter, which has been open since April 28, held a dedication and open house on Saturday that drew in people from around Anson and surrounding counties.

“The stray animal issue is extensive and has been under-addressed for far too long,” said Anson County Commission Chair Anna Baucom. “I am pleased that the county has stepped forward to do its part in addressing the issue. I am delighted that the towns and citizens throughout Anson County have shown such strong support for our efforts.”

Baucom added that the county commissioners will do their part to ensure that the shelter will be viable for many years to come.

Commissioner Dr. Jim Sims also spoke at the dedication ceremony, saying that he felt this endeavor could best be summarized in three words — kindness, safety and progress. He said kindness was accurate because before the shelter opened, Anson County had a 95-percent euthanization rate, which he called “unacceptable.” Safety, because Anson County needs to make its stray population safer, and progress, because the animal shelter is another positive sign of Anson County moving forward.

County Manager Lawrence Gatewood also pointed to the progress the opening of the animal shelter illustrates. “In Anson County,” he said, “we’re having a very good year.” In January, the Gulledge Fire Department opened its new facility, followed by the state-of-the-art county emergency services center in February. In March, Gatewood said, the new Board of Elections offices opened on Morven Road in Wadesboro, and now, the animal shelter in Polkton.

“This is the very first active animal shelter in Anson County,” Gatewood said. “Even in the early days, we would not allow animals we saw to go to the pound because we knew their fate.”

Now, that will change, with socialized animals being adopted out to forever homes. The socialization of the animals, and as a result, the success of the animal shelter, will rely on the support of volunteers, said Rufus Getzen, president of the Friends of the Animal Shelter.

The Friends group is a nonprofit entity formed to manage fundraising and donations for the shelter. “We need volunteers to help socialize the animals,” Getzen said.

Interim Health Department director Wayne Raynor said he was proud to have served Anson County during the period of time that the shelter was being planned and implemented. “It’s a facility whose time has come, and will serve us for years to come,” he added.

During Saturday’s open house, a total of 90 people visited the animal shelter, many of them bringing monetary donations and supplies. Girl Scout Troop 3525 of Ansonville also made a monetary donation and donated needed supplies like paper towels and dishwashing liquid.

For more information, or to make donations, visit the Anson County Animal Shelter at 7257 U.S. 74 West, Polkton, or call 704-994-APET.